Tuesday, January 15, 2008

I.G. Edmonds's Big Eye books

I promised to say something about Ivy Gordon Edmonds's private eye books that have apparently been published only in Finnish. It took me quite a while to grasp that this was the only possibility for the books to exist and not to be found in the English crime fiction bibliographies. As I got confirmation from the Scott Meredith Literary Agency, this proved to be 100 % correct (even though they didn't know the books were published in Finland, and it seems they were not published in Sweden or Norway, even though that's what their records state).

Edmonds's hero in these four books is Greg Graves, private eye called Big Eye. He got his moniker from a reporter and is not pleased with it. He owns the Seven Seas investigation office and says that his holy things are "money, scotch and beautiful dames" (as if you didn't know that by now). He seems to be a bit of woman-hater, though, since he also says: "The women-hating hermits are the only real wise men in this crazy world."

It seems to me that the Big Eye books are parodies of the P.I. genre and the clichés it had reverted to in the fifties and the sixties. The Big Eye books remind one of Richard Prather's Shell Scott books, but are not anywhere near as funny.

There are four books translated in Finnish. I don't know the original writing years, but I should suspect they are from the early sixties and had been circulating around the paperback publishers before they found their home in the Northern Europe. One wonders why a cheap paperback publisher like Beacon didn't take these, or even a cheaper one, like Kozy Books. Maybe someone could dig these up and publish them in English for the first time... Hey Hard Case! If they only were better and funnier.

Big Eye and the Torrid Target, published as Etsi sinä - minä tapan (You Find - I Kill) in 1970, starts when Big Eye receives a call from a stripper, who says Big Eye is going to get killed. In Big Eye and the Scorched Bikini (Tulenarka bikini) Big Eye finds a curvy dame in his office, with a literally scorched bikini on her. (I don't have notes for the other books, it's possible I never read them.) The books, or at least some of them, were published with Robert McGinnis covers, which makes them rather nice.

There's also a war paperback published as by I.G. Edmonds, called The Devil Cheaters (Pirullinen tehtävä), that hasn't apparently been published in America.

I have I.G. Edmonds's address and will write him a letter later this week and will ask about these books. Will let you know if he answers!

Here's the bibliography:

Etsi sinä — minä tapan. Transl. Aila Virtanen. Viihdekirjat: Tapiola 1970. Originally Big Eye and the Torrid Target. 1969. [The original year is given in the book, but that must've been the year of the sale.]
Kuumaa tavaraa. Transl. Ritva Rekola. Viihdekirjat: Tapiola 1968. Originally Big Eye in Kiss or Kill.
Tulenarka bikini. Transl. H. Suikkanen. Viihdekirjat: Tapiola 1968. Originally Big Eye and the Scorched Bikini.
Villikissa. Transl. H. Suikkanen. Viihdekirjat: Tapiola 1967. Originally Big Eye and the Naughty Nudes.

And the war novel:

Pirullinen tehtävä. Transl. H. Suikkanen. Viihdekirjat: Tapiola 1967. Originally The Devil Cheaters.

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