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Dixon Hawke

Introduction

Dixon Hawke was a detective, assisted by Tommy Burke, whose adventures were published in Dundee by D. C. Thomson, the folk behind other titles as diverse but long running as The Beano, The People's Friend and The Scots Magazine. His first appearance was in The Great Hotel Mystery, published in The Saturday Post on 6th April, 1912, but he soon found his own publication, the Dixon Hawke Library, which ran from 1919 to 1941, as well as featuring in a boys' paper called Adventure, starting in 1921. Annual Dixon Hawke Case Books followed and eventually he found his way back to The Sporting Post, a weekly sports paper (The Saturday Post had become The Sporting Post in 1914), if indeed he ever left.

Having appeared in over 5,500 stories between 1912 and 2000, Hawke may well be the most published literary character, even ahead of his influences. As Guy points out in an article on his Dixon Hawke Stories, Dixon ('the famous Dover Street detective') and Tommy were 'really carbon copies of Sherlock Holmes and Doctor Watson, as were Sexton Blake and Tinker.'

Of course, Guy had already created his own carbon copy in Raymond Odell, but he was glad to take on Dixon Hawke too and his first submission was accepted. Over afternoon tea in Birmingham, the editorial director asked him to write more, which he duly did. Of course, Dixon Hawke stories were written by many authors, none of whom were ever credited, and their titles were often changed without notice. Guy also discovered that D. C. Thomson didn't want to rely too heavily on one writer, so rejected some submissions for no apparent reason.

It's therefore difficult to confirm which of the many Dixon Hawke stories were written by Guy, especially as they didn't always send tear-sheets, or copies of the pages on which the stories featured. Certainly his stories were written between April 1971 and June 1978, while some contained an element of horror. He returned to Dixon Hawke in 1996.

The stories listed here are the only ones positively identified; the listed original titles highlight how often they were renamed. It's possible that some of the undated stories may have been retitled to stories listed with dates.

For other work, return to Short Stories or Broken Backlist.

The List

# Year Date Title Original Title
1 1971 29 May A Killer at Polton Grange
2 1971 26 June Deadly Nightcap
3 1971 23 October Just Whistle for Murder The Final Whistle
4 1972 9 December Double Bluff
5 1974 16 March At One Fell Swoop The Devil's Ring
6 1974 18 May A Tune in Time The Case of the Illegal Immigrants
7 1974 9 November A Bird in the Hand The Case of the Silent Songbirds
8 1974 23 November A Taste of Victory Final Score
9 1976 10 April Almost the Perfect Murder
10 1976 5 June The Case of the Absentminded Crook Time-table for Robbery
11 1976 25 September Jealous Heart An Act of Murder
12 1977 26 February Blind Man's Bluff Dead Man's Bluff
13 1977 14 May The Perfect Theft The Case of the Missing Pendant
14 1977 13 August The Secret of the Fenimore The Case of the Smuggled Watches
15 1977 8 October Not a Ghost of a Chance
16 1977 19 November A Shocking Way to Die
17 1996 16 March Bullet for a Banker
18 1996 28 September Murderer's Luck
19 1996 2 November A Taste of Death
20 1997 1 February Murder in the Woods
21 1997 21 June Kiss of Death

Undated

  1. Revenge from Beyond the Grave
  2. Murder on the Moors
  3. Death Due to Unnatural Causes
  4. The Secret of the Stones
  5. A Lesson in Magic
  6. The Case of the Smoking Corpse
  7. The Tooth-paste Killer
  8. Murder on the Merse
  9. The Case of the River Queen

A Killer at Polton Grange

I don't know if A Killer at Polton Grange was the first Dixon Hawke story that Guy submitted for publication but, if it was, it's not surprising that it was accepted. It's a great example of how a mystery could be set up, investigated and solved within a single page of six column newspaper. It even combines routine detection with a uniquely linguistic solution to the crime that made me smile in admiration.

Deadly Nightcap

By comparison, Deadly Nightcap, published only a month later, is a lot less solid, though it runs on in a rapid enough fashion to its inevitably successful conclusion. It's more traditional in its mystery and it contains a number of leaps but it's decent enough.

Just Whistle for Murder

Four months later, Just Whistle for Murder is Guy back on form again with a story that has a murder mystery nearly run into the road in front of them. Hawke and Burke solve it with a combination of knowledge, hard work and deduction. Over a longer word count, the convenience of that insider knowledge (which of course we don't know) would be worked around but it's fair enough for a story as short as this.

Double Bluff

Fast forward over a year and Guy is still plotting as fiendishly as ever. He doesn't believe the seemingly cast iron case against an ex-con for murder, as his story is too outrageous for him to conjure up. In solving the murder, he also solves another mystery. There's a lot going on in this one, which, as always, unfolds on a single page of newsprint.


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