The Phantom Detective was created shortly after The Shadow made his appearance and made his debut in February 1933. Phantom Detective stories were published until 1953. Several authors worked on the Phantom Detective. Most of the stories were published under the pseudonym "Robert Wallace". The actual authors included Edwin V. Burkholder, Norman Daniels, Anatole F. Feldman, Charles Greenberg, George A. MacDonald, Laurence Donovan and C. S. Montanye. The stories written by Laurence Donovan are highly regarded as among the best.
The Phantom (as he was called in the stories) was actually the wealthy Richard Curtis Van Loan. In the first few issues of the title, The Phantom was introduced as a world-famous detective, whose true identity was only known by one man. That man was Frank Havens, the publisher of the Clarion newspaper. The Phantom Detective is not to be confused with Lee Falk’s comic strip creation The Phantom. The Phantom Detective, The Spider, The Shadow and Doc Savage are by far the most popular pulp action heroes from the glorious golden age. The recent Altus Press trade paperback (shown below) reprints four outstanding Phantom stories by Laurence Donovan: The Thousand Island Murders, Death over Puget Sound, Murder Moon over Miami and Streamlined Murder.