Wade Miller's Max Thursday Novels

The six Max Thursday novels were written from 1947 to 1951 and are set in San Diego, California. Written by Robert Wade and Bill Miller under the name "Wade Miller", they are excellent detective novels of the hard-boiled variety, though with less sex and violence than most. The star of the show is the tall, wiry Max Thursday. Max is a fundamentally decent man with an aversion to violence so strong that he doesn't own a gun.

Also making frequent appearances are his policeman friend and sometimes adversary Lieutenant Austin Clapp, and his newspaperwoman-girlfriend, Merle Osborn.

The novels are now out of print, but four of them were in-print as recently as the early 1990s. Copies are available at used book stores or at sites like abebooks.com. Wade Miller wrote many other detective and crime novels, including Badge of Evil which was made into the Orson Welles film Touch of Evil. Recently Wade Miller's 1952 crime novel Branded Woman (not a Max Thursday novel) was reprinted by Hard Case Crime.

Bill Miller died in 1961. Robert Wade is still living and now writes mystery reviews for the San Diego Union-Tribune.

The Max Thursday Novels

With a mind-numbing regularity, most American mystery novels are set in New York or Los Angeles. So it was a joy to discover a series set in San Diego, my hometown. I've put together a modest website documenting Max Thursday's old haunts. I tried to keep the photos down to a reasonable size.

This website is a work-in-progress which I intend to update as I have time. I would like to expand it to cover more mystery and detective fiction. I'm most partial to older novels and writers such as Craig Rice, Norbert Davis, Helen McCloy, Ross MacDonald, Rex Stout, Frederic Brown, Raymond Chandler, John Dickson Carr, and others. I do occasionally read more contemporary writers such as Bill Pronzini and Michael Connelly.

Photographs of locations in the Max Thursday Novels

Other Links of Interest

  • Thrilling Detective
  •  Exhaustive website covering pulp and hardboiled detectives. Love the graphics!
  • A Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection
  •  Michael E. Grost's massive site. It focuses more on the well-plotted classic mystery rather than the hard-boiled variety. It has led me to a lot of great reading material (Craig Rice, Helen McCloy, etc). Highly recommended.
  • The Grobius Shortling Mystery Novel Site
  •  Lots of opinions about classic mystery novels, especially those of John Dickson Carr, the master of the impossible crime.
  • The Mysterious Homepage
  •  Contains links to a many mystery websites.

    Last modified: January 22, 2006

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