As I’ve been telling anybody who’ll listen for nearly forty years now, one of my favorite paperback writers is Harry Whittington.  But this isn’t about him.  It’s about a friend of his, Day Keene.  Whttington and Keene shared an agent (Donald MacCampbell), which might explain why the two turned up so often at the same publishing houses, places like Phantom Books, Original Novels, Ace, Graphic, Pyramid, Avon, and of course Gold Medal. 

    Something else Whittington and Keene had in common was the ability to tell a story that hits the ground running and never lets up.  A case in point is Keene’s Take a Step to Murder (Gold Medal, 1959).  Here’s the opening paragraph:

    In the beginning God created heaven and earth.  In the beginning there were no Sputniks or Explorers.  In the beginning Kurt Renner had no intention of killing Kelcey Anders.  The thought never entered his mind.  He merely intended to use him.

    Renner is one of those guys who turn up in paperback originals fairly often. He’s returned to the town where he grew up (poor, of course) and now he’s about to make good.  He’s built a restaurant and motel right beside a new highway, and there are only two problems: the highway has been delayed, and he’s mortgaged to the hilt and a little beyond.  So he has a plan.  It’s not a good plan, and in fact the sexual nature of it is likely to be highly distasteful to modern readers.  (You have to wonder, in fact, just what readers thought of it in 1959.)

    He’s going to use Kelcey Anders, as the opening paragraph tells you, and that’s fine because Anders is such a louse that he deserves whatever happens to him.  But Renner’s going to use someone else, too, some who doesn’t deserve it, a woman named Tamara, who goes along with the seedy scheme because she loves Renner (hard as that may be to believe, considering his plans for her).

    Nothing ever goes right with schemes like these, as anybody know reads paperbacks knows, and Kelcey Anders does indeed turn up dead.  Just how and why is a little complicated, and the answers might surprise you just a bit, though there’s so much going on that you’re not likely to have time to think about them until later.  Which is just as well, as some of them are a tad implausible.  Not that there’s anything wrong with that.

    Harry Whittington never attempted a private-eye series, but Keene did.  He wrote two books about an L. A. based PI named Johnny Aloha for Pyramid Books.  (Whittington’s Pyramid novels included the soapy The Young Nurses and Nita’s Place, a southern political novel called Journey Into Violence, and the always popular on eBay Guerilla Girls.) 

    Keene’s two PI titles are Dead in Bed and Payola.  The first of these, Dead in Bed (1959), has some familiar elements, including the PI who’s big, tough, and irresistible to women.  Or maybe it’s just that all the women in the 1950s were, to use the parlance of the times, nymphos. 

    As Aloha’s client puts it as she “pressed her body and lips to [his], ‘What’s the use of fighting it?  I’m as sick that way as Mother is.’”  Sure, it’s hard to say that when your lips are pressed to someone else’s, but the women in 1950s paperbacks were nothing if not resourceful.  Besides, as Aloha points out, the words were “more of a moan than words.” 

    Moaning aside, Dead in Bed is a solid private-eye story, with Aloha looking for a missing woman with a seamy past, while dodging bullets, Chinese gangsters, and passes from beautiful babes.  OK, he doesn’t dodge all the passes, but he does find the woman and the solution to a couple of murders.  You might guess part of the solution, but you probably won’t be able to put the pieces together quite as neatly as Aloha does.

    Day Keene’s work was never less than professional, and it was always entertaining.  If you don’t have him on your TBR list of ’50s paperbackers, you should certainly put him there.

    This article first appeared in Mystery*File 41, mid-January 2004.


    US editions only.     * = listed in CFIV as having only marginal crime content.   pbo = paperback original.

This Is Murder, Mr. Herbert and Other Stories.  Avon #159, 1948.
    • If a Body Meet a Body.  Detective Tales, June 1946.
    • Sweet Tooth of Murder.  Dime Detective, June 1944.
    • This Is Murder, Mr. Herbert.  Detective Tales, Nov 1944.
    • With Blood in His Eye.  Detective Tales, Nov 1945.

Framed in Guilt.  M. S. Mill - William Morrow Co., hc, 1949. 
    Graphic #51, pb, 1952.
    Macfadden 60-234, pb, 1966., trade pb, August 2004.

Farewell to Passion.  Original Novels #712, pbo, 1951. 
    As The Passion Murders: Avon #684, pb, 1955.

Love Me and Die.  Phantom #504, pbo, 1951.      FOOTNOTE (1).
    Paperback Library 51-156, pb, 1962. 
    Manor 95287, pb, 1973.

My Flesh Is Sweet.  Lion #68, pbo, 1951. 
    Macfadden 75-243, pb, 1969., trade pb, August 2004.

*About Doctor Ferrel.  Gold Medal #254, pbo, August 1952.
    Gold Medal #617, pb, 2nd pr., 1956

Home Is the Sailor.  Gold Medal #225, pbo, February 1952.
    Macfadden 60-336, pb, 1968.
    Leisure Books (Hard Case Crime), pb, March 2005.

Hunt the Killer.  Phantom #507, pbo, 1952.
    Avon #705, pb, 1956.

If the Coffin Fits.  Graphic #43, pbo, 1952.

Naked Fury.  Phantom #509, pbo, 1952.
    Berkley D2020, pb, 1959.

To Kiss, or Kill.  Gold Medal #206, pbo, 1952.
    Macfadden 60-334, pb, 1968.

Wake Up to Murder.  Phantom #513, pbo, 1952. 
    Avon 660, pb, 1955.
    Berkley G258, pb, 1959.

Mrs. Homicide.  Ace D-11, pbo, 1953.   Paired with WILLIAM L. STUART Dead Ahead.
    Macfadden 50-271, pb, 1966.

Strange Witness.  Graphic #58, pbo, 1953.
    Macfadden 75-369, pb, 1970.

The Big Kiss-Off.  Graphic #75, pbo, 1954.
    Berkley D2003, pb, 1959.
    Macfadden 60-424, pb, 1969.

Death House Doll. Ace D-41, pbo, 1954.   Paired with THOMAS B. DEWEY Mourning After.

*His Father’s Wife.  Pyramid #138, pbo, 1954.
    Pyramid G226, pb, 2nd pr., 1957.

Homicidal Lady.  Graphic #87, pbo, 1954.
    Macfadden 75-359, pb, 1970.

Joy House.  Lion #210, pbo, 1954
    Lancer Double 72-628, pb, 1962.  Paired with MILTON K. OZAKI City of Sin.
Notorious.  Gold Medal #372, pbo, February 1954.
    Macfadden 75-466, pb, 1966?

Sleep with the Devil.  Lion #204, pbo, April 1954. 
    Berkley D2024, pb, 1960.
    Macfadden 50-414, pb, 1968.

There Was a Crooked Man.  Gold Medal #405, pbo, 1954. 
    Lancer Double 72-655, pb, revised, 1963.  Paired with Bring Him Back Dead.

The Dangling Carrot.  Ace Double D-129, pbo, 1955.    Paired with NORMAN C. ROSENTHAL Silenced Witness.
The Passion Murders, Avon #684, pb, 1955.  See Farewell to Passion, Original Novels #712, pbo, 1951.

Who Has Wilma Lathrop?  Gold Medal #494, pbo, June1955. 
    Lancer Double 72-633, pb, 1962.   Paired with Murder on the Side.

Bring Him Back Dead.  Gold Medal #603, pbo, September 1956. 
    Lancer Double 72-655, pb, revised, 1963.    Paired with There Was a Crooked Man.

Flight by Night.  Ace Double D-170, pbo, 1956.    Paired with LAWRENCE GOLDMAN Black Fire.

Murder on the Side.  Gold Medal #622, pbo, November 1956. 
    Lancer Double 72-633, pb, 1962.   Paired with Who Has Wilma Lathrop?

It’s a Sin to Kill.  Avon, pb, 1958.  See Dead Man’s Tide, as by William Richards, Graphic #60, pbo,1953.

Passage to Samoa.  Gold Medal #823, pbo, November 1958.
    Macfadden 50-384, pb, 1967.

Dead Dolls Don’t Talk.  Crest #286, pbo, April 1959.
    Macfadden 60-329, pb, 1968.

Dead in Bed.  Pyramid G448, pbo, October 1959.   [Johnny Aloha.]

Moran’s Woman.  Zenith ZB-24, pbo, 1959.
     Macfadden 50-358, pb, 1967.

So Dead My Lovely.  Pyramid G395, pbo, 1959.
    Macfadden, pb, 1968.

Take a Step to Murder.  Gold Medal #874, pbo, April 1959.

*Too Black for Heaven.  Zenith ZB-31, pbo, November 1959. 
    Macfadden 50-399, pb, 1967.

Too Hot to Hold.  Gold Medal #931, pbo, October 1959.

The Brimstone Bed.  Avon T-459, pbo, 1960.
    Macfadden, pb, 1968.

*Chautauqua [with Dwight Vincent]  G. P. Putnam’s Sons, hc, 1960    FOOTNOTE (2).
    Dell X5, pb, 1961.
Miami 59.  Dell 5598, pbo, October 1960.

Payola.  Pyramid G529, pbo, 1960.    [Johnny Aloha.]

Bye, Baby Bunting.  Holt Rinehart & Winston, hc, 1963.
    No US paperback edition.

Carnival of Death.  Macfadden 50-432, pbo, 1965.
*Chicago 11.  Dell 1198, pbo, November 1966.

*Acapulco G. P. O.   Dell 0019, pbo, 1967.    FOOTNOTE (3).

Southern Daughter.  Macfadden 50-376, pb, 1967.   See title as by Daniel White, Avon, pbo, 1953.

*Wild Girl.  Macfadden, pb, 1969.   See title as  by Lewis Dixon, Cameo #323, pbo, 1952.

*Live Again, Love Again.  Signet, pbo, 1970.  

     Crime Fiction as by Lewis Dixon:      FOOTNOTE (4).

*Wild Girl.  Cameo #323, pbo, 1952. 
    Cameo #335, 2nd pr., 1953.
    Cameo #369, 3rd pr., 1957.
    Reprinted as by Day Keene: Macfadden, pb, 1969.    

    Crime Fiction as by William Richards:
Dead Man’s Tide.  Graphic 60, pbo, 1953.
    Reprinted as It’s a Sin to Kill by Day Keene: Avon, pb, 1958.

    Crime Fiction as by Daniel White:

Southern Daughter.  Avon 547, pbo, 1953.
    Avon 750, 2nd pr., 1956.
    Avon 870, pb, 3rd pr., 1960.
    Reprinted as by Day Keene: Macfadden 50-376, pb, 1967.


Guns Along the Brazos.  Signet D3173, pbo, 1967. 
    Signet T5668, 2nd pr., pb, 1973.   (Reprinted at least seven times in all.)

  Science Fiction:

World Without Women [with Leonard Pruyn].  Gold Medal s975, pbo, 1960.
    Gold Medal L1504, pb, 1965.

   Other Fiction:

Seed of Doubt.  Simon & Schuster, hc, 1961.  “The explosive, shocking novel about artificial insemination.”
    Dell 7733, pb, 1962.

L. A. 46.  Dell 4606, pbo, 1964.  “The big explosive novel of a handful of strangers whose lives intertwined in a shattering moment of crisis and passion.”



    Allen J. Hubin, Crime Fiction IV

    Victor Berch, personal emails.

    Lynn Munroe, personal emails.


FOOTNOTE (1).  There is a story behind this book, and I will allow Lynn Munroe to tell it to you as he has told it to me:   
When I did a checklist for Gil Brewer, I interviewed Gil’s stepdaughter, who told me that when Gil died, he left a box of his own books, the books he had written (which they donated to the University of Wyoming library).  One of the books in Gil’s box was Love Me and Die by Day Keene. The story I was told was Gil had taken one of Day Keene’s pulp stories and expanded it into novel length.  It was supposed to be published as a collaboration, but as these things sometime happen, it was released under Day Keene’s name only.  Unfortunately, nobody in Gil’s family could tell me the original title of the pulp story.

FOOTNOTE (2).   Bill Pronzini points out that the Dwight Vincent who co-authored Chautauqua with Keene was Dwight V. Babcock, the pulp writer and author of the Homicide for Hannah books.   The book itself is a straight novel, he adds, set in the 20s, but it does have criminous elements.

FOOTNOTE (3).  Juri  Nummelin pointed out that this book was missing in an earlier version of the bibliography.  Indeed it was, but where should it go?  Al Hubin does not include it as even marginally crime-related in Crime Fiction IV.  But perhaps it is.  Here is a composite of Juris followup comments:   It clearly has criminous elements.  Im not so sure about the murder I thought was committed, with someone trying to find out who did it.  But there is a police officer whose daughter who is missing, and since we are in Mexico, the officer is crooked and deals cocaine.  Otherwise it’s a potboiler sex and romance novel.  I started this two or three years back, but for some reason or another –  it was entertaining alright –  I’m still on page 31.  So I can’t really tell.  Hope this still helps.
    There you are.  Judge for yourself.

FOOTNOTE (4).  This particular pen name is not included in the current edition of Crime Fiction IV.  Thanks  to Lynn Munroe for revealing it to me in an email I received from him last year.  The dates of the reprint Cameo editions are due to the detective work of the indefatigable Victor Berch.


    A couple of years ago, I started to identify the script writers of various episodes of the old-time radio (OTR) program, The First Nighter.  While looking for a folder I had on American Magazine for another project, I found the First Nighter folder.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that a fellow by the name of Gunard Hjerstedt had scripted some episodes.  Here they are, to be added to the Day Keene bibliography:

“Little Lost Lady,”  aired Feb 8, 1935.
“John Brown, Gentleman,” aired Feb 22, 1935.
“The Eternal Light,” aired May 10, 1935.
“Mountain Music,” aired March 20, 1936.
“Dear Aunt Lulu,” aired April 10, 1936.
“Preliminary Girl,” aired Oct 23, 1936.
“Star of Peace,” aired Dec 25, 1936.
“Last Curtain,” aired Jan 22, 1937.

    A log of the entire run for The First Nighter (1930-1953) can be found at Jerry Haeniges website, among other places.

    Another radio program that Keene (also as Gunard Hjerstedt) wrote at least one script for was Behind the Camera Lines, a Chicago-based program.  Here’s the one episode I know about:

“48 Hours to Live,” aired September 18, 1936.
    In Bill Pronzini’s run down on Day Keene in 20th Century Crime Writers, Bill hints at Keene’s soap opera writing days without mentioning any
    Following up on this, while perusing some of the copyright records, I’ve found out that one of the programs that  Keene was involved in was the soap opera Kitty Keene, Incorporated, about a female who runs a detective agency.  Keene was one of the scriptwriters from the get-go.  From Episode No. 1 through No. 410, he co-scripted the program with Wallace K. Norman, creator of the series.  After that, he was mainly by himself as scriptwriter.  The program ran from September 1937 through April 1941.  His name has showed up also as one of the scriptwriters for Little Orphan Annie radio shows.
    The Kitty Keene show aired quite a bit earlier than the dates given in the radio reference books, and I will have to pin that down.  More on all of this as time goes on, as I learn more.

THE PULP FICTION OF DAY KEENE: A Bibliography by Steve Lewis

    The first six stories that Day Keene wrote were published under his real name, Gunard Hjertstedt.  Once he switched and became Day Keene, he was off and running.  FOOTNOTE.  From that point on, for nearly twelve years in a row, he had a story published somewhere almost every month, and often two or three.  You can often tell from the titles what kind of stories these were, and if you can resist stories with titles such as A Corpse Walks in Brooklyn or Keep Out of My Coffin! then you are a stronger person than I am.

    I believe that all of Keenes fiction that appeared in the detective pulps is here.  Once in a while a story was reprinted, but to the best of my knowledge, only its first appearance is recorded here.  A big thank you to Monte Herridge, who pointed out that I had omitted the Hjertstedt stories in a previous version of this list.  They are now included.  Thanks also to Bill Pronzini, who added several stories from Argosy, Blue Book and Five Novels; to Richard Hall, who sent titles and dates for about twenty missing entries from Short Stories magazine.

    Keene also had stories appear in the western pulps, and I suspect that most of the stories still missing will have appeared in those magazines.   Pat Hawk has compared his list with mine, to our mutual advantage.  Any additions or corrections will, of course, continue to be accepted and acknowledged.  Please help if you can.

    Pioneers in researching these old magazines should also not be forgotten.  The late Michael L. Cook was a friend of mine, and his work in indexing and filing away information, long before computers came along, is gratefully acknowledged.

    Note: This bibliography is an ongoing project.   Recent additions are in bold face.
        As by Gunard Hjertstedt

“Pure and Simple” Detective Fiction Weekly, Oct 31, 1931.
“I Hadda Hunch” Detective Fiction Weekly, Nov 21, 1931.
“Excuse My Crust” Detective Fiction Weekly, Dec 5, 1931.
“Mr. Beaver, D. A,” Detective Fiction Weekly, Jan 30, 1932.
“Murder Mountain” Detective Fiction Weekly, Apr 16, 1932.
“Case of the Bearded Bride” Clues Detective Stories, May 1935.

        As by Day Keene

“It Could Happen Here!” Ace G-Man Stories, September 1940.
“Mr. Smith’s Flying Corpses” Dime Mystery, December 1940.
“Wake Up, America!” Ace G-Man Stories, January 1941.
“The Ghost of Cock Robin” Detective Tales, January 1941.
“The Human Equation” Detective Fiction Weekly, Jan 18, 1941.
“League of the Grateful Dead” Dime Mystery, February 1941.
“Danger! Dead Men! Detour” Detective Tales, April 1941.
“Those Who Die Laughing” Strange Detective Mysteries, May 1941.
“The Lady from Hellas” Detective Fiction Weekly, May 31, 1941.
“No Arrest, As Yet” Detective Tales, July 1941.
“Three Men from Hell” Dime Detective, July 1941.
“Captain Friday, Corpse Agent” Detective Tales, August 1941.
“Last of the Fighting Ainsleys” Ace G-Man Stories, September 1941.
“Your Adversary, the Devil” Blue Book, September 1941.
“Murder in Paradise” Dime Mystery, September 1941.
“The Island God Forgot” Strange Detective Mysteries, October 1941.
“Hook, Line and Sinker” Detective Tales, October 1941.
“Eight Who were Hanged” Short Stories, Oct 25, 1941.
“The Stars Say Die!” Detective Tales, November 1941.
“The Eternal Light” Five-Novels Monthly, November 1941.
“The Murder Frame” Thrilling Detective, December 1941.
“The Wages of Sin” Star Western, January 1941.
“Murder Bound” Detective Tales, February 1942.
“The Man Who Could Not Die” Five-Novels Monthly, February 1942.
“The Charlie McCarthy Murders, Detective Tales, March 1942.
“The Corpse That Ran Away” Dime Mystery, March 1942.
“Big Shot” New Detective, March 1942.
“Murder Is My Sponsor” Detective Tales, April 1942.
“A Slight Mistake in Corpses” Detective Tales, May 1942.
“Whose Corpse Am I?” Short Stories, May 10, 1942.
“Who Have Sown the Wind” Short Stories, May 25, 1942.
“Enter Pat Petunia” Big-Book Detective, June 1942.
“Till the Day You Die!” Ten Detective Aces, June 1942.
“Positively – the Final Appearance” 10 Story Mystery, June 1942.
“Cupid’s Corpse Parade” Dime Mystery, July 1942.
“The Mystery of Tarpon Key” Detective Tales, August 1942.
“The Corpse Confesses” Ten Detective Aces, August 1942.
“Keep Out of My Coffin!” Strange Detective Mysteries, September 1942.
“What So Proudly We Hail” Ace G-Man Stories, October 1942.
“Manana, Mug – Manana” 5-Detective Mysteries, Oct-Nov 1942.
“Blaze of Glory” Detective Tales, November 1942.
“A Hearse of Another Color” Dime Mystery, November 1942.
“The Widowed Brides of Cypress Key” Strange Detective Mysteries, November 1942.
“Murder C. O. D.” Short Stories, Nov 10, 1942.
“Satan’s Jackpot” Detective Tales, December 1942.
“My Lady of the Darkness” 10 Story Mystery, December 1942.
“Credit the Corpse” 5-Detective Mysteries, Dec 1942-Jan 1943.
“The Double-Crossing Corpse” Detective Tales, January 1943.
“Rhapsody in Blood” Dime Mystery, January 1943.
“Wings for the Dead” Short Stories, Jan 25, 1943.
“$10,000 Worth of Hell” Strange Detective Mysteries, January 1943.
“Wings for the Dead” Short Stories, Jan 25, 1943.
“Herr Yama From Yokohama” Ace G-Man Stories. February 1943.
“Killer in the Snow” Detective Tales, February 1943.
“Lie Down – You’re Dead!” Dime Detective, February 1943.
“Exam for the Dead” 5-Detective Mysteries, Feb-Mar 1943.
“Reunion on Murder Mountain” Detective Tales, April 1943.
“He Who Dies Last, Dies Hardest” Detective Tales, May 1943.
“Sauce for the Gander” Black Mask, May 1943.
“Letter to a Marine” Detective Tales, September 1943.
“Corpse at the Wedding Feast” Dime Mystery, September 1943.
“Murder – As Usual” Flynn’s Detective Fiction, October 1943.
“Murder by Short Wave” Detective Tales, November 1943.
“A Great Whirring of Wings” Dime Detective, November 1943.
“The Man from Hell” Dime Mystery, November 1943.
“Seven Against the Gods” Nov 25, 1943.
“The Corpse Exchange” Detective Tales, December 1943.
“The Female Is More Deadly” Dime Detective, December 1943.
“Blood on the Good Earth” Detective Tales, January 1944.
“The Man Who Came to Kill” Detective Tales, February 1944.
“This Will Slay You” Detective Tales, March 1944.
“Out of This World” Private Detective, March 1944.
“Corpses Come in Pairs” Detective Tales, April 1944.
“The Night Con Steager Died” Short Stories, Apr 10, 1944.
“A Hero for Hell’s Backyard” Detective Tales, May 1944.
“Hell’s Scarlet Flower” Dime Mystery, May 1944.
“Three Dead Mice” Flynn’s Detective Fiction, May 1944.
“Sweet Tooth of Murder” Dime Detective, June 1944.
“Boy Kills Girl” Flynn’s Detective Fiction, June 1944.
“Murder is GI” Dime Detective, July 1944.
“Brother, Can You Spare a Grave?” Dime Mystery, July 1944.
“Death Is My Bride” Flynn’s Detective Fiction, July 1944.
“Manhattan Murder-Go-Round” Detective Tales, August 1944.
“Murder – Straight Ahead” Flynn’s Detective Fiction, August 1944.
“Make Mine Murder!” New Detective, September 1944.
“Seven Keys to Murder” Dime Mystery, September 1944.
“The Farmer’s Daughter Murders” Detective Tales, October 1944.
“This Is Murder, Mr. Herbert!” Detective Tales, November 1944.
“Kraal of the Seven Rogues” Jungle Stories, Fall 1944.
“The Case of the Reluctant Corpse” Detective Tales, December 1944.
“South of Suez” Short Stories, Dec 25, 1944.
“Silent Smith and the Hounds of Death” Detective Tales, January 1945
“So Sorry You Die Now!” Dime Mystery, January 1945.
“Dead – As in Mackerel!” Detective Tales, February 1945.
“Star Light, Star Bright” Hollywood Detective, February 1945.
“Charlie Bull Fiddle Works It Out” Liberty, Feb 3, 1945.
“If the Coffin Fits–” Dime Mystery, March 1945.
“Help Wanted: Homicide” Argosy, March 1945
“Help! Help! Murder!” Short Stories, Mar 25, 1945.
“Dead on Arrival” Detective Tales, April 1945.
“Dance with the Death-House Doll, Detective Tales, May 1945.
“A Corpse for Cinderella” Dime Mystery, May 1945.
“A Corpse There Was” New Detective, May 1945.
“Or Would You Rather Be a Corpse?” Detective Tales, June 1945.
“Murder on My Mind” Detective Tales, July 1945.
“The Night I Died” Detective Story Magazine, August 1945.
“Nothing to Worry About” Detective Tales, August 1945.
“Spoilsmen on Safari” Jungle Tales, Summer 1945.

“Kill Me, Kill My Dog” Detective Tales, September 1945.
“Death-March of the Dancing Dolls” Dime Mystery, September 1945.
“A Corpse Walks in Brooklyn” Detective Tales, October 1945.
“Affair on Buzzard’s Island” Private Detective, October 1945.
“Pee Wee and the Nazi Ice Man” Short Stories, Oct 10, 1945.
“With Blood in His Eye” Detective Tales, November 1945.
“The Woman Who Wouldn’t Stay Dead” Dime Mystery, November 1945.
“A Minor Matter of Murder” Short Stories, Dec 25, 1945.
From the Halls of Montezuma Adventure, January 1946
“As Deep as the Grave” Detective Tales, January 1946.
“Carnage By Candlelight” Ten Detective Aces, January 1946.
“The Little Black Pig” Short Stories, Jan 10, 1946.
“The Female Is More Deadly” Short Stories, Jan 25, 1946.
“Three Queens of the Mayhem” Detective Tales, February 1946.
“Doc Egg’s Graveyard Reunion” Dime Mystery, February 1946.
“Thanks for the Jeopardy” Short Stories, Feb 25, 1946.
“Death Is My Shadow” Private Detective, March 1946.
“Kitten on the Corpse” Detective Tales, April 1946.
“One Night, One Spring” Good Housekeeping, April 1946.
“Red Rogue Killer” Jungle Tales, Spring 1946.
“Quietly My Hangnoose Waits” Dime Mystery, May 1946.
“Murder on My Mind” New Detective, May 1946.
“Education of a Fool” Short Stories, May 10, 1946.
“If a Body Meet a Body” Detective Tales, June 1946.
“Pardon My Corpse” Detective Tales, July 1946.
“Stay As Dead As You Are” Detective Tales, October 1946.
“Little Miss Murder” Detective Tales, November 1946.
“I’ll Be Seeing You” Dime Mystery, November 1946.
“Once Upon a Crime” New Detective, November 1946.
“Married to Murder!” Dime Mystery, January 1947.
“So Dead the Rogue” New Detective, January 1947.
“Come Seven, Come Slaughter” Detective Tales, April 1947.
“Death Comes Rustling” Short Stories, April 25, 1947.
“It Ain’t Hay, Brother!” Detective Tales, May 1947.
“We Are the Dead!” Dime Mystery, May 1947.
“Beaver, Beaver – One, Two, Three” Short Stories, June 10, 1947.
“Homicide House” Detective Tales, July 1947.
“Cats in the Night” Five-Novels Magazine, July-Aug 1947.
“Crawl Out of That Coffin!” Detective Tales, September 1947.
“A Better Mantrap” Detective Tales, October 1947.
“Fry Away, Kentucky Babe!” Detective Tales, December 1947.
“Hymie on the Spot” Detective Tales, January 1948.
“Eyes in the Night” New Detective, January 1948.
“No Grave Could Hold Him!” Dime Mystery, February 1948.
“Johnny Come Deadly” Detective Tales, March 1948.
“Deaf, Dumb, and Deadly!” Detective Tales, April 1948.
“For Old Crime’s Sake” Short Stories, Apr 10, 1948.
“No Match for Murder” Black Mask, May 1948.
“Marry the Sixth for Murder” Detective Tales, May 1948.
“Some Die Easy” New Detective, May 1948.
“Danny and the Big-Time” Detective Tales, June 1948.
“Thirteen Must Die!” Detective Tales, July 1948.
“Blonde Trouble in Nightmare City” Detective Tales, August 1948.
“An Eye for an Eye” Short Stories, August 10, 1948.
“Win, Place – or Die” Detective Tales, September 1948.
“Poor Little Murder-Girl!” Detective Tales, October 1948.
“The Lady Means – Die!” New Detective, November 1948.
“Corpse on Delivery” Dime Mystery, January 1949.
“Caught by the Camera” All-Story Detective, February 1949.
“Gun-Share” Fifteen Western Tales, February 1949.
“The Black Knight’s Errant” Blue Book, March 1949
“Homicidal Baby” Detective Tales, April 1949.
“Do You Take This Life?” New Detective, May 1949.
“Dead Men Do Tell Tales” Short Stories, May 1949.
“Knock Twice for Murder!” Detective Tales, June 1949.
“Beyond the Green Door” Dime Mystery, June 1949.
“The Death of You” New Detective, July 1949.
“Wait for the Dead Man’s Tide” Dime Mystery, August 1949.
“Three Graves Have I” New Detective, September 1949.
“Jungle Law at Satan City” 10 Story Western, September 1949.
“The Laughing Dead” Dime Mystery, October 1949.
“Fight or Run” Argosy, November 1949.
“She Shall Make Murder” Detective Tales, November 1949.
“Two Can Die” New Detective, November 1949.
“Remember the Night” Argosy, December 1949.
“Mighty Like a Rogue” Dime Detective, January 1950.
“I’ll Die for You” New Detective, January 1950.
“They Call It Murder, Honey-Chile” Detective Tales, February 1950.
“Old Homicide Week” Detective Tales, April 1950.
“Murder – Do Not Disturb” New Detective, March 1950.
“Killing Size” Fifteen Western Tales, March 1950.
“Claw Into Your Coffin” Dime Detective, May 1950.
“The Bloody Tide” Dime Detective, June 1950.
“Annie, Get Your Shiv!”  Detective Tales, June 1950.
“The Bloody Tide” Dime Detective, June 1950.
“White Night of Murder” Detective Tales, July 1950.
“If the Coffin Fits” Two Complete Detective Books, July 1950.
“Babes in the Morgue” Dime Detective, September 1950.
“Murder Stop” Famous Detective, November 1950.
“Death Lies Dreaming” New Detective, November 1950.
“Polly Wants a Killer” Dime Detective, January 1951.
“Each Man in His Time” Adventure, February 1951.
“Blonde and Bad” Smashing Detective, March 1951.
“The Cop and the Doll” The Phantom Detective, Spring 1951.
“The Passing of Johnny McGuire” 15 Story Detective, May 1951.
“Death in the Sun” Fifteen Western Tales, May 1951.
“Wild Noose Chase” 10 Story Western, June 1951.
“My Little Gypsy Cheap-Heart” Dime Detective, August 1951.
“Red Hands Is Love” Dime Detective, October 1951.
The Emancipation of George Appleby” Esquire, February 1952.
“Hard One” Western Short Stories, March 1952.
“Miracle on 9th Street” Thrilling Detective, April 1952.
“Swamp Scandal” Detective Tales, August 1952.
“The Man Who Died Four Times” Popular Detective, July 1952.
“How Deep My Grave?” Famous Detective, November 1952.
“Booty and the Beast” Private Eye, July 1953.
“Dead Dreams for Sale” Terror Detective, February 1957.
“The Geek Girl” Adam, October 1961.
“Dead in Bed” Mans Magazine, March 1962.
“For Old Crimes Sake” Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, December 1964.


  Victor Berch has a theory of how Day Keene came by this name.  His suggestion is that it was taken from his mother.  From the census records in 1920, he reports, she was known as Charlotte D. Hjertstedt, wife of Alfred Gunard Hjertstedt.  In the 1930 census, she is found to be Daisy J. Hjertstedt.   “I figure the family affectionately referred to her as Day (short for Daisy) and her maiden name was Keeney, as given on the California death record for Day Keene.  Makes perfect logic to me.”

    Day Keene’s son was also a writer.  This fact has been common knowledge, of course, among people who knew either Keene or his son.  But as Victor was looking into the Keene family’s background, he found Albert James Keene in the death notice above and serendipitously matched this up with the fact that the real name of Al James, author of many stories in the crime fiction digests in the 1950s, was actually
Albert James Hjertstedt.  And voila!  The pieces fit.

    UPDATE:  From Al Tonik comes the following confirmation of Victor
s conclusions:

The following is taken from an interview I had with Talmage Powell on November 14, 1987, in Asheville,
NC.  Also present was Nick Williams from Falls Church, Virginia.  It was published in Pulp Vault 5, June 1989.

Williams:   Can you relate a couple of good Day Keene and Robert Turner anecdotes?

Powell:  At one time in the Tampa Bay area we had quite a group of writers.  I mean full time pro writers.  There was Day Keene, Bob Turner, myself, Bill Cox, Gil Brewer, Harry Whittington, and John D. MacDonald.  We had some good times together.  Especially Day and Bob Turner.  They were lifelong friends.  It was with a great deal of pain that I witnessed their passing.  Day was about sixteen years
older than myself, but even so the age differential made no difference as far as friendship was concerned.

Williams:   What was Day Keenes real name and how did he get his pen name?

Powell:  Days real name was Gunard Hjertstedt.  When Day began writing for the magazines, he went up to the office of the editor who told him, “This name is absolutely impossible.  I would like to cover-mention this story, but I am not going to put that name on the cover of the magazine.  Why dont you pick out a good pen name to work under?”  On the spur of the moment, Day remembered that his mother's maiden name was Daisy Keeney.  Day thought to himself that “If I can't use my fathers name, I will use my mothers.”  He contracted her name to Day Keene.  That became his legal name.
    His son, Albert James Hjerstadt, is a writer and wrote under the name of Al James for quite a while.  He resides in Franklin, NC.  Al is involved in publications for recreational vehicles.

Al James has also since passed away.  According to Al Hubin, who was in touch with his widow, he died in 2001.


      Richard L. Bleiler, The Index to Adventure Magazine (Locus Press, CD-ROM, 2000)
      William G. Contento, The FictionMags Index.
      Michael L. Cook, Monthly Murder (Greenwood Press)
      Michael L. Cook & Stephen T. Miller, Mystery, Detective and Espionage Fiction (Garland Press)


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