Arthur Benjamin Reeve was born in Patchogue, New York, on October 15, 1880, the son of Walter Franklin Reeve and Jennie Henderson Reeve. Having been graduated from Princeton University in 1903, he attended New York Law School but never finished, preferring journalism instead.
Reeve became assistant editor of the magazine Public Opinion, contributing articles on science. On January 31, 1906, he married Margaret Allen Wilson of Trenton, New Jersey; they had three children, two sons and a daughter. He continued writing articles on topics such as politics, crime, science, farming, social conditions, and sports. In later years, he became a specialist in growing dahlias.
Reeve’s first Kennedy story was rejected by several magazines before being accepted by the editor of Cosmopolitan, where it appeared in the December, 1910, issue; this publication marked the beginning of a long series of monthly appearances of Kennedy stories in the Hearst magazines.
Fascinated with the technology of the motion picture, Reeve wrote a series of fourteen interconnected stories that became one of the most successful early silent film serials, The Exploits of Elaine (1914). It resulted in two sequels, for a total of thirty-six episodes. Reeve wrote screenplays for several other serials and features, including three starring Harry Houdini.
Although Kennedy was not as popular after the war, Reeve continued to find a market for him in the pulp magazines. In 1926, he published a Kennedy novel entitled Pandora, then turned his typewriter to the service of society with articles on crime prevention and a radio series on the topic in 1930-1931. In 1935, he covered the Lindbergh kidnapping trial for a Philadelphia newspaper.
Encouraged by the renewed interest in his character and a film serial based on his 1934 novel The Clutching Hand, Reeve wrote another Kennedy novel, The Stars Scream Murder (1936). It was Kennedy’s last case. Reeve died in Trenton, New Jersey, of complications brought on by an asthmatic and bronchial condition, on August 9, 1936.