Ben Gates

Created by Robert Kyle (1914 --, pseudonym of Robert Terrall)

Apparently BEN GATES is "one of the few detectives in New York who can keep his mouth shut", although "nobody claims he's a saint." He appeared in five affably amusing PBO's printed by Dell in the late fifties/early sixties.

The usual period violence and smirky playboy private eye/man about town sex abound, but there's was also a lightness about them. Gates is no Shell Scott, but he does posess a glib, raffish charm and an appreciation for the finer things in life, notably booze and attractive babes.

He's also no loner -- he's surrounded by a rich supporting cast of kooks and oddballs, including his typewriter-fearing secretary and a hypochondriac Jewish buddy who's built like a quarterback.

Even better, the Ben Gates novels had the stamp of approval by one of Dell's biggest stars, Brett Halliday. According to Brett Halliday, creator of Mike Shayne, ""If I ever get on a case where I need help, I'll call on Ben Gates first of all. The guy's terrific."

Hearty praise, indeed.Except that author Robert Kyle was actually Robert Terrall, who also wrote as John Gonzales.

And as Brett Halliday, written over two dozen Mike Shayne novels and several of the short stories in Michael Shayne Mystery Magazine, which may explain the blurb, which popped up on the paperback cover of Some Like It Cool.

Still, whatever the pen name, he was one of those guys who produced a steady stream of quality work (including a pretty good standalone or two) but he never quite cracked the big time. So it's gratifying to see Hard Case Crime take an interest in him, reprinting Kill Now, Pay Later in 2007, nearly 40 years aftar it was last in print.

Under his own name, even.


  • "Ben Gates proves himself a much better than average private eye…the telling is crisp and well paced."

--The New York Times

  • "Savagely funny."

--Publishers Weekly


  • Blackmail, Inc. (1958)
  • Model for Murder (1959)
  • Kill Now, Pay Later (1960) ., Buy this book
  • Some Like It Cool (1962) ., Buy this book
  • Ben Gates Is Hot (1964)

Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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