Thursday, February 4, 2010

FORGOTTEN BOOKS ~ BLUE LINE MURDER!

FORGOTTEN BOOKS ~ BLUE LINE MURDER!

JAMES MOFFATT ~ FEATURING JOHNNY CANUCK


I discovered this gem, and I use the term loosely, hidden on my shelves while looking for something else. At the time I originally picked it up I was heavily collecting mysteries with sports backgrounds, and I think the only reason I hung onto it was it is a perfect example of a novel so bad it takes on a value all its own. Novice writers could use this title as encouragement of the if-this-can-get-published-then-I-can-get-published variety.

Private eye Johnny Canuck’s moniker, and the fact the fact he is investigating murder on a hockey team, would have you believing he’s Canadian, hey, but you’d be mistaken . . . Canuck is about as Canadian as the movie Rose Marie with Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald.

Johnny Canuck’s hot blood is one quarter Sioux Indian, going back to his grandfather, who had fought with Sitting Bull at the Big Horn. Because he liked the white Canadians, he changed his name to John Canuck – the usual name for a Canadian. His son kept the name, and so did Johnny...a tough resourceful private eye who gets results where others have failed. And there are quite a few gorgeous dames who agree.

Blue Line Murder, the second Canuck novel, our P.I. is hired by professional hockey’s Lakeview Otters to investigate the murder of their star defenseman, Tex "Cowboy" Brandt (obviously, the police were not available). Everything from plot to characterization to dialogue gets overwritten while our heroic P.I. uses his Indian senses to solve the case and bed women.

I'd met dames like her before. They were borderline nymphomaniacs. An attraction triggered a deep-seated craving and they had to keep going until they subjugated the man.

Okay. Sure. I’m glad that’s out in the open now.

There were eight of these hack jobs published by Compact in the mid-sixties. Moffatt was clearly pumping these out, along with many other titles in pseudonymous series – including the Hank Janson tales – as he pursued his wordsmith career.

From the late-sixties until 1980 Moffatt wrote for New English Library under his own name and pseudonyms, including J. J. More, Etienne Aubin, Trudi Maxwell, Leslie McManus, James Taylor, Ray Ferrier, Johnny Douglas, Ron Cunningham and Richard Allen. That said, only the novels Moffatt wrote as Richard Allen have had any lasting impact.

Under the Allen pseudonym, Moffat ground out a series of youthspolitation novels starting with Skinhead in 1970 and ending with Mod Rule in 1980. These fictional chronicles detailed in salacious (often racist) terms the British youth cult scene. They sold very well and have since become quite collectable.

THE JOHNNY CANUCK NOVELS:

Blood Is a Personal Thing (1965)
Blue Line Murder (1965)
The Eighth Veil (1965)
Time for Sleeping (1965)
Course of Villainy (1966)
Curtain of Hate (1966)
Terror-Go-Round (1966)
The Twisted Thread (1966)

6 comments:

Cunningham said...

I have fertilized my frontal lobes with many a crap novel such as these...

One look and you know these books are "bad for you."

Love. It.

pattinase (abbott) said...

Fun to have a copy though. I would have recycled it long ago--which is why I have no fun book around now.

Randy Johnson said...

I have one novel by Moffat, the novelization of Queen Kong, which I've been saving for the day when I had absolutely nothing else worth reading. Luckily, that hasn't happened yet.

Evan Lewis said...

So bad it sounds good!

Kent Morgan said...

OK, I admit I've got Blue Line Murder. In fact it's sitting on a bed in my basement waiting to be reshelved today with all my hockey fiction. I just have to decide what's going into boxes or to a hospital charity sale in order to find the room.

Cunningham said...

Who owns the rights to the series?

Could those of you with a copy scan the editorial info page and send it to me via email it would be appreciated. This might be a fun series to reprint for Pulp 2.0 Press.

My email is in my profile.