George H. Coxe

George Harmon Coxe

George Harmon Coxe (1901-1984) was an early star of hard boiled crime fiction, best known for characters he created in the seminal pulp magazine Black Mask. Born in upstate New York, he attended Purdue and Cornell Universities before moving to the West Coast to work in newspapers. In 1922 he began publishing short stories in pulp magazines across various genres, including romance and sports. He would find his greatest success, however, writing crime fiction.

In 1934 Coxe, relying on his background in journalism, created his most enduring character: Jack “Flashgun” Casey, a crime photographer. First appearing in “Return Engagement,” a Black Mask short, Casey found success on every platform, including radio, television and film. Coxe’s other well-known characters include Kent Murdock, another photographer, and Jack Fenner, a PI. Always more interested in character development than a clever plot twist, Coxe was at home in novel-writing, producing sixty-three books in his lifetime. Made a Grand Master of the Mystery Writers of America in 1964, Coxe died in 1984. 

“Murdock can be as hard-boiled as anybody, but he does not find it necessary to prove his hard-boiledness.” - New York Times

“[Coxe is] among the superior writers of mystery fiction.” - Rochester Journal

“Coxe’s heroes are people who stick up for each other, easily inspire trust and confidence, and who are maybe just a little bit soft at heart.” - Mystery Fancier

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