Thomas W. Hanshew Analysis


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

The saga of Hamilton Cleek in many ways summarizes the forms of popular literature of the era just before World War I. Thomas W. Hanshew used elements of the crook story and the Balkan romance and combined them with tales featuring an infallible sleuth to produce some of the most extraordinary detective stories of the era. Hanshew’s inventiveness in plotting and his love of the bizarre and exotic influenced later writers, especially Ellery Queen and John Dickson Carr.


(Masterpieces of Fiction, Detective and Mystery Edition)

Cox, J. Randolph. “Cleek and His Forty Faces: Or, T. W. Hanshew, a Dime Novelist Who Made Good.” Dime Novel Round-Up 42 (March/April, 1973): 30-34, 41-43. Brief biography of Hanshew emphasizing the popularity and success of his most famous character.

Greene, Douglas G. “The Incredible Hamilton Cleek: Or, Sherlock Holmes from Graustark.” The Poisoned Pen 5 (November/December, 1982): 11-14. Compares Cleek to Conan Doyle’s famous master sleuth.

Haining, Peter. The Classic Era of American Pulp Magazines. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2000. Looks at the relationship of pulp fiction to its more respectable literary cousins, as well as its function within American culture. Provides perspective on Hanshew’s work.

Sampson, Robert. Glory Figures. Vol 1. in Yesterday’s Faces: A Study of Series Characters in the Early Pulp Magazines. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green University Popular Press, 1983. The first of six volumes focused on pulp fiction’s most interesting and influential characters. Sheds light on Hanshew’s novels.