About the blogger …

JackBoyleFan is more mundanely known as Curt Ladnier, a long-time enthusiast of mystery & adventure fiction, and a scholar of pop culture.  He has spent over two decades unearthing the texts of all 24 original tales of Boston Blackie, as well as the further works of crime writer Jack Boyle.  He is currently working on a biographical portrait of Boyle to introduce a new hardback collection of his long out-of-print canon, projected for release in 2016 (too late for the 100th  anniversary of the first appearance of Boston Blackie, but who’s counting?).  Stay tuned for further details as a solid publication date nears.

15 Comments

  1. Stefan Petrucha said,

    Nice site – wish I’d had it for research while I was writing the Boston Blackie graphic novels!

    Best –

  2. Roy Marshall said,

    I’d like to talk to the researcher regarding Jack Boyle’s involvement in a mass murder investigation in Iowa in 1915-16. It’s an intriguing chapter of his life that Hoch and others are unaware of.

    • jackboylefan said,

      Thanks for posting, Roy. I’m aware of Boyle’s connection to the aftermath of the murders in Villisca, IA but my knowledge on the subject is far from comprehensive. I’ll drop you a line privately to chat with you about it.

  3. mfass said,

    For the first time, looking for Boston Blackie to read, and to learn about Jack Boyle, and here in 2014 are you still working on your book, I hope? All best wishes.

    • jackboylefan said,

      Your question comes at an excellent time. The book is definitely still in the works, and near completion! It suffered a setback, as my publisher and I had different visions for the book. So I have decided to go it alone, and self publish. The book will be titled THE COMPLETE BOSTON BLACKIE, and I promise it will live up to that name. Other collections of Blackie stories have been released in the last few years, but this is the ONLY one that will contain all of the stories Jack Boyle wrote about this seminal character. Thanks for asking about the book, and stay tuned for more info about its availability. I’m hoping to have it out by the end of the year, but it may push into the beginning of 2015 (depending on editorial constraints).

      • mfass said,

        Thanks for your note. We’ve had our own experience with self publishing over the past year, but in this instance it is a picture book for children. Fiction for adults, from what I observe, can have an awfully different potential and reception. Obviously, far less cost for design and printing in soft cover and hardcover. But are you aware of “Boston Blackie & Friends,” a 530 page book from Coachwhip Publications, which appeared two years ago? It is described this way:

        Contents include:

        The original American Magazine stories: The Price of Principle, The Story about Dad Morgan, Death Cell Visions, and A Thief’s Daughter (1914)

        Boston Blackie (1919), the compiled volume of Cosmopolitan stories

        Additional stories from Cosmopolitan: The Daughter of Mother McGinn, Alias Prince Charming, Black Dan, The Water-Cross, Grandad’s Girl, The Face in the Fog, The Painted Child, and Boomerang Bill (1919-1920)

        The Los Angeles Times serial Daggers of Jade (1925).

        The original Blackie collection of 27 stories can be read free on the Internet via Google.

        Cheers.

        By the way. Chester Morris starred in a touring company of “Detective Story” in about 1950. The production played in Denver, and I think I saw it at that time, but I’m afraid that as a kid I do not retain more than a glimmer of a memory.

        ***

      • jackboylefan said,

        I am, indeed, familiar with Coachwhip’s collection BOSTON BLACKIE & FRIENDS, and recommend it to anyone who can’t wait for my own THE COMPLETE BOSTON BLACKIE to go to press. BB&F collects most of Jack Boyle’s Blackie stories, but it misses “The Poppy Girl’s Husband” and “Miss Doris, Safecracker.” Additionally, it uses the expurgated H.K. Fly texts for the remainder of the 1917-18 stories (rather than the complete RED BOOK texts). And finally, while it contains Boyle’s original version of the COSMOPOLITAN story “A Face in the Fog,” BB&F is missing the radically expanded version of the story which Boyle published a few years later to promote the release of a feature film based on the tale. The expanded “A Face in the Fog” is more than double the length of the original draft. Amazon.com’s listing for BOSTON BLACKIE & FRIENDS includes a very insightful user review which calls it “head and shoulders above” any previous collection of Blackie tales. But the comments also go on to detail not just what the volume gets right, but also what it misses. I’m striving to take my cues from such comments, and to make THE COMPLETE BOSTON BLACKIE as representative as possible of the entire Blackie canon. It would be nearly impossible for anyone to collect into one book EVERYTHING relating to Jack Boyle’s Blackie, but my goal is to give as broad a sampling as possible of all the elements of the Boston Blackie phenomenon of the 1910s and ’20s. So THE COMPLETE BOSTON BLACKIE will include all of Boyle’s stories, selections of the original illustrations, reproductions of newspaper announcements, and ads for the early Boston Blackie movies. Accompanying this will be two lengthy essays – one discussing the history and evolution of Boston Blackie, and the other presenting a biographical sketch of Jack Boyle (who in many ways was even more interesting than the fictional characters he created). I’ve been compiling this book for a long time now, and I hope that the amount of time and effort I’ve spent will be apparent in the final publication.

  4. mfass said,

    Clarification. In my note above, the description of the book via the publisher ends with the reference to “Daggers of Jade.” I then had also discovered the free version of the 1919 collection as offered free by Google.

    • mfass said,

      One more ps. Maybe you knew, but this website offers the original collection as a free audio book:
      https://librivox.org/

    • jackboylefan said,

      You’re correct to note that the 1919 H.K. Fly collection BOSTON BLACKIE is available for free online, and anyone wishing to sample the character would do well to seek it out. It’s a great way to get a taste of Jack Boyle’s prose. But also be aware that the collection is (A.) far from complete, (B.) presents the stories out of sequence, and (C.) features expurgated texts trimmed down from the stories’ original magazine appearances. H.K. Fly’s BOSTON BLACKIE is presented in 27 chapters, but they are not 27 separate stories. In fact, the volume is constructed from all but two of the Blackie stories that Boyle wrote for THE RED BOOK MAGAZINE. It omits the original quartet of tales from THE AMERICAN MAGAZINE which introduced Boston Blackie, as well as the stories which appeared in THE COSMOPOLITAN (all of which were written after the publication of the H.K. Fly hardback). I’m not knocking the book, as it is a fine collection, and was my introduction to Boyle’s fiction. But it represents only a fraction of his output, and in several instances it presents sequences that are significantly watered down from their original magazine publications. The texts I’m using for THE COMPLETE BOSTON BLACKIE are drawn directly from the stories’ original appearances in THE RED BOOK, so even if you’ve read H.K. Fly’s BOSTON BLACKIE, you’ll find some surprises when you read my collection. Stay tuned to this blog for an upcoming sample of a “lost” scene from one of these RED BOOK tales.

  5. mfass said,

    Many thanks for enlightening me. I had wondered about exactly what might be included in the Coachwhip book. As I mentioned, our own experience has been with a picture book and requirements for color. In any case, if what you have in mind is a hardbound volume (they don’t do softcover where I suggest) then I can recommend a printer which did awfully good quality work for us and at a fine low price, and that is Mira Publishing in St. Louis. There are many printers who will do softcover books for MORE*, and at the same time, many printers will attempt hardbound books which turn out both high priced and terrible. Bindings which fall apart, etc. and etc. Watch out. These are people Blackie would despise, I imagine.

    Believe it or not. Overall, sadly, there are many businesses our there taking advantage of authors and artists who want to self publish, and particularly when you can realistically expect only a limited number of sales. I can’t tell you anything about e-books, other than having a personal bias and suspicion that they make money only for the company selling them, and pennies for the creator.

    Statistics, we are told, indicate that the typical self-published book is purchased only by family and friends, which translates to sales under one hundred copies. This is noted more to avoid being trapped with fantasies, than to discourage. And of course, there are hopefully many people who will want what you offer, and that they will promote you by word of mouth.

    *Some printers offer a nice low rate, but only if you order thousands of books. That’s a good way, I’m afraid, to wind up with thousands of books nobody wants.

    • mfass said,

      PS, I gather you continue to want to remain anonymous. But I think it is in your interest NOT to be, and to let the world–and potential readers–know who you are. I imagine you are aware even more than I am, that there is a HUGE population of people who buy and read detective, mystery and crime stories, along with keeping up with blogs devoted to the writers and books and literary history. WhoEVER you are, I think it is greatly in your interest to let the public know.

  6. jen b said,

    thanks for all the information. there is very little to go on. yet, you have helped me a great deal. I hope to get the books and the tv shows and some of the movies. I got the radio shows and love them dearly.

    thanks

    again

    jen

  7. David Wright said,

    Any news on the Complete Boston Blackie book? I know how challenging these labors of love can be. We’d love to see this one. THANKS!

    • jackboylefan said,

      Thanks for your interest in the book. Rest assured, it will be available soon. Unfortunately, my father passed away earlier this year, which wreaked havoc with my writing schedule. But the book is 95% done. I still need to re-typeset two stories and finish writing the essay on Jack Boyle’s life. I’m working on it as much as my day job permits, so hopefully I’ll have news soon. I appreciate everyone’s patience and support.

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