Sunday, June 23, 2019

The Under Dogs by Hulbert Footner (1925)

About the author: See this Wikipedia article.

Major characters:
  • Madame Rosika Storey, a.k.a. Jessie Seipp
  • Bella Brickley, a.k.a. Canada Annie Watkin; her secretary
  • Melanie Soupert, jewel thief and prison escapee
  • George Mullen, her husband
  • Jim Shryock, her attorney
  • John McDaniel, private detective
  • Mother Simonds, a.k.a. Kate Pullen, Black Kate; emissary for the criminal organization
Locale: New York City


Madame Rosika Storey is a beautiful, wealthy investigator, sort of a female version of Leslie Charteris' The Saint. Her secretary, Bella Brickley, is our narrator. Mme. Storey receives a plea for help from Melanie Soupert, imprisoned for a jewel theft while working as a domestic. A criminal organization helps her escape, then holds her prisoner for their own purposes - that is, committing crimes for their own benefit. Mme. Storey, with some nod-nod-wink-wink from the police, seeks to track down the organization by masquerading as a thief herself under the assumed identity of Jessie Seipp. She manages to get imprisoned in the same facility and awaits the organization to take an interest in her. She is approached by Mother Simonds who recruits her and assists her to escape; which allows her to infiltrate the gang.


An excellent thriller. A couple of deaths occur but they are not part of the plot. It is always refreshing to find a detective story from this era with a female narrator and protagonist, other than in the stories of Mary Roberts Rinehart. In fact, all the major characters are female. One must pay attention, as some characters take on other names. 

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