As pulp fiction, Mill’s Duke Ashby tales perhaps suffer from an excess earnestness at the expense of the thrills, though the pieces remain entertaining reflections of their era and its attitudes. In one memorable story, our hero uses a mouse to single out a female impersonating baddie who foolishly doesn’t panic at the sight of the scampering critter. “We banked on the old belief that women are afraid of mice,” Carl Sherman explains to the Director, never stopping to consider whether the transvestite villain might be so into their role that they too would freak out at sight of a loose rodent.
The bad guys aren’t the only ones with an affinity for drag, though. In another tale, a pretty boy agent also goes for the feminine finery to snare a skirt-chasing gangster. (Insert your own J. Edgar joke here.) All in a day’s work for Hoover’s Schoolboys.