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Solomon, John. John Solomon was created by H. Bedford-Jones (John Bradford, James Bronson, Denis Burke (I), Denis Burke (II), Burket & O’Neill, Peter J. Clancy, Dick Clews, Vincent ConnorCosgrave & Lundgren, Crawford, Riley Dillon, Colin Haig, Pinky JenkinsJungle Girl, Tertius March, Say-and-See Smith, Sphinx (II)Strato-Shooters, Hugh Tyrone) and appeared in forty-four stories in Argosy, Far East Adventure Stories, and The People’s Magazine from 1914 to 1935, beginning with “The Gate of Farewell” (Argosy, Jan. 1914).

John Solomon is a short, fat Cockney in his fifties. For nearly three decades he worked as a private detective in Chicago and a ship chandler in London and then in Port Said. Now he is an adventurer, doing good deeds the world ‘round. In the Middle East he fights against the dread brotherhood of fighting monks known as “the Senussiyeh.” In Portuguese East Africa he foils the plans of an evil German treasure hunter. In the depths of the Sahara he finds a lost Crusaders’ castle in which their descendants live and guard a document attesting that Mohammed converted to Christianity before he died. In the Middle East he stops a man from taking command of all Muslims everywhere (the first time through conquering Mecca and Medina, the second time through acquiring all 100 beads of the rosary of Mohammed, and later the mummified body of Mohammed himself).

Solomon investigates the atrocities in the Belgian Congo and discovers white pygmies and a sacred mountain. Solomon stops the Japanese, off the coast of California, from acquiring the secrets to a supersubmarine. And Solomon puts an end to Prince Dominetti, head of the largest crime cartel in Europe. Solomon is fluent in five languages and is a connoisseur of Asian rugs. He seems to know and control many people in Europe and Africa—his agents seem to be everywhere, willing to fight and die for him. On his ring, the ring he gives to his agents, is the mark of Suleiman.

* I'm including the John Solomon stories in the Best of the Encyclopedia list because they're a lot of fun. The John Solomon stories are classic High Pulp adventure: globe-spanning, involving a well-written hero facing off against potentially world-shaking events and villains. H. Bedford-Jones was a prolific writer who always wrote at a high level of competence and skill, and the Solomon stories are some of his best. Solomon is an appealing protagonist--short, fat, on the wrong side of fifty--his foes are on the formidable side, and the stories don't read like the endings are pre-determined. There are, alas, anti-Muslim and racist elements in the John Solomon stories, which is why I can't rank them higher. 

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