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The Adventures of Jimmie Dale

Frank L. Packard

Book Overview: 

Frank Lucius Packard was a Canadian novelist born in Montreal, Quebec. He worked as a civil engineer on the Canadian Pacific Railway. He later wrote a series of mystery novels, the most famous of which featured a character called Jimmie Dale. Jimmie Dale is a wealthy playboy by day, with a Harvard education and membership to New York City’s ultra-exclusive private club St. James. But at night he puts on a costume and becomes The Grey Seal, who enters businesses or homes and cracks safes, always leaving a diamond shaped, grey paper “seal” behind to mark his conquest, but never taking anything. He was just doing it for “the sheer deviltry of it” at first, but when a woman catches him, she blackmails him to war on certain crime organizations. Jimmie Dale/The Grey Seal is often credited with greatly influencing and popularizing later pulp and comic book heroes. The foppish playboy by-day-crimefighter-by-night routine had a precursor in The Scarlet Pimpernel, but it was Jimmie Dale that brought the idea into a contemporary setting and added the idea of a costume and mask for his secret identity, serving as a possible influence for characters like Zorro and The Shadow. He also established the concept of a hero’s secret hideout or lair, The Sanctuary, a precursor of the Batcave or the Fortress of Solitude.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .It's a lie!" said Matthews again, in a colourless, mechanical way.

The man glanced at Mrs. Matthews as he put the five-dollar note back into his pocket, seemed to choke a little, shook his head, and all trace of the official sternness that had crept into his voice disappeared.

"It's no good," he said in a low tone. "Don't do that, Mrs. Matthews, I've got to do my duty." He leaned a little toward the chair. "It's dead to rights, Sammy. You might as well make a clean breast of it. It was up to you and Al Gregor to see that the plate was destroyed. It WASN'T destroyed; instead, it shows up in the hands of a gang of counterfeiters that I've been watching for months. Furthermore, I've got the plate itself. And finally, though I haven't placed him under arrest yet for fear you might hear of it before I wanted you to and make a get-away, I've got Al Gregor where I can put my hands on him, and I've got his confession that you and he worked the game between yo. . . Read More