Created by Robert E. Howard (1906-36)
"One second Steve Harrison was plodding profanely but prosaically through the darkness of the alley..."
Pulp writer Howard is of course best known for creating Conan the Barbarian, but over the course of his career he tried several genres, including the hard-boiled detective genre, creating a rock 'em, sock 'em private eye series character, STEVE HARRISON.
In many ways, Harrison was a typical P.I., a generic gumshoe no better or worse than a zillion others, although his stories strayed a little further afield from standard detective fare than most, adding in the weird menace and "adventure stuff" that the author was already developing a reputation for. And few private eyes could boast of a recurring enemy, never mind one as diabolical and evil as Erlik Khan, a descendent of Genghis Khan.
Sadly, Howard didn't much care for mystery fiction, and it shows. Which may be why he kept trying to turn it into something else.
By his own admission he could barely stand to read it, and the love was reciprocated. Only four of his mystery stories were published in his lifetime.
Still, Howard was one of the most influential pulp writers of all time, and even if his detective fiction missed the mark, it's at least worth a look.
The stories were eventually all rounded up in Steve Harrison's Casebook (2011), a limited edition (150 copies) collection squared aimed at Howard fans, published by the REH (Robert E. Howard) Foundation Press. But they do occasionally pop up in other places.
-- Bob Byrne
Includes all the known stories, an introduction by Don Herron and assorted miscellanea.
Famous Writers Who Have Dipped Their Toes in the P.I. Pool
Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.
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