Betty Carson

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

“A dame run a detective agency?”

Apparently so. Even in the manlier-than-thou days of the crime and detective pulps of the 1940s.

BETTY CARSON is the “helpless-looking little blond boss” of the Carson Detective Agency, who turns into “a female Tarzan” when hubby’s away in New Guinea, doing his patriotic duty, much to the dismay of the agency’s chief operative, middle-aged, overweight and less-than-woke Ben, who suffers from fallen arches and high blood pressure.

Having a “dame” in charge probably doesn’t help the latter.

As far as I know, Betty only appeared in one short story, but coming from pulpster Dale Clark, who certainly knew his way around Shamus Town, it might well be worth investigating.


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, and he’s probably best known for his pulp stories featuring penny-pinching private eye Highland PriceHe 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.


  • “Dames are Like That” (September 1943, Dime Detective)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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