He's a wealthy heir by day, but at night, Jimmie Dale enjoys breaking into businesses and homes to crack their safes for "the sheer deviltry of it." He doesn't actually steal anything--he does it because he can. He leaves a diamond-shaped gray paper seal at the scene of his crimes and becomes known in the press as The Gray Seal.
His real identity stays secret until he gets caught in the act by a woman (oh those fiendish dames!) who chooses to blackmail him into using his unique talents to help others. Before long he is taking on organized crime and various bad guys with names like "Spider Jack" and "Larry the Bat." All the while, he is trying to stay ahead of the police and avoid being discovered by the press. Being a wealthy playboy by day and a costumed crime-fighter by night is a lot to work! I guess I'll keep my day job.
The stories are often credited with influencing later pulp and comic book heros like The Green Hornet, The Shadow and of course Batman. The Gray Seal even has a version of the Batcave--he calls his secret hideout The Sanctuary.
This book is actually a compilation of the first two books featuring Jimmie Dale/The Gray Seal: The Adventures of Jimmie Dale
and The Further Adventures of Jimmie Dale.
There is a third story out there somewhere in the public domain, but it's proving difficult to adapt to e-text because it's on google books and it's just scanned images. I'll post it when I can.
Even though this story influenced later pulps, the writing in this is really top-notch. I was pleasantly surprised at how well written it is, so please give it a try if you get in the mood for some crime-fighting action with a little romance mixed in.
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