Sunday, May 24, 2015

The Art of TOM ROBERTS (Part 2)

Marksman, published by Crippen & Landru back in 2002, appears this week thanks to last week's comment by John Hocking. Quite coincidentally, it was George Kelley's Forgotten Book on Friday. His comments are HERE

Marksman features five Joe Puma adventures (hence the name on the door) and four non-series stories.

Here's an image of Joe himself. 

Here's the book on the table. Tsk. That glass is going to leave a ring.

The newspaper headline refers to La Paloma, the ship that brought the Maltese Falcon to San Francicso. The photograph appears to show the ship burning.

And the pulp in the trashcan is the February 1943 issue of Private Detective Stories

I had planned to feature three of Tom's paintings this week, but this one provided enough cool suprises to stand on its own. More coming next Sunday, and for quite a few Sundays to come!

Last week's gallery is HERE.

(Thanks to Mr. Richard Robinson for the Marksman cover scan)

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Toy Soldier Saturday: Tim-Mee U.S. Air Force (Part 1)

On this Memorial Day weekend we pay tribute (with the help of these Tim-Mee Toys) to the U.S. Air Force. These guys were made in the U.S,A, in the late '50s and early '60s. Their soft plastic comrades will appear in Part 2, soon. May their real-life counterparts continue to kick butt.

More Toy Warriors HERE.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Forgotten Books: LADY IN PERIL by Lester Dent (1959)

I enjoyed reading this book, but didn't really like it. Does that make sense? It's the last of four Dent novels I've been hoarding for thirty years and waiting for the right moment to read. Maybe I chose the wrong moment. More likely, though, there was never a right one.

Lester Dent was a great pulp writer, and every story I've read, including dozens of his Doc Savage adventures, has delivered the goods. As a novelist, though, he seems to have been on uncertain ground. Dead at the Take-Off (discussed HERE) is a pretty good book, and Lady Afraid (HERE) is okay too. Cry at Dusk (HERE) is a sick mess. And Lady in Peril, I'm sorry to say, is a snoozer.

But I enjoyed reading it? Yeah, I've admired Dent's style since I was thirteen years old, and it still has a hold on me. He just pulls me along, word by word, phrase by phrase, and it goes down painless. But in this case, he didn't take me anywhere except to the end of the book, and he left me there unsatisfied.

The problem, I think, is that he was trying to do too much. Having long since proved he could write a good mystery, he was flirting here with serious themes - the stuff of literature - and got bogged down somewhere inbetween.

The hero of this one, a guy named Loneman, is a lobbyist for an agricultural co-op in Jefferson Ctiy, Missouri. The conflicts driving the plot, involving politics and the food business, are more adult than those in your typical Dent story. Nothing wrong with that, and when Loneman's brother-in-law is killed, the story is off to a promising start. Unfortunately, the subplot (the "serious" stuff) gets in the way.

Loneman, it seems, is a workaholic who has taken his wife for granted to the extent that she has come to doubt her own self worth, Her brother's murder somehow compels her to solve the crime on her own, to prove something to herself and to her husband. There are serious psychological and relationship issues here, but they simply don't jell with the mystery. The wife's strange actions seem contrived to create false suspense. I assume Dent meant her to be a sympathetic character, but she comes off as merely annoying,

On the plus side, the book is set in Dent's home state of Missouri, so it provides a nice snapshot of his world. Despite the plot problems, a good dose of Dent's trademark humor might have saved the day. But no such luck. Loneman, the wife, and everyone else in the story take themselves way too seriously. I seriously didn't care whether any of them lived or died.

Thursday, May 21, 2015


This collection of four stories by Mr. John Hegenberger is now available for Kindle. Haven't read the stories yet, but I like the titles - "Headache," "Heartache," "Neckache" and "Backache." I can relate to all four. 

Here's what it says on Amazon: 

A series of serious crimes: Kidnapping. Murder. Art Theif. Blackmail. Comic Books. Private Investigator Eliot Cross faces heartache, headache, backache, and a royal pain in the neck in these rollicking noir stores from the heart of the Heartland. 

Never before published. CROSS EXAMINATIONS sets the stage for an exciging new novel that will join pop-culture author John Hegenberger's soon-to-be-published Tripleye trilogy and his upcoming Stan Wad L.A.P.I. series.

Get it here:
Cross Examinations: Crime in Columbus

Tuesday, May 19, 2015


Richard Sale (whose Daffy Dill/Candid Jones story "Flash!" appears in the June AHMM - details HERE, and about whom I have blabbed at length - HERE) created and produced this Desilu series with his wife May Loos. He also wrote some (if not many) of the 34 episodes that ran in 1958 and '59. Most of those episode are now on YouTube (that's cool), but they've been stripped of opening and closing credits (that's trash). Still, we can be pretty ding dang sure that Sale wrote this one. 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Cap Gun Monday: Nichols Stallion 38

This is how my collection began. Back in 1985, I heard Clayton Moore was coming to town, and wanted something for him to autograph. One place I hunted was an antique toy store, and there in a glass case was this set of Stallion 38s. My blood started racing. They were identical to a pair I had as a kid, and when I got them in my hands the memories came rolling in. That was it. I was hooked. I spent the next decade or so haunting flea markets, collectible shows and antique malls reacquiring other old weapons and acquiring new ones. I never did make it to see the Lone Ranger. 

These babies are 9 1/2 inches long and nicely balanced for twirling. They have a cool nickel finish. I also have a later model with cream-colored grips and a chrome finish, which we'll see later down the line. 


Our Cap Gun arsenal is HERE.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Art of TOM ROBERTS (Part 1)

Here's one of eight covers (that I know of) that Tom did for Crippen & Landru. This book was published in 2006.

This painting was used for three different Battered Silicon Dispatch Box books, all published in 2011: Victorian Holmes by Michael Duke, Introducing Sherlock Holmes by William Hyder and Thinking Outside the Tin-Dispatch Box by William R. Cochran.

And here's one from Tom's own Black Dog Books, published in 2010. More great covers next Sunday!