Dodge Home
“Better add David Dodge to your list of household necessities”
—N.Y. Herald Tribune Books
Shear the Black Sheep, 1st ed.

Shear the Black Sheep


Publishing History

  • Cosmopolitan. Vol. 113, no. 1 (July 1942)
  • New York: The Macmillan Company, 1942
  • New York: Popular Library, 1949 (PL 202)
  • London: Michael Joseph, 1949
  • London: Thriller Book Club, 1950
  • Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1955 (Penguin 1078)

Series Character


  • San Francisco and Los Angeles, California

   “The city?” Ruth was indignant. “I like that. The city! What do you think Los Angeles is—a village?”
   Whit apologized. “Force of habit. I like Los Angeles.”
   “You Frisco people are all the same. To hear you talk you’d think we were a bunch of hicks.”
   “Not Frisco,” Whit said. “San Francisco. There isn’t any place called Frisco. And I like Los Angeles a lot. I just think of San Francisco as the city, that’s all.”
   Shear the Black Sheep, Chapter 4


   In David Dodge’s second novel, Whit Whitney reluctantly accepts a job offer from John J. Clayton, a wealthy wool-broker, to investigate Clayton’s son Bob, who runs the Los Angeles office of the family business. Whit’s assignment is to find out why Bob has been making unauthorized payments with company funds and, if possible, why he abandoned his wife and young child. Not only does the job involve more detective work than Whit is comfortable with, it takes him to Los Angeles over the New Year’s holiday and away from “the best-looking girl in San Francisco,” Kitty MacLeod. Whit quickly learns the answers to both of Clayton’s problems: Bob is involved in a high-stakes poker game with a bunch of card sharps and has taken up with a “killer-diller” of a redhead named Gwen, the sister of one of the poker-players. Whit is about to blow the lid on the whole setup when Bob drops over dead during one of the games, poisoned by strychnine-laced aspirin tablets. Also, the $25,000 in cash that Bob had brought with him has vanished. Kitty—who doesn’t like being stood up—joins Whit in L.A. and they hit the Hollywood nightclubs on New Year’s Eve, hobnob with movie stars, attend the Rose Bowl game, and both wind up in jail before the killer is run down and the money recovered.

Shear the Black Sheep, PL202

Michael Joseph ed., 1949 Thriller Book Club ed., 1950

Cast of Characters
Kenneth Bradley
John J. Clayton
Kathryn Clayton
Robert Clayton
Johnny Gilmore
Joe Grundberg
Art Hamilton
Maurie Laski
Kitty MacLeod
Ruth Martin
Jack Morgan
Andrew Sims
Gwen Storey
Les Storey
Whit Whitney

Book Reviews
Previous novel Death and Taxes (1941)
Bullets for the Bridegroom (1944) Next novel

David Dodge Home | Novels | Travel Books | Short Stories | Travel Articles | Plays | Bibliography | Biography | Scrapbook | Miscellany