Calvin Kane

Created by Russell Gray
Pseudonym of Bruno Fischer
Other pseudonyms include Harrison Storm)

Ladies and gentlemen, step right up and behold the infamous Crab Detective!

CALVIN KANE was a pulp-era private eye from the thirties whose “severely deformed body made him look like a refugee from a side-show attraction,” according to Don Hutchison, pulp historian.

This “defective detective,” with his withered and useless right leg, and twisted and deformed body, was forced to crawl along the floor, using his extremely powerful arms, thus earning him the nickname of “The Crab Detective.” According to another pulp expert, Robert Kenneth Jones in his 1975 book The Shudder Pulps,  said that the Kane series was “simply too grotesque to last.” A toned-down version of Kane was Gray’s second pulp eye, polio victim Ben Bryn, who was evidently easier for readers to take. Kane, and later Bryn, were regulars in Dime Mystery.

Author Russell Gray (a pseudonym of Bruno Fischer) was one of the more prolific popular writers of the genre, starting out in the weird menace pulps back in the thirties, and eventually moving into the paperback market of the fifties, where he wrote tons of great stand-alones, as well as several novels featuring detectives Ben Helm, Ethan Burr, Rick Train and others.


I cannot for the life of me find any stories, novellas or novels featuring Calvin Kane–or even any specific titles. Everything I said above was picked up from secondary sources that merely echo and re-echo each other. It’s all the same information, repeated over and over, including my preliminary findings from this site. Not one source–including several bibliographical sources I’ve come to rely on over the years–actually mentions a single Calvin Kane story by title. I’m beginning to wonder if any were ever actually published, or if the possibly unpublished story was reworked as a Ben Bryn yarn, or if we’ve all been had.

Anyone out there who can sort this out for me?


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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