Steve Drake

Created by Richard Ellington (1914-80)

"Broadway is my beat and murder is my business!"

-- cover blurb from Shakedown

Over the course of five novels and a few short stories, former actor and current Broadway wisenheimer STEVE DRAKE finds that private investigation may not be the nicest work in the world, but "it's a living."

One of the unfairly forgotten P.I. series of the late forties/early fifties, not as hard-boiled as Spillane, perhaps, but generally offering some good local colour, an appealing medium-boiled hero and some deftly plotted, satisfyingly complex mysteries. In fact, despite the tough guy trappings (check out that cover!) at times Drake seemed to be almost wandering into amateur sleuth territory, with Exit for a Dame (1951) in particular recalling an Ellery Queen impossible crime story.

Richard Ellington worked in radio, both as a performer and writer, during and after World War II and ended up running a hotel in the Caribbean.


  • Shoot the Works (1948)
  • It's a Crime (1948)
  • Stone Cold Dead (1950)
  • Exit For a Dame (1951). Buy this book
  • Just Killing Time, 1953; aka "Shakedown")


  • "Fan Club" (April 1953, Manhunt)
  • "The Ripper" (August 1953, Manhunt)

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. And thanks to David Nobriga for shaking my cage.

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