Craig Kennedy

Professor Craig Kennedy is a character created by Arthur B. Reeve.


Kennedy is a scientist detective at Columbia University similar to Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Thorndyke. He uses his knowledge of chemistry and psychoanalysis to solve cases, and uses exotic (at the time) devices in his work such as lie detectors, gyroscopes, and portable seismographs.[1]

He first appeared in the December 1910 issue of Cosmopolitan, in "The Case of Helen Bond." He ultimately made 82 appearances in Cosmopolitan, the last coming in the August 1918 issue. Twelve stories were reprinted in the first collection, and this continued, but soon the stories were fixed up into a novel, and some were adaptations of movie serials.

He returned for many short stories in magazines as various as The Popular Magazine, Detective Story Magazine, Country Gentleman, Everybody's Magazine, and Flynn's, as well as in 26 novels. Through the 1920s, he became more of a typical detective. Craig Kennedy appeared in a number of 1930s pulp magazines, Complete Detective Novel Magazine, Dime Detective, Popular Detective, Weird Tales, and World Man Hunters, but many of these appear to be ghost-written as they lack the style and flavor of the teen-era Craig Kennedy stories. A series of six Craig Kennedy stories in early issues of Popular Detective are known to have been unsold novelettes rewritten by A. T. Locke.[2]


  1. The Silent Bullet (1910)
  2. The Poisoned Pen (1911)
  3. Constance Dunlap (1913)
  4. The Dream Doctor (1914)
  5. Guy Garrick (1914)
  6. The Death House (1914)
  7. The War Terror (1915)
  8. The Gold of the Gods (1915)
  9. The Exploits of Elaine (1915) adaption of movie serial
  10. The Social Gangster (1916)
  11. The Ear in the Wall (1916)
  12. The Romance of Elaine (1916) adaption of movie serial
  13. The Triumph of Elaine (1916)
  14. The Treasure Train (1917)
  15. The Adventuress (1917)
  16. The Panama Plot (1918)
  17. The Soul Scar (1919)
  18. The Film Mystery (1921) adaption of Houdini movie serial
  19. The Bacteriological Detective (1922)
  20. Craig Kennedy Listens In (1923)
  21. Atavar, the Dream Dancer (1924)
  22. The Fourteen Points (1925)
  23. The Boy Scouts' Craig Kennedy (1925)
  24. Craig Kennedy on the Farm (1925)
  25. The Radio Detective (1926)
  26. Pandora (1926)
  27. The Kidnap Club (1932)
  28. The Clutching Hand (1934)
  29. Enter Craig Kennedy (1935)
  30. The Stars Scream Murder (1936)


The character's name was spoofed in 1916 by Douglas Fairbanks, who played "Coke Enneday" in the cocaine comedy film and Sherlock Holmes sendup The Mystery of the Leaping Fish.

Herbert Rawlinson portrayed Craig Kennedy in the silent serial film The Carter Case (1919). Jack Mulhall played Kennedy in the serial The Clutching Hand (1936) for the Weiss Brothers, who also produced the 1951 television series called Craig Kennedy, Criminologist, which was based on the same character. Donald Woods portrayed Craig Kennedy in the television series.

See also


  1. ^ Peter Haining, The Classic Era of Crime Fiction. Prion Books, 2002. pp 73-74
  2. ^ "The Career of Arthur B. Reeve," by John Locke, introduction to From Ghouls to Gangsters: The Career of Arthur B. Reeve: Volume 2 (2007).

External links

Arthur B. Reeve

Arthur Benjamin Reeve (October 15, 1880 - August 9, 1936) was an American mystery writer. He is best known for creating the series character Professor Craig Kennedy, sometimes called "The American Sherlock Holmes", and Kennedy's Dr. Watson-like sidekick Walter Jameson, a newspaper reporter, in 18 detective novels. The bulk of Reeve's fame is based on the 82 Craig Kennedy stories, published in Cosmopolitan magazine between 1910 and 1918. These were collected in book form; with the third collection, the short stories were stitched together into pseudo-novels. The 12-volume Craig Kennedy Stories were released in 1918; it reissued Reeve's books-to-date as a matched set.

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The Clutching Hand

The Clutching Hand (in full, The Amazing Exploits of the Clutching Hand) is a 1936 15-episode serial produced by the Weiss Brothers based on the final Craig Kennedy novel of the 1934 same name by Arthur B. Reeve. A 70 minute feature film using a condensed version of the serial was also released in the same year.In it, the famous detective (portrayed by Jack Mulhall, who had portrayed the Black Ace in the serial The Mystery Squadron three years before) is assigned to solve the disappearance of Dr. Paul Gironda (Robert Frazer), a scientist who has developed a formula for synthesizing gold but vanishes before he has a chance to reveal it to his board of directors. It was the last Craig Kennedy serial and the only one to be filmed as a talkie. One of the criminals, Hobart, is played by Charles Locher, who is better known nowadays as Jon Hall, and it appears that Gironda is being held prisoner by Craig Kennedy's old foe, the Clutching Hand (a faceless presence apparently played by Bud Geary, an actor who was frequently cast in such roles, and voiced by Robert Frazer).

The Exploits of Elaine

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The Exploits of Elaine tells the story of a young woman named Elaine who, with the help of a detective, tries to find the man, known only as "The Clutching Hand", who murdered her father. The Clutching Hand was the first mystery villain to appear in a film serial. The concept was widely used for the remainder of the format's existence.

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