News that the Threadbone Press is considering republishing the pulp crime fiction novels written in the 1930s and 1940s by Doug Graves Snr has raised alarms amongst fans of the author who fear that his fictional - and notoriously "non-PC" PI - Peter Stormforce may be significantly remodelled to render him more palatable to modern tastes*.
Not averse to "slapping a dame in the kisser", "slugging a hobo with a 44" and "kicking a drunk where even he can still feel it", Peter Stormforce was an icon of his era but may "struggle to connect with modern readers", says social influencer and worldwide interweb vlogger Bee Wright-Onn.
* Our Literary Editor adds: "It has also raised alarms of a different kind in the household of Doug Graves [Jnr] wherein fears of confusion, false accusation and damaged sales are reaching worrying levels. The bestselling crime fiction writer has confessed to "a difficult" relationship with his late father, not exclusively related to a well-documented incident with a condom, a gallon of aviation fuel and crystal fountain, after which the two rarely spoke. Doug [Jnr] attributes his interest in writing crime fiction to his mother who was a great fan of No Hiding Place and its main star, the incomparable Raymond Francis. [A man much admired by and often confused with Royal Dorset Constabularly Chief Constable Sir Rising Crimewave [Ed].]
Based, allegedly, on a real life PI who Doug Snr met in a bar in Alton St Pancras, Peter Stormforce was the subject of six novels and numerous short stories published in popular magazines during the 1930s and 1940s. including Not-True Detective, Fictional Crimes Monthly and Unique Dorset Detectives. So influential was his character that many regard Doug as the founder of the entire Dorset Pulp Crime Fiction genre and the role model for several later authors including Dashitall Hamlet, Raymond Chandelier, Earl Stanley-Knife, Jim Thompson-Holidays, Philip K Dick-Head and Edgar Rice Crispies. Throughout both his life and his ouvre, Doug himself remained open to the widest range of interests and influences, often exploring topics regarded as lurid and louche [and occasionally downright salacious] even by commentators educated in a more forgiving cultural climate.
In what some read as a significant measure of the current ignorance**, it has even been suggested that Doug's literary alter ego - Peter Stormforce - is based on the cases of real life PI and former RDC desk operative DI [now PI] Brian Storm. This despite the fact that Brian was born more than 50 years after the Peter Stormforce's first appearance in Private Eyeful in 1935. Cultural Historian Benda Trewth explains: "The idea that a person can inspire a fictional character even before they are born and that a fictional character can prefigure his/her/its later inspiration is not a contradiction in terms, rather a re-statement of the same idea [absurd or otherwise] in different words. Given modern-day CGI, hologram technology and our improved understanding of astro-physics, not to mention a new found and frankly liberating elasticity with regard to conceptual integrity, almost anything is possible - especially in the world of fiction where, believe it or not, quite a lot is simply made up".
** an oblique reference to the fact that "History" as we used to know it has been absent from the school and university curricula for more than two decades.
In the meantime, real life PI Brian Storm is "keeping a watching brief". "Which is more than he managed when I employed him to follow my husband and his nasty little tart" adds less-than-satisfied customer and still to be divorcée Hope Ingfor-Betta.
Anyone still wishing to engage the services of PI Brian Storm is directed to his website [HERE]