Introduction   On Racism   Epigraphs   A History of the Pulps   A   B   C   D   E   F   G   H   I   J   K   L   M   N   O   P   Q   R   S   T   U   V   W   X   Y   Z   

Glossary and Character Taxonomy  Breakdown by Country of Origin   Bibliography   Table of Contents    The Best of the Encyclopedia

Blue Jean Billy. Blue Jean Billy was created by Charles W. Tyler (Big-Nose Charlie, Dewlap & Wattles, Hiram Pertwee (I), Hiram Pertwee (II), Baldy Sours) and appeared in twelve stories in Detective Story Magazine and Best Detective Magazine from 1918 to 1937, beginning with “Raggedy Ann” (Detective Story Magazine, March 26, 1918); two collections of the stories were published in 1925 and 1926.

“Blue Jean Billy” Race is named for three things: Blue for the ocean, Jean for the "gracious gift of God," and Billy for her father, William J. "Quality Bill" Race. Years before Quality Bill was erroneously arrested by the police and worked over by them. Unfortunately, the Third Degree treatment crippled him and turned him against both the police and society in general. Quality Bill raised Billy to hate society and its hypocrites and hypocrisies, and when he died he left her a brick house, city unspecified, and a shanty on a sand spit far out on the Atlantic. Billy becomes a thief and a pirate, stealing aboard ships to rob the owners and passengers at gunpoint and then slipping over the side and disappearing into the night. She's not just a thief, though; she's a thief taking revenge on the evil rich, those liars and cheats who rob from and swindle the poor.

One night she robs a yacht full of wealthy scum and then uses the proceeds to invest in a new boat, the Nix's Mate. She also buys a society gambling house. Once the house is full of wealthy gamblers, she and her father's friend, the Shanghai Kid, rob the entire crowd and get away through a tunnel, evading the police. Unfortunately a group of gangsters, some of whom were robbed in the gambling house, pursue her and sink her boat and kill the Shanghai Kid. A noted detective, Robert Wood, pursues her, becoming her Loving Enemy. The gangsters tie up Wood, and in the ensuing firefight the gangsters are killed. Wood and Billy marry, with Billy vowing to reform.

Unfortunately for the pair, there are more complications to come. After three years Robert drowns and Billy, harassed by a brutal “human bloodhound” as she’s trying to revive Robert, returns to crime and piracy. She acquires a guardian in the figure of one of her father’s old friends, Lobster Joe, but he ends up being murdered. Her shanty is invaded by crooks, but they are dealt with. She renames herself “Arlin Shores” and retires to a peaceful existence. This ends a year later, when she reveals herself while saving some teenagers from gangsters, with more crime following.

Table of Contents / Annotations / Blog / Books / Patreon / Twitter / Contact me