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Gar, Jo. Jo Gar was created by “Ramon Decolta,” the pseudonym of Raoul Whitfield (Ben Breed, Dion Davies, Donald Free, Gary Greer, Ben Jardinn, Buck Kent, Captain MacLeod, Mel Ourney, Chuck Reddington, Bill Scott, Alan van Cleve), and appeared in twenty-five stories in Black Mask and Cosmopolitan from 1930 to 1937, beginning with “West of Guam” (Black Mask, Feb. 1930).

Jo Gar is a Filipino detective of part-Spanish descent who walks the mean streets of Manila, dealing with toughs and crime bosses. The Manila of the Jo Gar stories is much like the cities of American private eyes of the 1930s, with night club entertainers, hotel managers, gamblers, and other lowlifes. Whitfield, who spent many years as a child and teenager in the Philippines, portrays the islands in a hard but fair (and not racist) way. For his part Gar is very much in the hard-boiled tradition, and is a smart, tough private detective. He is a small man, with short arms, narrow shoulders, stubby fingers, and greying hair, and although he is soft-spoken and polite he is still as tough as they come.

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