Harry Stephen Keeler (1890 – 1967) was a prolific, half-mad but little-known pulp fiction writer best known for his completely nonsensical plots and generally odd way of writing.
His work includes examples of:
- Compound Interest Time Travel Gambit: In "John Jones's Dollar" a man deposits a dollar in a bank, stipulating that it and its accumulated interest are to be paid to "no other person than [his] fortieth descendant ... along the oldest child of each of the generations which would constitute his posterity". By the time the fortieth generation rolls around, the payout is greater than the total value of the combined holdings of the entire human race.
- Framed Clue: The mystery novel The Face of the Man from Saturn concerns a painting of a bizarre extraterrestrial. Someone breaks into the shop where this painting is stored, kills the owner, and then cuts the Saturnian's face from the canvas ... and steals this, leaving the rest of the portrait. The detective discovers that a message revealing the location of treasure is concealed beneath the portrait's face. But there were two copies of the painting, and the killer stole the wrong one.
- The Film of the Book: Sing Sing Nights to The Mysterious Mr. Wong.
- Mind Screw: Just read the resolution of X. Jones of Scotland Yard