Slim Callaghan

Created by Peter Cheyney (1896-1951)

Hard-boiled, bull-in-a-china-shop SLIM CALLAGHAN, prone to lying to just about anyone about just about anything, is the most famous, but not the only one of Cheyney's British eyes. He also created Nicholas Gale, Terence O'Day, Johnny Vallon and Carlyl O'Hara, and, of course, FBI agent/thug Lemmy Caution.

Slim was one tough bloke, a nasty bit of goods. Cheyney knew next to nothing about America, but he set about aping the popular American pulps of the time, with awkward and sometimes inadvertently hilarious results.

To North American ears, it's all incredibly off, but he was immensely popular in the U.K., and also incredibly prolific, churning out a steady stream of books and short stories. He was generally toned down for his film appearances, although Uneasy Terms, a 1948 Britsh flick, is quite effective, with Michael Rennie as Slim, who agrees to meet a prospective client and is subsequently drugged. And The Urgent Hangman was later cited as one of the 21 Classics in Gary Warren Niebuhr's A Reader's Guide To Private Eye Novels.


  • "Account Rendered"
  • "At the Grape-Vine"
  • "The Big Bluff"
  • "Birthday for Callaghan"
  • "Black-Out"
  • "Callaghan Plus Cupid"
  • "The Callaghan Touch"
  • "Christmas for Callaghan"
  • "Dance Without Music" (possibly originally a Caryl O'Hara story)
  • "The Date After Dark"
  • "The Dencourt Stiletto"
  • "The Disappearing Diamonds"
  • "Documentary Evidence"
  • "Double Alibi"
  • "Fifth Column"
  • "The Guess Comes Off"
  • "In the Bag"
  • "In the Hall"
  • "It Comes Off Sometimes"
  • "It Runs in the Family"
  • "Lady in Love"
  • "The Lady in Tears"
  • "The Man with Two Wives"
  • "A Matter of Cooperation"
  • "The Missing Bullet"
  • "Murder with a Twist"
  • "On the Cards"
  • "A Spot of Murder"
  • "The Telephone Talks"
  • "They Kidnapped Cecelia"
  • "Vengeance with a Twist"
  • "You Can't Trust Duchesses


  • The Urgent Hangman (1938)..Buy this book
  • Dangerous Curves (1939)
  • You Can't Keep the Change (1940)
  • It Couldn't Matter Less (1941)
  • Never a Dull Moment (1942; Lemmy Caution)
  • Sorry You've Been Troubled (1942)
  • It Couldn't Matter Less (1943; aka "The Unscrupulous Mr. Callaghan" and "Set-Up for Murder")
  • They Never Say When (1944)
  • Uneasy Terms (1946)
  • Callaghan (1973)


  • Mr. Caution-Mr. Callaghan (1941; contains 12 Callaghan stories, also features Lemmy Caution)
  • Calling Mr. Callaghan (1943)
  • Making Crime Pay (1944; contains 3 Callaghan stories)
  • A Spot of Murder and Other Stories (1946)
  • Vengeance with a Twist and Other Stories (1946)
  • Dance Without Music (1945)
  • Date After Dark and Other Stories (1946)
  • G Man at the Yard (1953; also stories with Lemmy Caution, Alonzo MacTavish)
  • The Mystery Blues and Other Stories Peter Cheyney (1954; aka "Fast Work")


    (1948, British Pathe)
    Based on the novel by Peter Cheyney
    Directed by Vernon Sewell
    Starring Michael Rennie as SLIM CALLAGHAN
    Also starring Nigel Patrick, Moira Lister, Alex Bernard, Faith Brook, Clifford Buckton, Paul Carpenter, Joan Carroll, Barry Jones, Robert Moore, Marie Ney, Tony Quinn, Michael Rennie, J.H. Roberts, John Robinson, Roy Russell, Joy Shelton, Mark Stone, George Street, Sydney Tafler, Terence de Marney

Absorbing British thriller stars Michael Rennie as a private detective who agrees to meet a prospective client and is subsequently drugged. After he wakes up, he is ordered to not take the case by the man's stepdaughter. But when his would-be customer turns up dead, Rennie finds himself thrust into an investigation packed with blackmail, murder and family infighting.

    (1954, British Eros)
    Based on the novel The Urgent Hangman by Peter Cheyney
    Directed by Charles Saunders

    (1954, France)
    In French
    Based on the novel It Couldn't Matter Less by Peter Cheyney
    Screenplay by Xavier Vallier
    Directed by Willy Rozier

    (1954, France)
    88 minutes
    Black & white/Mono
    In French
    Based on the novel Sorry You've Been Troubled by Peter Cheyney
    Screenplay by Xavier Vallier
    Directed by Willy Rozier
    Starring Tony Wright as SLIM CALLAGHAN
    Also starring Martine Alexis, Robert Berri, Robert Burnier, Paul Cambo, Lysiane Rey, Colette Ripert, Yorik Royan

    (1960, Atlantis)

According to Crime Fiction III, the existence of this film is not confirmed...

    (1960, France)
    In French
    Based on characters created by Peter Cheyney
    Screenplay by Xavier Vallier
    Directed by Willy Rozier

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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