ED NOON

 
Full Name: Ed Noon
Nationality: American
Organization: Presidential Agent
Occupation Agent

Creator: Michael Avallone
Time Span: 1953 - 1988
ABOUT THE SERIES

       Ed Noon is an agent for the President.
       Noon was first operating as a private investigator in 1953, apparently hanging it in 1989, making a career in the gumshoe business lasting 36 years at least. During that time he did a bit of everything that a PI would be expected to get involved in - beautiful women in distress, really really bad guys, thugs with guns, luscious femme fatales, etc. He was both hard-boiled and hard-loving and he was moderately popular to the reading public.
       Along the way, he took on an additional role besides private detective when he is literally shanghaied and brought to the White House where the President asks him for help. The President indicated that he was chosen because of the work he had done on the government's behalf in the matter of the "alarm clock". Noon isn't one to say no to an interesting case and he agrees.
       From then on, the series fluctuates between Private Investigator and Spy adventures. It also shimied back and forth with publishers with Signet releasing paperbacks billed as "Agent to Mr. President" while Curtis came out with a mixture of both PI and Spy without differenciating. The crossovers were smooth, however, as Noon remained in New York working out of his office he called the "mouse auditorium".
       Ed Noon is an old hand at the detective business as well as dealing with trouble. He got his first taste of danger while serving in WWII in Europe, rising to the rank of Sargeant. Upon his discharge, he sort of fell into the investigation business and sort of fell into having to fight frequently to stay alive.
       Ed is quick with his brain, fast with his fist, and accurate with his favored .45 carried in a shoulder holster.
       Listed below are all the published adventures about Ed Noon. In front of their plot description is either [PI] showing a private eye story or a [SPY] showing a spy adventure. One is a [?] indicating uncertainty and one has a [BOTH] showing that there are elements of both. Of the 33 books, more are PI books but with at least 13 books with Noon as a spy, he more than qualifies for membership to the Spy Guys and Gals club.

Notes: (taken from the excellent website Thrilling Detective)

1: There were several short stories written about Ed Noon and published by various magazines, mainly the Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

2: In the mid-50's there was a 13-episode radio serial called The Windup starring Chester Morris as Noon.

3: In 1999, the last, unpublished Noon adventure, Since Noon Yesterday was filmed and released as a 7-part webcast by the author's son, David Avallone.

BOOKS

Number of Books:33
First Appearance:1953
Last Appearance:1988

1 The Tall Dolores The Tall Dolores
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1953

[PI] Dolores, standing well over six feet high, looked Noon straight in the eye and told him to find her fiance. The man had gone missing, which upset her. So was several thousand of her dollars and that upset her more.

2 The Spitting Image The Spitting Image
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1954

[PI] The two sisters were identical twins but they were as different as night and day. One was wayward and the other prim. One thought she was in trouble and the other was trouble. One wanted Noon dead but he wasn't sure which.

3 Dead Game Dead Game
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1954

[PI] A simple job of tailing a wayward husband leads to murder and Noon loses his license. Then another woman with a similar case comes calling and Noon knows he is in more a lot more trouble.

4 Violence In Velvet Violence In Velvet
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1956

[PI] Plot as yet unknown.

5 The Case of the Bouncing Betty The Case of the Bouncing Betty
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1956

[PI] The blurb says "She jumped on one mattress too many." Her problem with mattresses, though, was not what normally might have been thought by a private eye. Betty was a mattress tester but she tested the wrong mattress and now people are out to kill her.

6 The Alarming Clock The Alarming Clock
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1957

[SPY] Plot as yet unknown. Cover blurb reads, "Ed Noon wakes up to a cuckoo nightmare of perverse plots, kinky kills and fatal females the alarming clock." Probably the case that brought Noon originally to the attention of the President. (Book Ordered, update soon)

7 The Case Of The Violent Virgin The Case Of The Violent Virgin
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1957

[PI] Noon is hired to bodyguard a woman named Opal who is being pursued by two men anxious to get their hands on a statue called the Violent Virgin, or is she using Noon to get to it first?

8 The Crazy Mixed-Up Corpse The Crazy Mixed-Up Corpse
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1957

[PI] Noon's neighbor is killed in a particularly ugly way and someone is now after him. He is given the chance to give it back without dying. Unfortunately, Noon doesn't know what it is.

9 The Voodoo Murders The Voodoo Murders
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1957

[PI] Ed Noon is in a section of New York inhabited predominantly by immigrants from the Caribbean, looking for a killer who likes to use voodoo to frighten. Noon isn't scared, just cautious.

10 Meanwhile, Back At The Morgue Meanwhile, Back At The Morgue
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1960

[PI] First four beautiful women who each had a chance to star in a new musical are hurt in an accident. Then the producer, who has hired Noon to investigate, is put in the hospital. Then the killing starts.

11 The Bedroom Bolero The Bedroom Bolero
aka Bolero Murders
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1963

[PI] Each victim had been killed in a room painted red while Ravel's Bolero played. Lt. Monks of the NYPD asks Noon to help investigate as time is closing on another killing.

12 The Living Bomb The Living Bomb
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1963

[SPY] Ed Noon is kidnapped by the FBI to sneak him into the White House where the President asks him to track down the smartest man in the world, a scientist who has disappeared.

13 There Is Something About A Dame There Is Something About A Dame
aka Nimble Gunner
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1963

[PI] Memo Morgan had a fantastic memory that wouldn't let him forget anything. It helped him win a lot of money on game shows. It also haunted him with what happened at the end of WWII and that got him killed.

14 Lust Is No Lady Lust Is No Lady
aka Brutal Kook
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1964

[Unk] Ed Noon is heading out on a vacation when he comes across an odd scene even for him; a young naked woman staked out in the desert sun to die. Freeing her just puts him in the middle of a hunt for gold that sets other people out to get rid of him quickly.

15 The Fat Death The Fat Death
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1966

[PI] Someone warning about the Fat Death and telling people to watch for the Slim Savior dropped thousands of leaflets from the sky in New York. It was somehow related to a blue movie that a fashion queen wanted recovered.

16 The February Doll Murders The February Doll Murders
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1967

[SPY] A call from an old army buddy, not seen since the end of hostilities, places Ed Noon in the middle of a plot to sabotage the good works of the U.N.

17 The Horrible Man The Horrible Man
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1968

[SPY} A Fifth Avenue playboy, said to be God's gift to women, stopped being so when someone put a knife in his chest. Noon is surprised when the White House asks him to look into the case.

18 Assassins Don't Die In Bed Assassins Don't Die In Bed
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1968

[SPY] A noted diplomat named Hallmark was setting out on a cruise with a large contingent of family, friends, and followers. One of the large entourage was also an assassin hired to kill him unless Ed Noon, specifically asked by the President, can stop the unknown killer.

19 The Flower-Covered Corpse The Flower-Covered Corpse
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1969

[PI] The murder of a famous guru, killed by hanging from a meat hook, was the start of a case that sees Noon having to go underground in the world of sex and drugs and con men.

20 The Doomsday Bag The Doomsday Bag
aka Killer's Highway
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1969

[SPY] The President has a 'shadow' with him at all times, a man who carries a black attaché bag containing the codes to unleash a nuclear war. Ed Noon is asked to investigate when one of these men disappears, along with that vital container.

21 Death Dives Deep Death Dives Deep
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1970

[SPY] When the Chief Executive asks Ed Noon to investigate the existence of an underwater kingdom comprised of man-eating women, he is stunned but he nevertheless heads south of Florida to check it out.

22 Little Miss Murder Little Miss Murder
aka The Ultimate Client
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1970

[SPY] The invitation to a baseball game by the President of the United States is strange enough but matters get even odder when Ed Noon witnesses the apparent murder of a nun and then finds himself the target of several blood-thirsty killers and one very sexy superspy.

23 Shoot It Again, Sam Shoot It Again, Sam
aka Moving Graveyard
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1972

[SPY] The President asks Noon to bodyguard a coffin on the way to burial and the case ends up being a plot to blow up the U.N. building.

24 London, Bloody London London, Bloody London
aka Ed Noon In London
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1972

[SPY] The President asks Ed Noon to head to London to find an aging brilliant scientist and a very young child prodigy but there are others after the pair and Noon has to decide which side the swinging Christine is on before it kills him.

25 Killer On The Keys Killer On The Keys
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1972

[BOTH] Still sore at the President over the previous case, Noon refuses to take his call and instead takes the case of a friend, an renowned violinist, reports people dying around him.

26 The Girl In The Cockpit The Girl In The Cockpit
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1972

[PI] Someone killed the Mafia leader and his family wants revenge. The man's daughter comes to Noon but is it for help or for a patsy and will Noon live long enough to learn which?

27 Kill Her, You'll Like It Kill Her, You'll Like It
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1972

[PI] The serial killer called himself the Gingerbread Man and liked to carve up strippers. He was working his way towards the most famous one in the country and she asks Noon for help.

28 The Hot Body The Hot Body
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1973

[SPY] The ex-First Lady is getting more publicity that the Administration feels is good, all connected to Cuba and Latin America. The President sends Noon to quiet things down but life doesn't work out that way.

29 The X-Rated Corpse The X-Rated Corpse
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1973

[PI] The latest Queen of Hollywood admits to Noon that she slept with her then 70-some-year old producer ten years before to get her break. Now someone has shown up with photos and is threatening to destroy her.

30 The Big Stiffs The Big Stiffs
aka Blues For Sophia Loren
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1977

[SPY] The President sends Noon to Rome to pick up what seems to be a simple package but things do not stay simple when people start dying around him.

31 Dark On Monday Dark On Monday
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1978

[PI] It started with a cry for help from an exotic looking Broadway dancer and quickly moved into a case of someone targeting showgirls with a deadly vengeance. One source indicates that this was a rewrite of an early Noon story from the Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine.

32 Ed Noon's 5-Minute Mysteries Ed Noon's 5-Minute Mysteries
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1978

[PI] A series of short mysteries meant largely for a younger audience, the stories in this book were taken from scripts from the 13-episode radio drama called The Windup.

33 High Noon At Midnight High Noon At Midnight
Written by Michael Avallone
Copyright: 1988

[PI] The billionaire was long dead but that fact was being kept a secret. When a reporter uncovers the truth, Noon is offered a lot of money to kill him. When Noon refuses, his life takes a dramatic turn downward.

MY COMMENTS

       If you are looking for light spy entertainment by a very experienced writer, you can't find a much better agent than Ed Noon and I will admit that I've enjoyed his adventures. Nevertheless, I do not lose sight of the truth that as spy fiction goes, this is very light weight. I once described such fare as jello - always enjoyable but never totally filling. Still, it is hard to say no to jello and it is hard to not like Ed Noon.

Personal note: this page underwent a major rewrite. Originally, I thought there were just 5 books with Noon as an agent for the President as those were the only ones so marked by the publisher. A friend wrote me and suggested I revisit the matter. Since I had most of the other books, I looked closer and saw how wrong I was. The annoying fact was that I had most of these books but had just not looked hard enough. My bad!

GRADE

My Grade: C+

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