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Human Question Mark. The Human Question Mark was created by Loring Dowst and appeared in five stories in Dime Mystery Magazine in 1938 and 1939, beginning with “Murder Comes to Breakfast” (Dime Mystery Magazine, Nov. 1938).

Pendexter Riddle, popularly known as the “Human Question Mark,” is a tall, benevolent private detective. He didn’t used to be that way, though. Once upon a time he was a brilliant, icy young prosecutor, but after sending his brother to jail to murder, and then seeing that brother dying in jail, Riddle traveled around the world, reorganized his philosophy, and returned as “a detective devoted to those oppressed by circumstance and unsurmountable fear.” His ads read, “Are you Ridden by Nameless Dread? Human Salvage Service. Will bear your personal burdens efficiently, swiftly and confidentially.” He’s kind to clients and doesn’t press them to pay his bills, which leaves him poor, most of the time. His Lestrade is the cranky Gilroy.

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