Want to Buy: Chicago Ledger and more!

I am hunting hundreds of newspaper issues.

morganwallace AT gmail DOT com

Chicago Ledger (1901-1923)
Illustrated Story Weekly (1923-1924)
Weekly Ledger (1924-1925)
Blade and Ledger(1925-1938)

I am interested in the following years.
Quote all issues.
I often buy spare copies as upgrades.

1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909,
1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919,
1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928,
1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1936, 1937, 1938

1918 03-23

Also collecting numerous other story newspapers, including the following titles:

Toronto Star Weekly
(Magazine Sections, 1920s-1940s)
Toronto Star Weekly
(Complete Novel, 1920s-1940s)
Montreal Standard
(Complete Novel, 1920s-1940s)
Fiction Magazine
(Saturday or Sunday edition, 1916-1918)
Literary Magazine Section
(weekly: 1909-1910)
The Illustrated Companion (monthly: 1915-1916)

Want to Buy: Chicago Ledger and more!

Manhunt Detective Story Monthly (April 1955)

Manhunt 1955 April The April 1955 issue of Manhunt Detective Story Monthly digest pulp magazine is a humdinger of fascinating fiction.

Quite personally, I am not an avid fan of Hal Ellson, and his short tale “Blood Brothers” does nothing to dispel that opinion. The story is typical of his juvenile delinquent writings. Bunch of outcasts in a neighborhood are ruled by the iron-fist cruelty of the local bully. When one of the nicer boys is beaten to a pulp by one of the bully’s buddies and his girl molested on a rooftop, his crippled friend comes to the rescue, offering up a solution. See, he has a cousin and he is simply crazy about wanting retribution against the bully, whom apparently owes him money. The three go down and butt heads with the bully, and the crazy cousin gives him the rough riot act and threatens more of the same unless he coughs up the dough. He gives him a deadline. Deadline comes up, they go for the loot, and the bully isn’t able to scrape it all together. Shit goes sideways, the crazy cousin ices the bully, the other two scatter to the four winds in fright. They later hook up. The cousin has been captured, sent to jail, but, he won’t talk. They get a bigger gang together of outcasts and reclaim their neighborhood, bit by bit. They even give the ex-girlfriend the treatment, whatever it may be, by the hands of the cripple. Rape? Who knows. Everything is coyly inferred. It’s annoying. By story’s end, the new gang is going to take on a rival neighboring gang that has flexed their might too far across the line….

Next story is the gruesome reality that you can do a lot of damage while drunk. In Bryce Walton’s “The Movers,” Susie’s husband awakens from a drunken stupor to find that his wife has finally left him, the bills are unpaid, and movers are coming to take away the possessions, barrels and trunks, and packed and ready to go. However, during a drunken rage, he apparently murdered his wife and stuffed her into a barrel, and the movers find her. All the while, he rages on and on that they can’t take their possessions, that his wife is coming back, clearly unaware that he was butchered his own wife….

The Day it Began Again” by Fletcher Flora proves that Flora doesn’t ONLY have to write cliche murder stories with someone drinking a cocktail or being rich, although, well, partially, in this case. Carlos is in prison as a serial killer and his best friend is trying to convince the lawyer to set him free, etc., that he didn’t commit the killings. Thing is, he did murder all those girls and, his friend knows this. See, he hid the evidence himself, and, as the lawyer noted, all the serial killings ceased once Carlos was put away. His friend realizes that they only way to add “doubt” to the court proceedings is for the murders to take up where they left off, in the exact same manner. So he digs out those hidden shoe laces….

The Meek Monster” by Edward D. Radin reads more like a true crime story than fiction. Oh, right, that’s because it is. Rather than my writing it up, read the Wiki stub instead, on serial killer John Reginald Halliday Christie.

Alphabet Hicks returns in yet another Rex Stout short, “His Own Hand.” Hicks is dead-tired, headed home, when he is met by an officer whom interrogates him as to his whereabouts with certain bodies potentially involved in a murder case. The officer asks him to elaborate and leave nothing out, even odd conversation bits, etc. In the process of rehashing the events, he begins to have a theory as to who the killer is, but does not inform the officer. Rather, later, he is phoned by the parties involved, to come over, and discuss matters. He comes, still sleepy, and proclaims that he can actually put the entire case to rest. He knows the murderer. They all scoff but it soon becomes no laughing matter once he latches onto one person in particular and forces a confession. Not a very interesting Hicks story, and certainly not Stout at his best, but, that’s a matter of opinion, right?

For my monetary investment, George Bagby’s “Mug Shot” was well-worth the spend. Once again following the adventures of Inspector Schmidt, author George Bagby tags along for the entire investigation. Schmidt, while pacing down a street waiting for Bagby, is mugged. His assailant escapes. Bagby snatches the license plate. Thus begins a wild and woolly crime adventure, lots of dick work, dead bodies cropping up, drugs, a love affair of sorts, a false front of money, and deceit. The 40+ page novelette is a scintillating reminder that not everything is as it seems.

Sam S. Taylor supplies “The General Slept Here.” No real brilliance to the story. Private Detective Neal Cotten is asked to investigate the disappearance of a young lady’s aunt. Only thing is, she’s a fraud. The niece, that is. The aunt has vanished, but tracking her down doesn’t prove too arduous a task. In the process, he receives the long-sleep treatment via a love-tap to the skull and awakens to find the man he was to meet, stone-cold-dead with an ice-pick in his spine. Unimaginative and overused murder devices aside, it’s obvious that the dear old lady’s bed has a false bottom and stolen loot is piled into this. A snoozer’s only redeemable value could have been enhanced if Cotten pushed the faux-niece down an open elevator shaft. Oh well….

The next-to-last tale is “Sylvia” by Ira Levin. Lewis Melton has cared and protected his irresponsibly naive daughter all his life, and broken up a divorce in which the young man was stealing her funds. However, unbeknownst to him, she’s still madly in love with this crook. He learns that she has planned a great escape, convincing her dad to go on a trip, and while gone, she sends the help away, and has wired her lover to meet her at the airport. He learns all this while digging through her drawer and also find a gun, loaded. He thinks the gun is to kill her ex-lover, but, in truth, she murders her father. Why? Insanity.

One more tale. “The Impostors” by Jonathan Craig is one of those creepier tales. Husband and wife, he’s an artist, and wakes up one day to realize his gorgeous wife has been replaced by an older woman and ugly. He can’t bare to look at her. He kills off this woman so that his young wife will return to him and then sees the same thing in the mirror. His younger self is gone and replaced by an older thing. They arrest him before he can kill this self, but he plans, while in prison, to kill that person and meet with his hot wife again. Clear case of insanity, again.

Manhunt Detective Story Monthly (April 1955)

“Dames Out of the Ring” by Hamilton Enterkin

Dames Out Of The Ring
Dames Out of the Ring (by Hamilton Enterkin)

Published by The Kaner Publishing Co., “Dames Out of the Ring” is told by fictional boxing trainer Aloysius to author Hamilton Enterkin. British Library shows that they received this undated booklet in 1948. Was the author a real person or the alias of the publisher? There was one Hamilton Enterkin born during The Great War and died 1996 in Plymouth, England.

This was essentially a vanity press, in that he (Hyman Kaner) published his own stories. He eventually released publications with various other authors.

The cover art, while unsigned, would appear to be the work of H. W. Perl.

This 64-page stapled booklet contains 9 short boxing stories:

03 – No Fury
10 – More Deadly Than the Male
17 – Mother’s Boy
24 – Golden Girl
31 – Witchcraft
38 – The Trimmer
45 – Error of Judgment
53 – The Greatest Charity
60 – The Ghost of Conway Hall

I wish that at least one of these stories was decent enough to report upon, but the fact is, and despite the ‘weird’ sounding titles to a couple, which certainly had my hopes up in the ‘weird’ genre direction, they are all truly general fiction tales.

No Fury” involves a boxer spurning the attentions of a girl whom is dead-set on marrying him. She brings in a man whom bested him in college and he clubs him through all the rounds purposely without knocking him, delivering a severe beating. Finally, she gives the OK to knock him off his heels. They end up marrying.

More Deadly than the Male” could easily have been the prior story (in title only). In this, a Parisian young lady makes like she is in love with the champion. They hook up; then, a man finally puts in an appearance and demands hush money or a fight to the death. Our champion is given time to learn the art of fencing, and, shockingly, he is quite adept at the art. He takes down his challenger, and they vacate Paris.

Mother’s Boy” is unique. It appears to be yet another ‘shake-down’ tale like the one above. A fictitious mother is created for the young boxer whom grew up in an orphanage, so that the trainers can keep the girls off him. At the end of each match or interview, he peels himself away, stating he has to get home to mother. Disembarking a ship from some foreign bouts, he walks ashore to the flashbulbs of the press and a woman rushes up claiming to be his mother! And it’s no real shake-down; she literally just wants to be taken in. Feeling the pressure, and realizing she can call the bluff, they let her tend house and she turns out to be just as good as her word! Her world comes crashing down when a villain from her past comes to blackmail the champion and recognizes her. Overnight, she packs all evidences of her living with the champion, and murders the villain! They go to set her free from jail but she claims to never have seen them before. In my opinion, this heartfelt story was the best in the booklet, and is worthy of being collected elsewhere, one day.

Golden Girl” involves a female moving up in the world to Hollywood and suddenly will have nothing to do with a lowly boxer. After some failed Hollywood romances, she tries to reinstate herself with the boxer, but he’s onto her and gives her the goodbye. Irate, she sets him against a tough, but the boxer knocks him down. Years pass, and the offended “tough” learns how to box and moves up in the world. Our boy has retired, and, Aloysius, our narrator, is confronted by the offended party from years’ past. He has a chronic condition, looks weak, and asks for a bout with the ex-champ, so he can get some money. They finally agree, and the deceit is learned, that the man is faking. He’s in excellent shape, while the ex-champ hasn’t trained in years! However, all the training in the world doesn’t prepare him for the fact that the champ is still a contender….

Witchcraft” involves a champion whom is, well, unbeatable. However, he meets his match in a contender whom should stand no chance in beating him. He becomes worried, informing Aloysius that the guy is weird and keeps staring at him. It comes about that he is a hypnotist, and while the champ is under, he is cleanly knocked out.

The Trimmer” involves a rail of a man entering the boxing world. His reps are taking in most of the proceeds, leaving him with barely 10%. He trims them by setting up dozens of fictitious names and playing the gambling odds under these assorted names. In the end, he cleans up to the tune of several tens of thousands of pounds. He ‘clipped the bookies!’

Error of Judgment” has a preacher placing a young man into Aloysius’ hands. He believes he can be freed from liquor, drugs, and the gangster rackets, by removing him from the city and putting him onto an honest career in boxing. It works for a time; he marries a very decent girl, but, he ends up firing his crew and Aloysius returns to the church and lies about the kid’s condition. Eventually, the wife approaches them with a black eye and the pair go to the rescue, only to learn that the kid is beyond redemption.

The Greatest is Charity” involves a champ going the rounds and due to lose, but his wife spikes the contenders sponge with chloroform, and our hero knocks him out. A simple, boring tale.

The Ghost of Conway Hall” is merely two jerks playing a practical joke on a boxer, digging up the ancient family curse of a haunted portion of the building. Unable to avoid the call of being called a ‘chicken,’ he gamely accepts the challenge to stay the night in the haunted room, in which a death reportedly in the past, has occurred….

“Dames Out of the Ring” by Hamilton Enterkin

WANT TO BUY: Chicago Ledger newspapers

I am hunting hundreds of issues of a newspaper
that changed names a few times in the 1920s.

Chicago Ledger (1901-1923)
Illustrated Story Weekly (1923-1924)
Weekly Ledger (1924-1925)
Blade and Ledger(1925-1938)

I am interested in the following years.
Quote all issues.
I often buy spare copies as upgrades.

1901, 1902, 1903, 1904, 1905, 1906, 1907, 1908, 1909,
1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, 1914, 1915, 1916, 1917, 1918, 1919,
1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928,
1929, 1930, 1931, 1932, 1933, 1936, 1937, 1938

This illustrated story paper predominantly reprinted fiction
from popular novels, magazines, and other newspapers.
It was distributed all across the United States and in Canada.

Please feel free to contact me anytime.
These are permanent wants I’ve been collecting for many years.

WANT TO BUY: Chicago Ledger newspapers

2015 September 29 “The Helioplane” by Stanley Gray

I’m going to delve into an area I honestly know nothing about…the English “Penny Dreadful.”
No, not the television series, which is about as annoying as a movie entitled “Pulp Fiction.”
Don’t get me started….

Generally, I shy away from these for the simple fact that I predominantly collect 1940s through 1950s British fiction booklets and digests (and occasionally, yes, some pulps).

I made the exception when approached by an Aussie clearing out a family estate. He had a handful of interesting items that fit my interests, and, this one science fiction penny dreadful in the mix, too. Was I interested? Vaguely. After some discussion, I asked if the booklet was complete.

Cover? Yes.
Rear cover? Yes.
Firm binding? Yes.
No missing pages? No.
No missing text? No idea, it’s wrapped and I rather not open it to look that closely.
Fine. I’ll take the chance.

It arrived, and damn it all, the original owner had it in plastic wrap. I find this to be extremely annoying, especially for fragile items. After very carefully removing the Saran wrap, I found that the worst was yet to come. Let’s repeat the above questions with my new answers….

Cover? Present, but detached.
Rear cover? Entirely missing (son of a bitch!)
Firm binding? Hardly. Very brittle. Splitting. Pages parting.
No missing pages? Aside from the rear, no.
No missing text? All text concerning the story is present. (phew!)

You get the general idea. This is nothing new for those dealing with and collecting penny dreadful items. This item is printed on pulp paper. It simply was not designed to survive. A cheap read, and in the trash bin or consumed as fire kindling.

Without further ado and boredom from my blathering, let’s move on, shall we?

The Helioplane

THE HELIOPLANE: The Story of a Voyage to the Planets
Publisher: James Henderson & Sons
Address: Red Lion House, Red Lion Court, Fleet St., London
Series: The Nugget Library # 223
Date: undated (1912)
Page Count: 56 pages
Price: 1d
Cover artist: unknown
Author: Stanley Gray

This is the “1st” incarnation of the Nugget Library series, running 330 issues, from 1907-1916. This issue was printed 1912 (per Robert Kirkpatrick, authoritative penny dreadful researcher in collaboration with the British Library archives). A second series resurfaced after The Great War, spanning 1919-1922 (70 issues).

Whether “The Helioplane” is a reprint or not is unknown (to me).

The story opens discussing an article published recently in the 21st of June, 191- issue of the Physicist, in which a Professor Norton Colby discusses the term absolute zero. A future issue contains a vehement reply by a Professor Gama Mese noting the absurdity of Colby’s claim that helium, in being reduced to absolute zero, would deny the laws of Earth’s gravitational pull and allow one to leave the planet for space and beyond.

The truth is that both professors are working along similar lines and that Mese simply wished to derail Colby’s thought processes. Sadly for him, Colby is the more brilliant (though vastly underfunded) of the two, and managed to eke ahead of Mese in the space-race. Having completed his vessel, he invites Mese (and his son, whom is a schoolmate of Colby’s nephew) out to view his machine. Mese, irritatingly, accepts, after shredding the letter to pieces.

On arriving, they are treated pleasantly by the Colby’s, for they are at heart good people. They misjudge the Mese’s kindness and all board the vessel. Mese is startled to discover that the mechanic is Bennell, an ex-convict. The association between Mese and Bennell is never exploited, however, it is clear that both know each other.

Mese and son, prior, had arranged a secret signal to handicap the vessel. The boy falls onto a device and the vessel is in ruin, or, Colby is in financial straits. The latter becomes the case and the boy clumsily falls and releases the helium, sending them all hurling immediately into outer space. Mese arranges to blackmail Colby, forcing him to sign off against his discovery. He has no choice. It would take a financial miracle to re-accumulate the helium necessary, and Mese, he is quite funded. Bennell takes matters out of Colby’s hands by smashing the lever to return to Earth and sends them all hurling away.

Within 3 days (yes, the writer said “three days”) they arrive on Mars. Add to that speedy fact that the atmosphere is breathable and there is some forms of edible vegetation, and you have a true miracle in science fiction. Here, the story becomes a pure boys’ yarn.

Infuriated by the Mese’s attempts to waylay them upon landing, they exile the pair to Mars, sending them in one direction, while Bennell and the Colby’s explore the opposite direction. While exploring, they find vegetation that is edible and take wholeheartedly to eating up the sweet foods, and inadvertently up pops a Martian from under one of the large leafy plants. It is kindly-looking and very unintelligent, with wings, and it flies away. They are soon surrounded by a swarm of these shiny winged beings (described as a “cherub-like youth) and an airship arrives. (The deck of this monster airship, though it was like no earth-conceived dirigible in its proportions or mode of flight . . . in the centre of the ship was a clear space, raised like a dais, upon which stood the leader of all).

They soon delve into a language readily understood by one another (how convenient!) and the leader, Magna Protog, notes that they knew of their arrival. It is soon discovered that the Protogs have what equates on Earth as a “seer” among their people.

The tale then delves into the politics of the planet and thus the Colby’s learn that the evil Mese pair had walked in the direction of the villainous Martian, cannibalistic encampment. Fearing the worst, they visit the seer and discover that the Meses have worked their way into the inner confidence of the Molu, and are planning murder against the Protog base and to slaughter the Yahbi (these were the densely unintelligent cherub critters first met on Mars and a favorite delicacy for the Molu to feast upon, since they have zero combat skills).

The next couple dozen pages details combats and massive frays and butchery. The Molu murder hundreds of Yahbi in spikes and fly away with their impaled food. Worse, a Martian storm later destroys much of the Protog base and buries their airship which boasts their powerful lightning weapon, which in description, appears to harness the power of lightning in the form of an incinerating laser beam.

In the final battle, the Yahbi realize that they are soon to be eradicated and suddenly, from deep within their inner being, a cry of war and survival bubbles to the surface. They fight back! What’s more, the Colby’s discover that the violent Molu bullies are easy to fight. They lack fighter skills. They are used to flying in and impaling with no resistance, to the point that they really have no idea how to combat.

To their dismay, they learn that the Meses have taught the art of steel blades to the Molu. The fight become bloody quickly, but sheer Yahbi numbers turn the fight in their favor, before they discovery that Mese has directed a full assault on the base from another direction. The first assault was a blind!

The fighting Yahbi battalion is formed into a British combat “square” formation and rebuff the secondary attack, engulfing the Molu from all sides. The fleeing Molu pour into the Magna Protog fortress (which was originally created by the Molu) and seek respite there. The building is ringed by the last of the fighting Yahbi. None dare enter.

Then, like a futuristic Fanthorpian novel, the Protog airship is uncovered, functional, and the weapon aboard ready for action. Those necessary for flight board, with Norton and Will Colby and the mechanic, Bennell, to fly up above the storm-ruined fortress, and offer the Mese pair a final ultimatum. Mese senior accepts, while his son reposes at his feet in a dead faint. He begs them to lower the airship, so that they may safely depart the crumbling structure.

In a continued action of deceit, Mese makes his last play at revenge, attempting yet again to murder Norton Colby! Two shots ring out from Gama Mese’s revolver, in a treacherous play to bring down Colby and the Magna Protog. Apparently, Mese is the worst shot both on Earth and Mars, and in retaliation, Magna Protog unleashes the blinding power of the ship, a secondary secret weapon.

The air round about burnt and scorched with the same living blue flame
which had lit up the interior of the helioplane during the progress of the
great electrical cyclone. But this time the flame did not dart about in
different directions. Instead, it flew forward like a bullet out of a cannon.
Forward it flew, and downward, carrying with it the seared bodies of every
Molu who had taken wing from the golden dome.

Then the blast ripped into the domed structure and . . . there was no more. The structure was as of dust, obliterated, and all inside and flying about, gone forever. The Meses were no more. There was no trace of their remains. Nor would there be.

The trio board their airship and the Magna Protog bid them farewell, and perhaps, one day, they might again come to visit their planet, Mars.

2015 September 29 “The Helioplane” by Stanley Gray

2015 Sep 7: Creasey Mystery Magazine # 6 (February 1957)

It is always a treat to read a vintage crime magazine, and there are literally thousands to choose from. Thankfully, I neither have thousands, nor do I possess a hundred, since I am not a collector of crime stories, necessarily, though they, in part, mysteriously, manage to convey their presence into my household….

It all began over 15 years ago, when, 20 years ago, I began to collect the Dalrow published PHANTOM magazines (1957-1958). There were 16 issues, and the cover art was rendered by R.W.S., whom, at the time, was a complete unknown entity to me. The art was crude, to say the least, but, got better and more interesting. That said, I decided to collect the Creasey Mystery Magazine issued by Dalrow, too.

The first three issues of CMM do not feature artwork, sadly enough. The remaining 9 issues do, and, much to my dismay, after I had completed the set, I found that # 13, under the new publishers, featured a commissioned R.W.S. cover left over from the Dalrow outfit. Well, shit, I just HAD to have THAT issue, right? So, yes, I have the first 13 issues of this rare publication.

Bizarrely enough, the original index on this magazine showed that half the stories were reprints, and the remainder likely reprints or originals, but, nobody knew. So I took the 13 under my wing and worked toward indexing them proper for FictionMags Index site, many years ago. That was good fun. But, I still had not read the damn magazines!!!

Recently enough, I did read the first issue and posted my thoughts on Facebook, but, it didn’t elicit much reaction. Why? Well, I found it rather irksome, to say the least. Naturally, it dawned on me that most people had not read these stories, and the market is simply very niche. Bleh!

Well. Screw it. I have finally got around to reading a second issue, because I found it on the shelf after unpacking a box, to be a spare copy! Took a peak, and the author contents, as usual, were made of solid stuff. So, without further ado…

Creasey MM Feb 1957

The least story is a novelette by Creasey himself, “The Toff Beside the Sea.” It’s unclear whether the story is a new or reprint, since Creasey had been known to supply fresh material. The Toff is at Bournemouth, on an insurance assignment, when he spots murderer Slick Orde nab a beautiful young lady. He pursues them, only to be tossed over the side of a bridge. He survives by clutching at a rope and local police arrest the man, given to be one Henry Orde. Nothing further is given to us on Henry, insofar as relationship to Slick. As the tale progresses, we learn that the girl is in the influence of Slick via blackmail, and that he is working an illegal trade in diamonds. An irremarkable tale, to say the least.

Reprinted is “The Stymphalian Birds,” by Agatha Christie. Original source unknown, but reprinted in America’s This Week magazine (Sep 1939). The The Labors of Hercules stories were aired in 1938, clearly indicated this and the other Hercules Poirot stories were published much earlier. In fact, the earliest I can trace, is 1923. Here, Poirot enters the story late to wrap up a plot involving blackmail and a pair of birdlike Polish women that seem sinister to the eye.

“Matter of Habit” by Peter Cheyney is a Jeremy Jones tale, involving the theft of a gem. Jones enters the police department and earns himself a modest reward for discovering the location of the stolen gem. Simple story of theft and deceit. Original source of publication unknown, however, it has been found syndicated as early as 1940.

“Sense of Occasion” by Hugh Maxwell Lowe is a tale of love and the traitorous relationship between two old friends, ruined by an absurd escape.

In “Budding Sleuth,” Herbert Harris has the protagonist at a dance club (likely a “gentleman’s” club) waiting to hook up with his gal, another dancer, when a theft is performed. His lady is caught in the cross-hairs of accusation when the police arrive to investigate. But our nameless hero has other ideas, in a 3-page vignette that originally was published in The (London) Evening Standard, 28 July 1954.

Victor Bridges’ “White Violets” is an excellently contrived story full of fun, light suspense, and action. The story, whilst very much dated (it appeared five decades earlier in Harmsworth Red Magazine, 15 Jun 1915) holds up excellently, as it is a simply told tale of two friends, the need for one to raise funds for an “idea,” and the other, Jimmy is a doctor. While discussing means to raise funds, Jimmy teases his friend into solving a cipher printed in the newspaper. In unraveling the cipher, their curiosity is peaked to the point of following the instructions to the countryside, following a stranger, and uncovering a nefarious plot involving a father and his lovely daughter.

“Purple Postcards” by Stuart Palmer. It was actually this story that coerced me into reading this particular issue. Several years ago I was approached by another fan asking me to scan the story so that they could reprint it, and yes, I did. I never heard from them again. The story possibly originated in 1939, source unknown, and stars Miss Hildegarde Withers to the rescue. Unfortunately for her, she needs rescuing herself, when she unwittingly walks in on the killer….

Bruce Graeme supplies “Negative Clue” in one of his thieving Blackshirt tales. When Blackshirt, burglar extraordinaire, slips into the home of a rich citizen (whom is away) he finds that his information was erroneous. The owner of the house his home, but far from alive, and the killer just took a photo of Blackshirt kneeling over the corpse…

“Lady at Bay” by John Marsh is a simple tale of a fellow spotting a crying girl and like a sap, he follows her and inadvertently spares her the agony of paying blackmail money to hoodlums threatening to reveal her inappropriate ex-marital affair that actually never came to fruition. Thankfully, our hero is literate and remarkably keeps abreast of current events in the newspaper, revealing that her husband died earlier while she was out and about trying to get the required funds together, freeing her of her obligations to pay the creeps. And, our hero thinks, potentially allowing him to one day ask her out, on a date….

Happy Killing !!!



2015 Sep 7: Creasey Mystery Magazine # 6 (February 1957)

2015 August 31: “Killer’s Breed” by Bruff Curfew

Killer's Breed

This pseudonym is reputed to be the alias of N. Wesley Firth, but I sincerely doubt that Firth concocted the absurdities within. (At least, I hope that he wasn’t the only person utilizing this alias).

When Len Lannigan’s father, Jake, is maliciously stabbed to death with a Bowie, he discovers his father’s hoard of cash missing. Upon cleaning the blade and hilt, he finds an engraved name, and thus begins a ridiculous trek all over tarnation, following lead upon lead. Essentially, the blade changed hands through deaths and card games, etc., and it eventually comes down to that Jake’s friend, Breezy, whom keeps Len company throughout the entire hunt, is the murderer, which was entirely clear from the get-go. An awful plot-line that lends no credit to the action-packed cover art of a roped man with two revolvers in hand.

If all Bruff Curfew titles are by Firth, well, this is the worst example of all his Western output.

2015 August 31: “Killer’s Breed” by Bruff Curfew