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University at Buffalo Libraries

George Kelley Paperback & Pulp Fiction Collection

Day of the Ram

cover image By: Gault, William Campbell (male)
Publisher: Bantam Books (1638/8)
Place of Publication: New York, NY
Catalog #: Kelley Box 836: PS3557 .A948 D39 1957
Contributor: K. Swiatek


Era: 1950s Author as on Cover: William Campbell Gault Geographic Locale: Los Angeles, California and environs; also Phoenix, Arizona Date of Publication: 1957  |  Original Date: 1956 Setting: urban; wealthy suburbs and middle-class neighborhoods in and around greater Los Angeles Motives: murder

Plot Summary

Brock Callahan, a retired football player (guard) for the Los Angeles Rams, is now a private eye investigating the shooting murder of the Rams current quarterback, Johnny Quirk. Mr. Quirk may have been approached by organized crime, specifically by gamblers who were trying to get a foothold into professional football. Mr. Joseph Quirk hires Brock to solve the murder of his son, Johnny.

Major Characters

Brock Callahan (nickname from his football career: "The Rock"), adult male, in his thirties or forties, of Irish ancestry, about 6 feet tall, weighs 220 pounds; retired football player now working as a private eye

Johnny Quirk adult male, tall, slim, mid-20s, weighs 171 pounds, quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams

Enrico Martino a.k.a. Rick Martin, adult male, handsome, fairly large, well-dressed, of Italian ancestry; a gambler and alleged pimp and producer of stag films

Jan Bonnett adult female, 30s, small, neat, Beverly Hills interior designer and sometime girlfriend of Brock Callahan; she has also casually dated Enrico Martino

Deborah Curtis adult female, mid-20s, medium height, slim, short black hair, dark blue eyes, former high school classmate and one of several girlfriends of Johnny Quirk

Patrick Curtis Pat, adult male, mid-20s, short, curly dark hair, dark blue eyes, Deborah's brother and former high school classmate of Johnny Quirk

Jacqueline Held "Jackie," adult female, voluptuous blonde, late 20s or 30s, actress wannabe, loose woman, "girlfriend" of Johnny Quirk

David Keene adult male, mid 20s, intelligent, bookstore owner and former classmate of Johnny Quirk

Joseph Quirk adult male, middle-aged, Johnny's father, millionaire, stocky, medium height, florid complexion, white hair, widower

Moira Quirk adult female, early 20s, tall, slim, dark red hair, gray-green eyes, Johnny's sister and aspiring actress

Dominic Peter Ristucci "Dom," adult male, second-string quarterback for the Los Angeles Rams promoted to starter after the death of Johnny Quirk, cousin of Enrico Martino

Lenny Hefner adult male, mid 40s, bald, blue eyes, becoming overweight, local hood involved with boxing and bookmaking run out of his Santa Monica bar and gym

Pug Hefner adult male, Lenny's brother, tall, muscular boxer with curly black hair on his arms and chest as well as his head

Manny Cardez adult male, dark hair in a crewcut, bartender and part-time professional welterweight boxer

Sergeant Gnup adult male, middle-aged, beefy, medium height, flat nose and a "womanly mouth," LAPD police officer working the Quirk case with Brock Callahan


fists, handguns, rifles

Level of Violence

several fistfights, murder by rifle shot and murder with poison


all the characters are likely heterosexuals, certainly the main characters are. Two minor characters are referred to as "queers." (p. 13) Most of the male characters have had several partners, and the same is true for a few of the female characters. This is not openly discussed, but is considered to be the way of things. There are no explicit sex scenes, but references are made to sexual incidents that have occurred in the past.

Gender Roles

for the females, all are described as attractive and most are viewed as sex objects to some degree. The male characters are depicted primarily as regular guys and generally a bit commitment-phobic. Most characters are not cut in obvious roles of good or bad, but are shown in shades of gray. This applies to both sexes.


all of the main characters are white, most of whose ethnicity is not discussed. There are two Mexican characters, both somewhat shady at the least, and one is openly regarded by a neighbor as a second-class citizen. The lone black character is a butler, occasionally referred to as a "negro servant" (p.17). One of the main characters has an Italian name that he has changed to be non-ethnic.

Alcohol/Drug Abuse

Brock likes to drink beer, but there is mainly social drinking and no drug use. Two of the characters comment that they are tee-totalers.

Law Enforcement

the local police are honest and fairly competent. They don't like or trust private eyes, and hinder Brock as much as they help him. The police are depicted as being very aware of politics and its pressures. They definitely know which side their bread is buttered on. Of course, it is the private investigator who ultimately cracks the case.

Added Features

the writing style is a fairly tough guy hard-boiled style, with an occasional humorous bit now and again.

Subject Headings

California - Los Angeles/ Murder/ Detectives, Private/ Mafia

Psychological Elements

the characters seem relatively normal, and while the heroes follow their own sense of fair play, the crooks will do almost anything to further their own ends.