Joe Puma

Created by William Campbell Gault (1910-97)

Presenting the fuck-up as P.I.

While straight arrow Brock Callahan remains William Campbell Gault's most famous creation, JOE PUMA deserves some attention, too. Not as handsome, educated or downright decent as the WASPish Brock, Joe, of Italian stock, is bigger, and meaner, and definitely a few notches down the social scale.

And the moral one as well.

While Brock's clients tended to be film stars and heiresses, and corporate big shots, Joe's clientele runs from madames to professional wrestlers. Joe appeared in several books and stories in the late fifties and early sixties and made a final appearance in 1984's The Cana Diversion, featuring the return of Callahan after an absence of almost 20 years. In it, Joe's down on his luck, and Brock tries to lend a helping hand, to no avail.

Besides Brock, Gault was also responsible for several other one-shot PI's, who appeared in various short stories, in the pulps and elsewhere, including Honolulu's Sandy McKane and Armenian gumshoe Pierre Apoyan.


  • Shakedown (1953; as Roney Scott)
  • End of a Call Girl (1958; aka "Don't Call Tonight")
  • Night Lady (1958)
  • Sweet Wild Wench (1959)
  • The Wayward Widow (1959)
  • Million Dollar Tramp (1960)
  • The Hundred Dollar Girl (1961) ....Buy this book
  • The Cana Diversion (1982)


  • "The Unholy Three" (May 1956, Manhunt; 2003, Marksman and Other Stories)
  • "Deadly Beloved" (October 1956, Manhunt; also 2002, Most Wanted; 2003, Marksman and Other Stories)
  • "Death of a Big Wheel (April 1957, Manhunt; 2003, Marksman and Other Stories)
  • "Don't Crowd Your Luck (May 1957, EQMM; 2003, Marksman and Other Stories)
  • "No Client of Mine (July 1957, Mercury Mystery Magazine; 2003, Marksman and Other Stories)
  • "Take Care of Yourself (1957, Murder; 1987, The Black Lizard Anthology of Crime Fiction)
  • "Stolen Star (November 1957, Manhunt; 1990, Detective Story Magazine #9; 2003, Marksman and Other Stories).


  • Marksman and Other Stories (2003; edited by Bill Pronzini)... Buy this book

Includes 12 stories, including six featuring Joe Puma

Five stories featuring Joe Puma.

Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to Dale Stoyer for the nifty scan, and Frank Loose for the heads-up.

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