Steve Harrison

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 shooting and slugging his way through the pulps, 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 made it to publication 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 squarely aimed at Howard fans, published by the REH (Robert E. Howard) Foundation Press. But they do occasionally pop up in other places.

UNDER OATH

  • “The Harrison stories are not ones likely to draw you back too often… Though, if you want a private eye who is more likely to use a mace or an axe than a gun (really, I mean it), then he’s your guy.”
    — Bob Byrne

SHORT STORIES

  • “Fangs of Gold” (February 1934, Strange Detective Stories; aka “The People of the Serpent”)
  • “The Tomb’s Secret” (February 1934, Strange Detective Stories; aka “The Teeth of Doom”)
  • “Names in the Black Book” (May 1934, Super Detective Stories)
  • “Graveyard Rats” (February 1936, Thrilling Mystery)
  • “The House of Suspicion” (1976, The Second Book of Robert E. Howard)
  • “Lord of the Dead” (February 1978, Skull-Face)
  • “The Black Moon” (1983, Bran Mak Morn: A Play and Others)
  • “The Silver Heel” (May 1984, Two-Fisted Detective Stories)
  • “The Voice of Death” (May 1984, Two-Fisted Detective Stories)

COLLECTIONS

  • Steve Harrison’s Casebook (2011) Buy this book
    Includes all the known stories, an introduction by Don Herron and assorted miscellanea.

RELATED LINKS

Report respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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