Saturday, April 12, 2014

Forgotten Treasures of the Pulps: Tony Rome, Private Eye

The paperback original (PBO to collectors) was the immediate successor to the pulp magazine as the home of pulp fiction. Marvin Albert was one of the bright lights of the paperback original market for detective fiction. Albert’s work is revered in France where he is considered a master of the hardboiled form, but he is largely forgotten Stateside since his work lacks the literary polish of Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler and was never as shocking as Mickey Spillaine. Albert never broke new ground, but he did excel at crafting hardboiled private eye stories in the classic tradition from the fifties through the eighties. Much like Max Allan Collins or Michael Avallone, he also supplemented his income adapting screenplays as movie tie-in novels for the paperback original market. Oddly enough, Albert’s specialty was bedroom farces where Hollywood adaptations were concerned. Albert utilized a number of pseudonyms during his career (many of which were reprinted under his real name in later years). He published three mysteries featuring tough private eye, Tony Rome in the early 1960s. The books were published in the byline of Anthony Rome as if to suggest the tales being told were real cases. Tony Rome is remembered today thanks to a pair of campy Frank Sinatra vehicles in the mid-sixties which portray the character as a middle-aged playboy drooling after bikini-clad lovelies half his age. The fact that the private eye operated out of a houseboat drew comparison to the later Travis McGee private eye series. TO CONTINUE READING THIS ARTICLE, PLEASE VISIT THE BLACK GATE.

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