Clare Kendall

Created by Arthur B. Reeve
Pseudonyms include David Carver

Arthur B. Reeve is best known, of course, for creating Craig Kennedy, but the popular “scientific detective” was not Arthur B. Reeve’s only series sleuth. He also created a number of other detectives, including CLARE KENDALL, “a tall, striking, self-reliant young woman with an engaging smile” who works as a private investigator.

That’s how Kennedy describes her in “Ear in the Wall,”, a 1916 Kennedy short story, in which she appears. He adds:

“She was dark-haired, with regular features and an expression which showed a high degree of intelligence. Her clear grey eyes seemed to penetrate and tear the mask off you. It was not only her features and eyes that showed intelligence, but her gown showed that without sacrificing neatness she had deliberately toned down the existing fashions which so admirably fitted in with her figure in order that she might not appear noticeable. It was clever, for if there is anything a good detective must do it is to prevent people from looking twice.

I knew something of her history already. She had begun on a rather difficult case for one of the large agencies and after a few years of experience had decided that there was a field for an independent woman detective who would appeal particularly to women themselves. Unaided she had fought her way to a position of keen rivalry now with the best men in the profession… “one of the gamest girls I ever knew.”

The best men in the profession, of course, naturally included Kennedy, we assume (he was never one to suffer much humility), although by the time she appeared in that short story, Clare had already appeared in several short stories of her own, serialized in various newspapers.

Granted, she often seemed like simply female clone of Kennedy, sharing  the same interest in cutting-edge technology and eye-popping gadgets, although Craig didn’t have a sometime-boyfriend, a Dr. William “Billy” Lawson, who had his own lab and was willing to run  tests any time, day or night.

Still, Reeve must of liked the character, since she appeared in “The Royal Racket,” one of his last stories published in  his lifetime.


Born in N.Y. the author graduated from Princeton University in 1903 and went on to study law, but became a journalist. Inspired by a series of articles he wrote regarding science and detection, he created Craig Kennedy (“The American Sherlock Holmes”), by far his most popular creation, appearing in films, television and radio shows and even comic strips, far outshining such other creations as Guy Garrick or Clare Kendall. Granted, today Reeve is almost forgotten, and even an avowed fan on Amazon laments that “his characters are all cardboard, his dialog stiff, his plots mechanical and his style generic. He is also a complete chucklehead.”  Maybe, but during WWI he also helped establish a spy and crime detection lab in Washington, D.C.


  • “A Skirmish with the Occult” (May 11, 1913, Omaha Daily Bee)
  • “The Pearl Doctor” (June 8, 1913 , Omaha Daily Bee
  • The House of Cards (July 20, 1913, The San Francisco Call)
  • The Temple of Beauty (August 10, 1913, Omaha Daily Bee)
  • The Mystery of the Stolen da Vinci (November 14, 1913, The San Francisco Call)
  • “The Ear in the Wall” (1916, The Romance of Elaine)
  • “The Royal Racket” (January/February 1935, Complete Detective Novel Magazine #76)


  • Adventures of Clare Kendall, Woman Detective (1913)


Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith.

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