Highland Park Price

Created by Dale Clark
Pseudonym of Ronal Kayser
Other pseudonyms include Clark Clayton

“Your Troubles Are Over When You Tell ‘em To Me.”
— Price’s business card

Like more than a few private eyes from the pulps, Dale Clark’s gizmo-obsessed, penny-pinching HIGHLAND PARK PRICE may not be quite as crooked as he seems.

Although he has a penchant for stringing along his more shady clients (one breathless intro tags him as the “ace of sharp-shooting shakedown sleuths”), and soaking them for huge fees (his nickname is “High Price”), he’s basically a good guy who uses his image as a crook to attract victims… er, clients. Sam Spade would understand. Mind you, he has a few other tricks up his sleeve, like a whole closet full of gadgets, usually purchased on the cheap (and therefore unreliable), and a noggin full of knowledge about everything from photography to inheritance law. And he has his long-suffering secretary Beulah Randy to keep him on the straight and narrow.

The stories, which appeared in Dime Detective, were played for laughs (much is made of Price’s stinginess), and recalls the work of such fellow contributors as Norbert Davis or Richard Sale.


Dale Clark was born Ronal Kayser in Springfield, Minnesota in 1905. He married in 1930 and worked as an investigator for Chicago’s Juvenile Protective Association (he boasts in the intro to one novel that he was the one who solved “the Cabrillo Freeway Skeleton thinga few years back’). Anyway, soon after, his early stories began to appear in Weird Tales under the pen name of Dale Clark, and by late 1934, they were appearing under his own name. But he soon turned to crime, pounding out hundreds of stories for Detective Story Magazine, Detective Fiction Weekly, Dime Detective and other mystery and detective pulps, under the “Dale Clark” pseudonym, drawing on his experience as an investigator. Many of his crime stories included  a scientific angle, oddball characters, vivid use of SoCal settings and a slightly satiric edge. He also managed to squeeze out several other novels, including Focus on Murder (1943), The Narrow Cell (1944), The Red Rods (1946), featuring P.I. Gillian Baltic, Mambo to Murder (1955), featuring private eye Joe Moran, and Country Coffins (1961). Clark passed away in 1988 in La Jolla, California, where he’d lived for many years. In fact, in his 1959 novel Death Wore Fins (1959), which takes place there, he name drops several real life literary residents of that town, including Raymond Chandler, Jonathan Latimer and, uh, Dr. Seuss.


  • “Slay, Fido, Slay” (November 1944, Dime Detective)
  • “Shaved Slugs” (Jan uary1945, Dime Detective)
  • “Corpses on Parade” (March 1945, Dime Detective)
  • “Let’s Trade Corpses” (May 1945, Dime Detective)
  • “Death Feeds the Kitty” (June 1945, Dime Detective)
  • “Corpses Can’t Climb Trees” (September 1945, Dime Detective)
  • “Corpses in Pawn” (October 1945, Dime Detective)
  • “Slay Close to Me” (December 1945, Dime Detective)
  • “Better Late Than Cadaver” (May 1946, Dime Detective)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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