Boston Blackie

Read by Winston Tharp

(4.7 stars; 70 reviews)

Boston Blackie is the novelization of a group of pulp short stories by Jack Boyle (1881-1928). Blackie, an ex-con with a college education, is a jewel thief based in San Francisco, who outwits the cops with the help of his wife Mary. The character was altered for a later series of popular films and radio shows to become a “reformed” jewel thief turned private eye. (Summary by Winston Tharp) (7 hr 35 min)


Foreword 5:54 Read by Winston Tharp
Boston Blackie 4:41 Read by Winston Tharp
Boston Blackie's Little Pal 21:39 Read by Winston Tharp
Boston Blackie's Code 14:59 Read by Winston Tharp
The Cushions Kid 15:00 Read by Winston Tharp
One Week to Live 15:39 Read by Winston Tharp
"Not to Snitch on a Pal" 13:47 Read by Winston Tharp
The Woman Called Rita 13:48 Read by Winston Tharp
The Miracle 21:46 Read by Winston Tharp
Fred the Count 17:04 Read by Winston Tharp
The Price of Success 21:06 Read by Winston Tharp
The Spirit of the Cushions Kid 16:20 Read by Winston Tharp
A Problem in Grand Larceny 20:21 Read by Winston Tharp
The Shot in the Dark 10:55 Read by Winston Tharp
The Mystery of the S. S. Humboldt 14:30 Read by Winston Tharp
Missing Gold 20:20 Read by Winston Tharp
The Frame-up 16:23 Read by Winston Tharp
The Third Degree 17:40 Read by Winston Tharp
An Answer in Grand Larceny 13:08 Read by Winston Tharp
Alibi Ann 18:29 Read by Winston Tharp
Boston Blackie's Prophecy Comes True 19:18 Read by Winston Tharp
The Love of a Woman 21:23 Read by Winston Tharp
For Fifteen Years 11:55 Read by Winston Tharp
The Revolt 13:24 Read by Winston Tharp
First Blood 16:21 Read by Winston Tharp
Boston Blackie's Mary 11:04 Read by Winston Tharp
"Play for Me 'Little Squirrel'" 19:30 Read by Winston Tharp
Trapped 13:11 Read by Winston Tharp
Man to Man 15:31 Read by Winston Tharp


One of my favorites - I just listened to it again...

(5 stars)

I initially thought that this was going to be another boring old fashioned cops and robbers book - but no, it is terrific, and so is the reader, Winston Tharp. He is one of the best. Love the ending. Ten stars! The author of Boston Blackie, Jack Boyle, served time in San Quentin, so he knew what he was talking about!

An exciting, suspenseful story with vivid, likeable antiheros.

(5 stars)

I was always eager to hear the next chapter and was breathlessly rooting for Blackie and Mary. Well-drawn side characters, too. I guess there is a reason Boston Blackie was so popular in his day. Movies, radio shows, novelizations... As made clear in the description, Boston Backie was not your typical hero. He's a "safe-cracker", and his world is divided into crooks (who protect each other according to their strict code of honor and are "right"), and "coppers" (the worst form of insult in Blackie's world: police, police informants, and those who are intent on full punishment according to the law.). The author might have had an uphill battle to make us like and root for Blackie, but he plays his cards well. Blackie is loving and completely faithful to his wife (his wife, Mary, is also all that could be wished for in this regard). He never "splits" on a friend. He is kind and generous to a fault within the underworld. His crimes are also sugar-coated for us: his victims are cruel and callous, fully deserving of punishment that a lawful nation will not give. Later chapters set in a prison help us even more in this regard. Prisoners are routinely tortured (sometimes to permanent injury, even death) and always mistreated. Policemen we meet are small, mean creatures and are wantonly vicious. They have no qualms about breaking laws themselves if it gains them their ends. I recommend this, and the radio plays that are also available on In these, Blackie maintains his outsider status but is reformed- making his hero status easier to digest for the later and more morally upright radio audiences. Or maybe it was the addition of commercial sponsors unwilling to offend potential customers that triggered the less morally ambiguous rewrite.

An Enjoyable Vintage Pulp Story

(4 stars)

BOSTON BLACKIE, with all its corny and often dated dialogue and sometimes purplish prose, is a fun read. I have listened to it twice through and will likely listen again Winston Tharp is one of my favorite, and maybe my absolute favorite reader on Libravox. I especially like his reading of the Continental Op stories by Hammett. But these are good also.


(5 stars)

What a unique idea, examining the private life of a criminal. It was a bit fanciful, treating Blackie and Mary as if they were a typical couple living a normal middle-class existence. I remember Boston Blackie only as a shadowy do-gooder on a television series. so this was quite an awakening. It was a good yarn and the reader was superlative.

(4 stars)

I liked the stories and it wasn't what I thought it would be. Well read by Winston Tharp. To bad there isn't more of Boston Blackie by Boyle to read. I never could get into radio version, but find the book much better to listen to. Thanks LibriVox for another enjoyable book.

(5 stars)

Awesome. It was unlike anything I have ever experienced. The reader did a fine job. Perhaps voice actors would have been better. Mr. Boyle's writing voice was beautiful. I cried, I laughed and I am glad to have met Mary and Boston Blackie.


(5 stars)

While not what I usually read or listen to this was a fun change. Set in San Francisco, my favorite city, it offers a glimpse into the wild past. Winston Tharp’s narration is exceptional!

Just Incredible!

(5 stars)

great stories and an incredible reader narrator actor. I like Boston Blackie so much better in these stories than the later stories. he's just been whitewashed too much