(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Anthony Abbot’s contribution to the mystery and detective genre is found in his eight novels chronicling the feats of Thatcher Colt, the reserved but unswerving commissioner of the New York City Police Department. Abbot, as he himself noted, was “one of the first apologists for the police in detective fiction”; as such, he anticipated the development of the police procedural. At a time when most fictional police officers were portrayed as incompetent, dishonest, or, at best, solid but unimaginative, Abbot created a police officer-hero of formidable intelligence. For the most part, however, Abbot was a derivative writer. Popular in their day, the Thatcher Colt novels are now chiefly of historical interest. They are a virtual compendium of the motifs that dominated the American mystery novel in the 1920’s and 1930’s.