BREAKING NEWS … An Exciting Boston Blackie Discovery!

March 26, 2015 at 8:12 PM (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , , )

How many Boston Blackie stories did Jack Boyle publish?  This has been a point of contention for years.  H.K. Fly’s often-reprinted 1919 collection presented seven Blackie tales, which for nearly a century were the only specimens of Boyle’s writing available in book form.  But when this volume was republished by Gregg Press in 1979, Ed Hoch’s introduction to the new edition pointed out that further Blackie exploits were chronicled in the AMERICAN, RED BOOK and COSMOPOLITAN magazines.  Ultimately, examinations of these periodicals brought to light another fourteen Blackie yarns, increasing the series’ total count to twenty-one.  For years, this was thought to represent Boyle’s complete output on his most celebrated creation — until the advent of the internet.  In the 21st century, research online revealed a “missing” Blackie story, serialized in THE LOS ANGELES TIMES five years after Boyle published his last story in THE COSMOPOLITAN.  This curtain call to the Boston Blackie adventures was eventually reprinted in Coachwhip Publications’ 2012 collection BOSTON BLACKIE & FRIENDS, definitively setting the count of the complete Blackie saga at twenty-two.

Until now.

I’m thrilled to announce the discovery of not one, but TWO hitherto unknown Boston Blackie stories, both from the pen of Jack Boyle.  The pair, written in a period during which Boyle’s literary output had primarily turned away from his rogue hero, has languished for more than ninety years in the pages of a publication not typically associated with the author.  Through a kindness of Providence, their existence was discovered in time to allow for their inclusion in my upcoming collection THE COMPLETE BOSTON BLACKIE.  Of course, preparing the texts for publication will mean a further delay in a project that is already behind schedule, but I’m happy to run beyond my original deadline if it means presenting all twenty-four installments of the Blackie canon in their entirety.

And speaking of the Blackie canon in its entirety, let me go on record to confirm that ALL of Jack Boyle’s published Blackie stories do still exist.  Some speculation to the contrary has arisen on Amazon’s pages reviewing Coachwhip’s BOSTON BLACKIE & FRIENDS.  At least one post on that site postulates that the stories “The Poppy Girl’s Husband” and “Miss Doris, Safecracker” may be lost to the crumbling pages of magazines originally considered a disposable medium of entertainment.  Thankfully, such speculation is incorrect.  I have located copies of both tales, as well as an alternate version of “The Poppy Girl’s Husband,” based on Jack Boyle’s original text but re-imagined by an entirely different author.  There’s always the possibility that another unknown story could surface, but there is no danger that any of the currently known Blackie stories is “lost.”  My goal is to have the complete collection available in both print and digital editions by the end of 2015.  Stay tuned for further details …

JBF  3/26/15

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4 Comments

  1. Mike DeLisa said,

    I found two stories from late 1921 not on your list — I would think they are the ones you mention.

  2. jackboylefan said,

    Sounds like you’ve also located “Through the Little Door” and “The Gray Brothers.” Those are, indeed, the tales I was referring to in my original post. It’s exciting to think there may still be other Blackie stories we’ve yet to uncover.

  3. Mike DeLisa said,

    Yup — those are the stories. There are references to him writing for other magazines such as Good Housekeeping and Harper’s bazaar — not sure if you’ve dug those out yet. Keep diging.

  4. jackboylefan said,

    I’ve seen one item that said Boyle’s work appeared in GOOD HOUSEKEEPING and HARPER’S, but I have found no evidence to support it. Having said that, I have not examined every issue of those magazines between 1920 and 1928, so it’s possible the stories are there. But personally, I doubt it. At one time or another, both of those magazines were overseen by Boyle’s editor from RED BOOK and COSMO, Ray Long, and I suspect that news item quoted them in error, perhaps assuming Long published Boyle in all of his publications of the period. I haven’t given up the search, but after so many years I’m not holding my breath. I’m aware of stories that truly do appear in THE GREEN BOOK and THE POPULAR MAGAZINE that I still need to track down. The most frustrating piece on my list right now is the novella “The Valley of Illusion,” which appeared only in the British edition of the magazine THE SMART SET. I’ve found ads for the story’s appearance, but not a copy of the story itself.

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