The Best of the Encyclopedia of Pulp Heroes: Doan & Carstairs


Doan. Doan was created by Norbert Davis (John Collins, William Dodd, Dr. Flame, Mark Hull, The Judge, Max Latin, Simeon Saxon, Ben Shaley) and appeared in two short stories and story serials and three novels and short story collections from 1940 to 1946, beginning with “Holocaust House” (Argosy, Nov. 16, 1940). Doan is an agent of the Severn Detective Agency in Bay City, somewhere east of the Rockies. Doan seems to be a rumpled, harmless, even hapless fat man, but he’s actually a hard, capable detective. His boss, J.S. Toggery, describes him as “the most dangerous little devil I’ve ever seen, and he’s all the worse because of that half-witted manner of his. You never suspect what he’s up to until it’s too late.” Doan likes drinking (at the Glasgow Limited Bar) and playing cards, and during one of those games wins Carstairs, an enormous fawn-colored Great Dane of unusual intelligence. Carstairs disapproves of Doan’s lifestyle, growling whenever Doan has a drink and in general acting as if he believes that Doan is beneath him. But when Doan absolutely needs him on a case, Carstairs will help.

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