Gang Shorts: 3rd Collection
Printed 1945 in England, by Gerald G. Swan.
Published double column, on 36 pages.
Cover price: 7d.
The booklet is comprised of:
- Black Huntress by Norman C. Pallant
- Honi Soit… by G. H. Lister
- The Broken Window Cord by Ronald Horton
- Sadie Gets Her Story by Stella Dene
- They Always Get Theirs by Leslie Bussey
- Roast Beef? Take it Away! by Preston D. Olsen
- Limited Risk by G. H. Lister
The lead story is Norman C. Pallant’s “Black Huntress.”
Public Enemy No. 1 “Joe Conner” has made a name for himself, making money and slaying his enemies. He thinks his life is 100% positively secure, until a dame in black begins a cross-country chase. Believing her to be the widow of a man he wiped out years ago, he flees to further recesses of the country, and always, he finds her there. While attempting to vanish, he holds up a bank, and, who should walk in but the dame! Pushing his gat into her chest, he threatens to kill her and run with the goods, but the bank teller pumps him full of lead. In conclusion, the police interrogate the woman in black, only to learn that she is an autograph hound!!!
Norman Charles Pallant was born 14 February 1910
in the Hitchin district, died the end of 1972, in the
Haringey district. His literary output, as follows:
- Black Huntress (ss) Gang Shorts #3 1945
- The Lost Key, (ss) Fantasy, The Magazine of Science Fiction Aug ’47
- The Three Suns, (ss) Fantasy, The Magazine of Science Fiction Aug ’47
- It’s a Lovely Morning, (vi) Weird and Occult Miscellany, 1949
- The Best Policy (ss) Scramble Feb 1 1950
- Martian Mandate, (ss) Science-Fantasy #2 ’50
- No Return (pm) Everybody’s Weekly Jan 26 1952
- Fair-Weather Friend, (pm) Punch
- In the Dark Temple, (vi) Weird and Occult Library #1 ’60
- The Incredible Awakening, (ss) Weird and Occult Library #3 ’60
Up next is “Honi Soit…” by G. H. Lister.
Montgomery Smith is an Englishman whom has outlived his usefulness as a swindler of his own countryman. Relocating to the United States, he quickly administers thievery and lies, and builds up a rapid reservoir of cash. Looking for bigger game, he convinces a man to pay him an immense amount of dollars, and in return, Smith coughs up a family heirloom, a sword, that when possessed gives the owner the title of an English gentleman. Desiring to be a Lord, the American readily agrees. Smith goes out to a shop, buys an old sword, has a fake certificate created, and the whole process is complete. Things go rapidly wrong when a pair of criminals hold them up for their hard-earned cash. In the process, Smith ends up with the dame, whom is convinced he really is a wealthy Englishman. Fleeing America with the toots, he begins to work on a plan to unload the broad….
Gordon H. Lister was born 1914 and died 1996.
His output seems limited strictly to Swan publications:
- Circumstantial Murder (ss) Gang Shorts #1 1944
- Quick on the Draw (ss) Gang Shorts #1 1944
- Murder at Four (ss) Crime Shorts #2 1944
- “Honi Soit…” (ss) Gang Shorts #3 1945
- Limited Risk (ss) Gang Shorts #3 1945
- Dollar Exchange (ss) Crime Shorts #4 1946
- Double Alibi (ss) Detective Shorts #2 1946
- Lunchtime Murder (ss) Thrill Shorts #1 1946
- It Had to Be Murder (ss) Detective Shorts #4 194?
- Greek Tragedy (ss) Scramble May 12 1950 [Martin Speed]
- The Chance of a Lifetime (ss) Scramble May 19 1950 [Martin Speed]
Ronald Horton supplies “The Broken Window Cord.”
Ray Lester is gonna hang for attempted murder. But investigator ‘Dad’ Morgan literally finds “holes” in the botched murder scene, and a loose cord in a trunk drilled with air-holes seals the real killer’s fate!
Ronald Harcourt Horton was born Qtr 2, 1902 in the
Solihull district, and died 1987.
While his output appears limited, I suspect he sold stories
to numerous rural newspapers throughout the country.
He also turns in various boys’ annuals.
- The Broken Window Cord (ss) Gang Shorts #3 1945
- The Obstinate Man (ss) Detective Shorts #2 1946
- The Hooded Cape (ss) Detective Shorts #1 1946
- Glass Houses (ss) Affinity Jun 1947
- “You Gotta Take a Chance Son” (ss) Western Album 1947
- The Green Buddah (ss) Detective Casebook Feb 1948, uncredited.
- Side Issue (ss) Detective Casebook Feb 1948, uncredited.
- Diet for Ducks (ss) The Citizen (Gloucester) Feb 2 1949
- Mr. Pettigrew’s Secret (ss) The Citizen (Gloucester) May 11 1949
- Policemen Sometimes Laugh (ss) The Citizen (Gloucester) Sep 27 1949
- Cause for Alarm (ss) The Citizen (Gloucester) Nov 1 1949
- The Eye of the Needle! (ss) Scramble Nov 1949 [Dad Morgan]
- It Comes Off Sometimes (ss) Detective Shorts #4 194?
- Fletcher’s Next Job (ss) The Citizen (Gloucester) Mar 1 1950
- Louder Than Words (ss) The Citizen (Gloucester) Mar 14 1950
Stella Dene supplies “Sadie Gets Her Story.”
Blonde bombshell newsgirl Sadie is handed the assignment of bringing back to her paper a real humdinger. While investigating a young man whom appears to be cozying up unflattering-like with the local mob enforcers, Sadie inexplicably finds herself kidnapped, in a case of mistaken identity! While trying to find a means of escape, she contacts her boss and reveals the secret location of the Bronx Gang. The place is raided and she is rescued, in what is otherwise a fairly weak story.
The identity of “Stella Dene” is murky.
What is known is that she (or he?) wrote a handful of
girls’ short stories for the various Swan publications.
- Sadie Gets Her Story (ss) Gang Shorts #3 1945
- The Prize-Winner (ss) Affinity Jan 1947
- Great Snakes (ss) Girls’ Fun May 1 1947
- Lonely Lindy (ss) Girls’ Fun May 1 1947
- Stuffin Burns His Paw (ss) Girls’ Fun Bumper Number 1948
- The Silent Watcher (ss) Affinity Feb/Mar 1949
- Have You Seen Clementina (ss) Girls’ Fun (New Series) Jul 1949
- Kathy at St. Gertrude’s (ss) Girls’ Fun Book 1950
Up next is “They Always Get Theirs” by Leslie Bussey.
Lefty leaves his entire life fortune and business to two ex-criminals, whom find themselves currently booted from Lefty’s business by hardier gangsters. Forced out with the option to LIVE or DIE, they choose to live. But, when they receive a copy of the Will, they find themselves in possession of a coded message, that, when deciphered, reveals that the business is a time-bomb, and, if not reset on a regular basis, the entire premises will explode. It does, and takes out all of the criminals in on the initial plot to wipe out Lefty. And the pair of heirs? They play is straight, open and operate a drive-in!
Leslie Bussey’s works appear to be “almost” exclusively
attached to the Swan outfit. Due to the common nature
of his namesake, his birth and death years are unknown.
He also contributed to Swan’s “Detective Album, 1947” and
the “Crime Album, 1947.” I’m not sure about the 1946 editions.
- They Get Tough Sometimes (ss) Vengeance Shorts #1 1945
- They Always Get Theirs (ss) Gang Shorts #3 1945
- Perfect Murders Go Wrong (ss) Murder Shorts #1 1946
- Account Settled (ss) Crime Shorts #4 1946
- Fiend of Fifth Avenue (ss) Gang Shorts #4 1946
- Week-End at “Green Gables” (ss) Detective Shorts #2 1946
- Out of the Night (ss) Western Shorts #5 1946
- A Matter of Time (ss) Thrill Shorts #1 1946
- Haunted By a Memory (ss) Faithful Confessions #1 1947
- The Silver Monoplane (ss) Scramble Dec 1947
- The Duke in Danger (ss) Scramble Feb 1948
- The New Skipper (ss) Scramble Feb 1949
- The Strange Case of the Young Doctor (ss) Detective Monthly #3 195?
- Green Eyes for Evil (ss) Weird and Occult Library #1 ’60
- The Dead Sometimes Talk (ss) Detective Thriller Library #2 1960
Preston D. Olsen’s “Roast Beef?–Take It Away!” is without meaty substance.
Two thieves snatch a diamond studded ladies’ accessory, break it apart, and hide the diamonds inside a golf ball. Fleeing America in order to sell the diamonds on the black market and avoid another criminal whom is onto them, they find themselves on the short end, crossing an English pasture and pursued by a bull. When the bull smacks the rump of the man possessing the diamonds, he finds himself lacking his own inherited family jewels. Discerning that the bull must have swallowed the bling, they purchase the bull and have it shipped back to America, to be slaughtered. The joke is on them; no golf ball, no jewels. Later, a story circulates in the Odd Column back in England. A bird’s nest was found to contain the golf ball and inside, the diamonds!
The true identity of this author is unknown.
Further, this is the only known tale to appear under this name.
Gang Shorts wraps up with “Limited Risk” by G. H. Lister.
Again returns our lovable criminal-scoundrel, Montgomery Smith. Looking for some fresh excitement in his retirement from criminal activities, Montgomery strolls through Central Park, listening to various orators denouncing this-and-that, and one in particular, is beating the drum against citywide corruption, in the form of a strong-arm faux-insurance broker, named Perelli. Using his enforcers to pressure local small businesses to cough up a percentage of their hard-earned profits towards insurance, this protection racket is beating up resisters and burning out the rest. Smith decides to use his skills to unseat Perelli, by flipping the tables and landing him in jail.