Steve Drake

Created by Richard Ellington

Broadway is my beat and murder is my business!”
— cover blurb from Shakedown

Over the course of five novels and a few short stories, former actor and G.I. and current Broadway wisenheimer STEVE DRAKE finds that private investigation may not be the nicest work in the world, but “it’s a living.”

One of the unfairly forgotten P.I. series of the late forties/early fifties, not as hard-boiled as Spillane, perhaps, but generally offering some good local colour, an appealing medium-boiled hero and some deftly plotted, satisfyingly complex mysteries. In fact, despite the usual tough guy trappings (wise-cracking, brandy-slurping, etc., plus check out that cover over there!) at times Drake seemed to be almost wandering into amateur sleuth territory, with Exit for a Dame (1951) in particular recalling an Ellery Queen impossible crime story.

Mind you, Ellery never served, and never charged $30 a day (plus expenses).


Richard Ellington worked in radio, both as a performer and writer, during and after World War II, and was the head writer for ABC’s The Fat Man (1946-51), “created” by Dashiell Hammett.  Ellington ended up running a hotel in the Caribbean. He also was one of the main scriptwriters for radio’s The Fat Man. Coincidentally, a “printer” named “Richard Ellington” co-edited (along with folksinger Dave Van RonkThe Bosses’ Songbook: Songs to Stifle the Flames of Discontent (1959) which was dedicated to J. Edgar Hoover.

I’m just sayin’…



  • “Fan Club” (April 1953, Manhunt)
  • “The Ripper” (August 1953, Manhunt)
Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. Thanks to David Nobriga for shaking my cage.

Leave a Reply