Saturday, October 31, 2009

Listen to Sam Spade: The Vaphio Cup Caper




This week's story has deliberate echoes of The Maltese Falcon. Sometime in the near future (maybe in December when the NaNoWriMo madness has passed) I'll dig out my box of old OTR tapes and present the one true sequel to the Falcon, a full hour Suspense broadcast called "The Khandi Tooth Caper". Gutman, Cairo and the gang are back, this time hunting the tooth, and one-time Philip Marlowe Robert Montgomery is on hand to introduce the show. Great stuff.

Today's episode has an added treat. For the first time in our series, you'll hear The Wildroot Singers belt out that immortal ditty, "Get Wildroot Cream-Oil, Charlie". It's at the end of Part 4.

"The Vaphio Cup Caper" Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


NOTE: Due to file server problems, our earlier episodes of this series are currently offline. They shall return. But you can still listen to last week's Mystery-Western drama...
The Betrayal in Bumpuss Hell Caper

(click to enlarge)

Pulps for Halloween: A Cautionary Tale




Let this be a warning. It ain't healthy to stiff your trick-or-treaters with junk like fruit and nuts. This fellow in the silk mask was jonesing for a sugar high and accepting no substitutes.

This Carroll John Daly tale from 1934 starred Twist Sullivan, a dick so named because of a scarred face. The long novelette builds on events from a previous story (which I don't have) involving an arch criminal called The Rat.

Daly wrote many strings of novelettes that were later published as novels. These included Race Williams stories from Black Mask, Vee Brown adventures from Dime Detective, and Satan Hall and Mr. Strang tales from Detective Fiction Weekly. Poor Twist Sullivan, though, never made it out of the pulps.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Pulps for Halloween: The Devil Made Me Do It




Surely this swanky Belarski babe wouldn't want to shoot our hero Candid Jones. Must be Mr. Beelzebub (or some bozo trying out his Halloween costume in April) urging her on.

We talked about Richard Sale's wiseguy reporter Daffy Dill some time back. Well, Sale had another series going in DFW about insurance investigator and photographer Candid Jones. And on occasion Daffy and Candid would team up on a case, producing a special event worthy of an exclamation point.

This particular novelette is told entirely through letters (by both Candid and Daffy), newspaper articles, telephone messages, telegrams and radio broadcasts. Sale was having a wild time.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Tentative Bibliography of Ed Gorman Westerns


Heck, all I was planning to do was write a review of Guild. But, as always after finishing a book I enjoy, I wanted to see a list of the author's other titles so I could figure which to read next. And dag nab it, I couldn't find a good one anywhere. So I started poking around, trying to build my own list, and I kept finding more and more titles. From perusing the racks of used book stores, I knew Ed had written a lot of westerns, but I had no idea there were this many.

So, to make things easier on other Gorman fans, here's a first stab at a list of his western titles. What was most important for my purposes was simply the order of publication. Along the way I had to figure out which books first appeared in hardcover and which were paperback originals. And since the months of publication and publisher names were there, I tossed those in too.

I may be missing a few titles. I've undoubtedly made errors. And I'm not sure if any of the later books (other than the Cavalry Man titles) feature series characters. I'm hoping some of you other Gormanites will set me straight. I'd be happy to add a list of original short story appearances, along with the western anthologies Ed's edited, and republish this sucker with due credit to all who contribute. Thanks for looking!

Guild - Oct 1987, Evans hc (Leo Guild)
Death Ground - Jul 1988, Evans hc (Leo Guild)
Grave's Retreat - Mar 1989, Doubleday hc
Blood Game -  Sept 1989, Evans hc (Leo Guild)
Night of Shadows - Jan 1990, Doubleday hc
Dark Trail - Jan 1990, Evans hc (Leo Guild)
What the Dead Men Say - May 1990, Evans hc
Wolf Moon -  Apr 1993, Gold Medal pb
The Sharpshooter - Dec 1993, Gold Medal pb
Gunslinger - Mar 1995, Barricade trade pb (short stories)
Trouble Man - Oct 1998, Leisure pb
Ride into Yesterday - Feb 1999, Leisure pb
Storm Riders - Nov 1999, Berkley pb
Lawless - May 2000, Berkley pb
Ghost Town - Apr 2001, Berkley pb
Vendetta - Jan 2002, Berkley pb
Relentless - Jan 2003, Berkley pb
Gun Truth - Jan 2003, Leisure pb
Lynched - May 2003, Berkley pb
Branded - May 2004, Berkley pb
The Long Ride Back - May 2004, Leisure pb (short stories)
Bad Money - Jul 2005, Berkley pb
Cavalry Man 1: The Killing Machine - Aug 2005, HarperCollins pb
Two Guns to Yuma - Aug 2005, Thorndike hc
Shoot First - Jan 2006, Berkley pb
Cavalry Man 2: Powder Keg - Jul 2006, HarperTorch pb
Cavalry Man 3: Doom Weapon - Jul 2007, HarperTorch pb

P.S. I still intend to review Guild. Coming soon.

Pulps for Halloween: The Ghost of Spicy Mystery




Yesterday we had skeleton-face guy, so today it's a ghost, emerging from this defunct diplomat to claim his Halloween treats. And being this is a Spicy pulp, those treats are likely to involve some heavy petting with the obligatory scantily-clad female.

More Spicy adventure is on the way. This Sunday we'll present "Shakedown Sham", a complete Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective tale by Robert Leslie Bellem, and the following Sunday we'll feature "Lust of the Lawless", a Bellem story from Spicy Western.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Duane Eddy Twangs "Paladin"


Back in 1962, Duane Eddy hit #33 on the charts with this rockin' rendition of "The Ballad of Paladin." Among the tunes beating him out were "The Loco-Motion" by Little Eva, "Breaking Up is Hard to Do" by Neil Sedaka, and "Ahab, the Arab" by Ray Stevens.

"The Ballad of Paladin" 
by Duane Eddy

Pulps for Halloween: Belarski Rides the Wires


Laurie Powers posted a few pulp covers with Halloweeny images yesterday. Well, I know an idea worth stealing when I see one, especially when it gives me an excuse to throw up another Rudolph Belarski painting.

The insides of this Nov. 20, 1937 are good too. Along with the cover story by John K. Butler (best known for Steve Midnight, the cabbie who rolled the mean streets in Dime Detective), it features short stories by Roger Torrey and Steve Fisher.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Story With No Name Part 13 by Jack Giles


If cowboys and camels are your thing (and even if they're not) this is a good week to jump in on The Wild Bunch Wednesday Story Challenge. Jack (Ray Foster) Giles has delivered his second fine installment, this time at Broken Trails.

In addition to Mr. Giles, our roster of authors so far includes I.J. Parnham, Chuck Tyrell, Evan Lewis, Jack Martin, James J. Griffin, Joseph E. West, Robert S. Napier, Richard Prosch, Paul Dellinger, and Peter Averillo. New scribes are still welcome to join in (just speak up in a comment on Broken Trails). If no newcomers are forthcoming, we'll likely carry on with our second round.

Parts 1 thru 10 are on The Culbin Trail.
Part 11 is on Open Range.
Part 12 is on Charlie's Tokyo West Blog.
Part 14 is TBA.

The Art of Nero Wolfe: And Be A Villain




Archie is offscreen here but we have another fine image of Wolfe. Bantam did not credit the artist for this one, but they provide this info...

About THE COVER
     Wolfe shrugged. His eyes moved. "She's capable of anything. Look in her bag."
     I made a move but she gave me the full force of her eyes. "Don't touch me."
     I brought the hand back. Her eyes went to Wolfe . . .


Monday, October 26, 2009

New HAXAN Story at The Western Online




When I read Kenneth Mark Hoover's first story on The Western Online (see Til Death Do Us Part), I thought it was simply a damn well written western tale. Well, now I find it was part of a larger concept, a series, and maybe even a lifestyle.

Hoover's new story, "In the Image of Our Maker," debuted today, also on The Western Online. It features the same tough lawman I liked in the earlier story - and the same tight, tough writing - but in this one the locale, the town of Haxan, New Mexico, begins to emerge as a character unto itself. Haxan was described earlier as "the Sodom and Gomorrah of the West," and now we see why. Strange things happen there. Dark, unexpected things.

A trip to Kenneth Mark Hoover's website reveals much more. The town of Haxan, we learn, was inspired by both Gunsmoke and Jonah Hex. The first story in the series, called simply "Haxan," appeared in another online mag, Beneath Ceaseless Skies, and can be found there in both print and podcast form. And there's a link to Cafe Press, where you can find Haxan shirts, caps, bags, clocks, coffee cups, water bottles and calendars.

Visit Haxan for yourself. You won't be sorry.

The Case of the Missing Sound and Picture Files

YIKES! All of my music and OTR files, along with the large movie poster, pulp and book cover pics are missing! This includes the Sherlock Holmes poster in the post below and the Sam Spade episode a couple of posts below that. Sorry. I'll be working to restore them, one way or another.

I've been using a file storage site called Boxtr, and it's been working great - right up until this afternoon. Now it's gone, and I'm scrambling to find out what's up. Will it return, or will I have to upload everything elsewhere? Aarrgh!

The Art of Sherlock Holmes: Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon Part 1




The fourth in the Rathbone-Bruce series (and second in the 1940s adventures from Universal) finds Holmes and Watson trying to keep a new-fangled bomb site out of the hands of the Nazis. It premiered in February 1943.

This one begins with a bit from "The Empty House," featuring Rathbone in disguise as a German bookseller, and employs the code from "The Dancing Men." Professor Moriarty is on hand, too (he sides with the Nazis, of course), played this time by Lionel Atwill.

Holmes's best line: "I must confess I shied at the thought of disemboweling a complete set of Charles Dickens."
And Moriarty delivers the zinger: "The needle to the last, eh, Holmes?"

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Do You NaNoWriMo?


Is anyone else doing this?

I've heard rumors of National Novel Writing Month (and only in whispers) for the past couple of years, and paid little attention. I didn't even know it happens every November. Then last week Ed Ferguson made mention of it over at Lee Walker Westerns, and I finally took notice.

For a slow writer like me, the idea of turning out a novel in a month has seemed preposterous. But it actually sounds like a pretty cool thing. It will give me a much-needed kick in the butt to churn out a little prose every day, and at the end of the month I'll have 50,000 words of... well, a number of choice words come to mind. But if nothing else, it will be good exercise for the brain and fingers.

Last year (NaNoWriMo's 10th), I'm told 119,000 people signed up and over 21,000 finished. This year is expected to top that.

So I'm wondering... am I going to be pounding the keyboard with a hundred thousand strangers, or are any of you folks playing too?

All the official poop is here: NaNoWriMo.org

Saturday, October 24, 2009

The Adventures of Sam Spade: The Betrayal in Bumpass Hell Caper




I've already hyped this one (see previous post), but I'll say it again. This is one hell of a good episode. Sam has a Western pulp mag in his pocket and reads the story "Betrayal in Bumpass Hell" as he fights crime.

Red Gillis was a rawboned 'poke from the border country, the tale begins. He was a stranger to Bumpass Hell, but he was no stranger to trouble. 

Yes, "The Betrayal in Bumpass Hell Caper" is two stories for the price of one, and they're both free. Give a listen as you fight unsightly dandruff with Wildroot Cream-Oil, the non-alcoholic hair tonic that contains lanolin. 

The Betrayal in Bumpass Hell Caper, Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


The Adventures of Sam Spade Archive:
The Calcutta Trunk Caper
The Adam Figg Caper
The Bow Window Caper

(click to enlarge)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Coming Attraction: BETRAYAL IN BUMPASS HELL!


ATTENTION WESTERN FANS! Coming tomorrow is a very special episode of our weekly broadcast, The Adventures of Sam Spade. Sam (portrayed by Howard Duff) is reading a Western pulp story aloud as he goes about solving his case. If you've never heard this program, this is the episode to start with. I predict you'll be hooked. Tune in tomorrow at 7am Pacific, 10am Eastern, 3pm London, and 4pm Nik Morton time (I think) for the wacky and wonderful BETRAYAL IN BUMPASS HELL CAPER!

The Art of Sherlock Holmes: Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror Part 2




Here's another example of the art from a U.S. poster (the half sheet above) being the basis for a line drawing in the Australian daybill below. I'm just guessing, but I reckon the Australian printing process - or the paper used - did not reproduce paintings and photographs well. I have one Australian daybill in my own collection (the Alamo flick The Last Command) and the paper is extremely thin, rather like that in a Silver Age comic book.



Next week: Sherlock Holmes and the Secret Weapon

For earlier posters in the Rathbone-Bruce series, click the "Sherlock Holmes" label link below.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Duggan by Jack Giles


Duggan, I believe, was the fifth Black Horse Western from the pen of Jack Giles (aka Ray Foster), and first published 22 years ago. But this was the first Jack Giles book I could get my hands on, and I just finished reading it, so to me it’s fresh and new. 

Duggan has a dramatic character arc. He begins the story as a drunk, a wretch sunk so low he doesn’t even merit a name. He drinks himself to oblivion each day and sleeps it off under a boardwalk. But by the end of the book he’s wearing a captain’s uniform, commanding cavalrymen and saving the bacon of a whole town. If not for Duggan, it’s likely the entire Apache nation would have banded together under one leader and scoured the West of interlopers.

Duggan, you see, is one tough character, making Duggan a tough book to put down. Jack/Ray has orchestrated things so that each time we see Duggan he grows a little more - until finally becoming the man he once was - plus a little extra. This makes for a compelling and satisfying tale.

Other strong characters include Duggan’s old friend John Savage - a sergeant nursing a secret grudge, and his old nemesis General MacGregor - a ruthless martinet who gets his just deserts. And then there are the Apaches. These guys are not merely fearless and committed foes - they’re fearless and committed foes who blast away at forts and towns with captured artillery. Yikes.

I caught one in-joke: a bartender named Tom Bendigo, in the town of Shafter. (Someone was reading Louie L’Amour)  I suspect there were others that went over my head.

In all, reading Duggan was a bit like watching a good old cavalry movie. One starring Glenn Ford, maybe, or Randolph Scott. Too bad they don’t make movies like that anymore. Luckily, Jack Giles is still making books. His latest, Lawmen, was published by Black Horse just last year. He blogs at Broken Trails and Open Range.

For more on Jack/Ray, see our earlier post here.

Satan Hall 3: Satan's Law


My favorite pointy-eared detective is on the job again, this time from August 8, 1932. Here’s the scene: the bad guys, Rattigan and Joe, are interrogating a fence about the whereabouts of his daughter - a young woman Satan happens to admire. Then there’s an interruption.

The shade shot up with a snap, an arm came through the broken pane in the window - and Satan spoke, his gun moving slowly.

“I think that will be about all of that, Mr. Rattigan. Unlock the window and open it, Joe.”

Three pairs of eyes sought that window at once. The little fence dropped back in the chair and buried his head in his hands. Three hands hesitated, half moving to armpits when Satan spoke again.

“I think you’re making a mistake, boys. It’s Satan talking. Now, Joe - open the window.”

There was no order of “hands up!” There was nothing melodramatic in Satan’s words. Yet three pairs of hands shot into the air. Joe walked toward the window. The name of Satan had been enough. Rattigan and his bodyguard knew that Satan shot first and explained afterward.

“Keep a little to the side, Joe.” Satan’s voice was soft and low. “I like to look at your friends. You wouldn’t want me to shoot a hole in you to look through.”

Needless to say, this does not bode well for Rattigan and Joe.

This story was collected in the Mysterious Press volume, The Adventures of Satan Hall.

The Satan Hall Archives:
Satan’s Lash
Satan Sees Red

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Gun Play: Actoy Buntline Special & Leslie Henry Autry




I haven't flashed any weapons at you for awhile, so here's a double dose. This "Buntline Special" from Actoy is a far cry from the gun I saw Hugh O'Brien toting around every week, but it's the best of a poor lot from the toy manufacturers. Hubley did one called just "Wyatt Earp" with a longer than normal barrel, but it was made for a small hand and looked altogether puny. Someone made a larger version entirely of black plastic, but all-plastic guns had no appeal to me.

The Leslie Henry company made Gene Autry pistols in three sizes, of which this is the smallest. Still, the detailing is nice, and the feel is solid. The Cadillac of the Gene Autry line was featured here some time back (click the "Cap guns" label below to see it and others). The standard model will be coming your way soon.

The Story With No Name Part 12 by Chuck Tyrell


Yep, Mr. Chuck (Charlie Whipple) Tyrell has posted Part 12 of this epic over at Charlie's Tokyo West Blog, and our tale is now officially going places. I suggest you mosey over there and find out where. Part 13 will be penned (just in time for Halloween) by either I.J. Parnham, Jack Giles or yours truly.

Parts 1-10 have been coralled for your convenience at The Culbin Trail.
Part 11 appears on Jack's Open Range.

For the line-up of authors, scroll on down to the wretched piece of pulp cover art I posted with last week's notice.

The Art of Sherlock Holmes: Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror Part 1




It is, of course, a shame that Universal Studios chose to haul Holmes and Watson out of their proper milieu (as depicted in the two Fox films) and drop them into WWII. On the other hand, given conditions in wartime Hollywood, that strategy may have been the only thing that allowed this film (and the eleven to follow) to be made.

The film acknowledges its departure from tradition with a nice scene in which Holmes picks up his deerstalker. At Watson’s urging, he puts on a fedora instead, and off they go.

The story for this one borrows bits from “His Last Bow” (German spy Von Bork is now a Nazi spy) and brings in the “Voice of Terror,” inspired by real life Nazi propaganda broadcasts (which I remember mainly from an issue of Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos: “Lord Haw-Haw’s Last Laugh”).

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

At the Bijou with Gobe: Arizona Raiders

The Almanack once again welcomes ace film critic Mr. Dale Goble:

I couldn't pass up a chance to see Ben Cooper and Audie Murphy together, so I got a copy of the movie when Turner Classic Movies played an uncut version of ARIZONA RAIDERS (1965) a while back. "Audie Murphy as a new kind of action-man . . ." the poster says, "Raider-Turned-Ranger."

Another chink in the White Hat Ranger legends, and not by some Eastern Revisionist Historian, but by Audie Murphy hisownself. Can't argue with that. Granted, these are Arizona Rangers, but the origins are the same as Ranger origins are all over. I feel verified and vindicated.

Also in the cast is Buster Crabbe, as Captain Tom Andrews, head of the Arizona Vigilantes, who recruits his Rangers from the dregs of Quantrill’s band after the War of Southern Insurrection. Gloria Talbot plays the Mexican girl Martina, and Michael Dante plays the lone bad apple from Quantrill’s gang of Dixie cut-throats. Fred Graham is Quantrill.

It was good to see Ben Cooper in a role where he wasn't the punk kid, but otherwise the picture was ordinary at best. Filmed at the Apacheland Movie Ranch, Gold Canyon, Arizona. Frank Gruber and Richard Shayer are credited with the story, Mary & Willard Willingham worked on the screenplay. Willard Willingham also had a role in the film.                                                                                --Gobe

Swingin' with "Perry Mason"

You've heard this theme a thousand
times. Maybe a million. But Ralph Marterie and his Marlboro Men (I kid you not) give it a new kind of cool on this track from the 1959 LP "Music for a Private Eye." It'll make you want to rush out for a pack of Marlboros. Also on the album: themes from Alfred Hitchcock, Peter Gunn, The Thin Man, Richard Diamond, 77 Sunset Strip...  Stay tuned.

"Perry Mason" by Ralph Marterie & his Marlboro Men

Monday, October 19, 2009

Almost Doc Savage: Super-Detective December 1942




It's been four whole days since I posted a pulp cover, and I'm feeling withdrawal symptoms. So here's another issue of Super-Detective, with a GGA cover by one of the Speed line's best, Mr. Allen Anderson. As discussed in our earlier Super-Detective post, Jim Anthony began his pulp career as a full-blown Doc Savage clone, then eventually cooled his heels to function more as an ordinary detective.

This tale from 1942 seems to fall in the transitional stage. Jim is still the globe-trotting hero, but he's graduated from the swimming trunks of the early issues into long pants and suit jacket. "The Carribean Cask," which may or may not have been authored by W.T. Ballard & Robert Leslie Bellem, sends Jim after a cask supposedly thrown into the sea by Columbus, and said to contain a personal message from old Chris to the King of Spain.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Guns of the Past by Lance Howard


A bullet shattered the farmhouse window. Glass imploded, shards glittering, spiraling in all directions, raining on to the threadbare parlor carpet.

Guns of the Past (Black Horse, 1997 and Linford, 1998) starts with a bullet - and speeds like a bullet on through to the climax.  And woe to anyone who gets in that bullet’s way.  This is one of the hardest hitting westerns I’ve read in a long while.  Characters die here - likable, sympathetic, even innocent characters whom other writers would hesitate to kill. But though it's sad - even shocking - to see them go, they die in a good cause, to give more emotional punch to the book’s protagonist, Matt Brenner.

Matt, you see, was once foolish enough to join the Scarred L Gang, some of the most ruthless outlaws ever to terrorize the West. The gang’s leader is a demon in human form who allows no one to quit. But Matt quit, and ran, and has been hiding ever since, regretting the mistakes of his past. And now, suddenly, that past has caught up with him, making his present a living hell. (One thing the book does not tell us is that Matt bears an uncanny resemblance to Clint Eastwood, as revealed by the Linford edition artwork, below.)

Lance Howard, who has written a whole bunch of westerns, is in reality Howard Hopkins, who has written a whole bunch of horror novels. I tried to count them and ran out of fingers and toes, but I’m pretty sure his total book count is well over forty.

Howard, I’ve learned, is also a great aficionado of pulp heroes like Doc Savage, The Shadow and The Spider - as am I. Howard recently announced that he's been asked to write new comic book adventures of The Spider, The Master of Men, and after reading Guns of the Past, I can see why he got the gig. The Spider requires a courageous writer - one willing to take risks - one willing to take the reader by the throat and drag him places he didn’t expect to go. Well, Howard is all of that. I’m very much looking forward to his version of The Spider, and to more westerns by Lance Howard.

For more, visit his blog, Dark Bits, and his website.

WARNING: This Advertisement May Cause Smoking




Cigarette smoking just ain't what it used to be. And who's fault is that? Some blame the manufacturers and some the Surgeon General, but for my money, it's the ad agencies. They've forgotten how to make smoking cool. I mean, who among us could look upon such stuff as this and not be moved to duck out of the opera house and fire up a gasper?

P.S. I have it on good authority that the dapper gent pictured here on the back cover of Detective Fiction Weekly for March 21, 1936 is none other than noted mystery writer (and notorious blogger) Mr. Bill Crider. Smoking didn't hurt him none, now did it?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Lorne Greene sings "Bonanza"


Who knew there were lyrics to the Bonanza theme? Lorne Greene sang them on a 1962 cast LP called Bonanza Party Time. Other vocal versions were recorded by Johnny Cash, Bruce Low (in German) and the Lawrence Welk singers. Tune into the Almanack long enough and you'll likely hear them all.

"Bonanza" by Lorne Greene

Sam Spade: The Bow Window Caper




Dashiell Hammett, America's leading detective fiction writer and creator of Sam Spade, the hardboiled private eye, and William Spier, radio's outstanding producer/
director of crime drama, combine their talents to make your hair stand on end. Presented by the makers of Wildroot Cream-Oil for the hair.

Yes, it's another thrilling episode, this time from October 5, 1947. The Almanack would like to extend a tip of the snap-brim hat to the fine folks at The Rap Sheet for pointing listeners in our direction. It's much appreciated. More episodes are on the way, hopefully every Saturday.

The Bow Window Caper, Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4


Episode Archive:
The Calcutta Trunk Caper
The Adam Figg Caper

click ad to enlarge

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Story at The Western Online




I'd advise you all to head on over to The Western Online to check out the new short story "Til Death Do Us Part" by Kenneth Mark Hoover. The dialogue's lean and hard and the prose crackles with life. Hoover's written a fair amount of science fiction. Don't know if he's tackled a western before, but he sure knows how. I'll be watching for more.

The mag is now accepting submissions of short fiction (up to 3000 words) and non-fiction (up to 1000). Send them something. You'll be in good company.

Hammett Mapback: Dead Yellow Women




For your consideration: Another fine Mapback full of vintage Hammett. This one, published in 1949, contains four adventures of the Continental Op and two non-series tales. The Op stories are "Dead Yellow Women," "House Dick," "The Golden Horseshoe," and "Who Killed Bob Teal?" The extras are "The Green Elephant" and "The Hairy One." (Original appearances of these stories will be listed in a day or two, when I post the first edition digest.) Below: Your handy-dandy crimesolver's map.


Thursday, October 15, 2009

Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective Dec. 1942




Here's another fine cover, despite the previous owner getting a little happy with cellophane tape.
Below: Dan demonstrates his technique for interrogating recalcitrant dames.



Previous Dan Turner posts are here and here.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Finest Frontier Town in the West by I.J. Parnham


Last month I read (and reviewed) the first in I.J. Parnham’s Fergal & Randolph series, The Legend of Shamus McGinty’s Gold, and wondered how he was going to improve upon it. Well, now I know. He made the second book even funnier. This time around, the dumb guys are dumber, the greedy guys greedier, the high stakes higher, and the dire conse- quences more dire.

The closest thing to an honest character in this book is the hired gunslinger who’s after Fergal and Randolph’s hides. Evil as he is, he stays true to his word. But as far as the rest of the cast goes (and that’s covering a lot of characters), all bets are off.

It’s a contest, you see. A $10,000 prize will go the community a panel of judges deem “The Finest Frontier Town in the West.”  The competition has narrowed to two contenders, and both towns are cheerfully pursuing their own crooked agendas when Fergal and Randolph happen along and turn the situation on its head.

Complications multiply as Fergal attempts to hoodwink two towns full of rascals, plus the panel of rascally judges. The tale clips nicely along from one outrageous surprise to the next until Fergal and Randolph are masters of their own fates – they can choose whether to be shot down by a merciless gunfighter or face the loaded weapons of an enraged mob.

I finished this book a week ago and it’s still vivid in my mind. But most vivid of all is a character we never actually meet. His presence looms over landscape, the very personification of Ian Parnham’s American frontier - though he never appears on stage.  Read The Finest Frontier Town in the West (Avalon Books, 2003) and you’ll see what I mean. Try as you might, you’ll never forget the man known as… Warty Bill.

Coming soon: Book 3 - Miss Dempsey's School for Gunfighters

The Art of Sherlock Holmes: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Part 3


This artwork appeared on a window card - a cardboard poster distributed by theaters to area merchants for display in store windows. The top few inches (here cropped off) were left blank so the theater could provide its name, show dates & times, etc.  Next: The series moves from 20th Century Fox to Universal, with Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror.

The Story With No Name Part 11 by Peter Averillo




The Wild Bunch Wednesday Story Challenge takes a wicked new turn as our three treacherous treasure hunters come face to face with that rattlesnake in human form - Zack Roden. Part 11 is brought to you by Peter Averillo (alias Chantel Foster) who has the blood of western writer Jack Giles flowing strong in her veins.

Here's a link to Part 11.
And here are the collected Parts 1-10.

Part 12 awaits an intrepid author to take the reins. To claim the right, speak up in a comment on the latest installment.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Lawrence Welk with a "Restless Gun"?

Yep, when old Lawrence had put away enough champagne he sometimes donned a Stetson and led his Music Makers in TV Western themes. In this one Larry and the gang wander the West with retired gunfighter Vint Bonner (portrayed by John Payne). Restless Gun was sort of a warm-up for producer David Dortort, whose next show was Bonanza.

"Restless Gun" by Lawrence Welk

The Art of Sherlock Holmes: The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Part 2


I'm not sure where the poster above originated. The fact that it omits "The Adventures of" from the title makes me think it is not from from an American release. The half-sheet below is from the American release. If I had to guess, I'd say the one above might be from Australia. Australian posters often used original line drawings based on the photos and paintings from American posters. Does anyone know for sure?


Monday, October 12, 2009

Reading Habits

Laurie Powers memed me into this. Here goes...    

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?
Normally just coffee laced with hot chocolate. It’s when I sit down to write that the Cheetos and BBQ chips come out.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
I try to leave a book in the same condition I found it. This habit is so ingrained I have trouble abusing a library book. 


How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears?
Bookmark, or, if I’m feeling bold, by memory.

Laying the book flat open?
Horrors! I crack a book no more than necessary. With pulps, I’m pinching the spine so it doesn’t accidentally fall open.

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?
Fiction for fun, and to point my writing brain in the right directions: Mystery, historical adventure, an occasional western or fantasy, graphic novels. Non fiction mostly for research.

Hard copy or audiobooks?
Hard in the house, audio in the car. Some of each every day.

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?
I read to the end of a scene whenever possible.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
Only when reading Clark Ashton Smith, which I have not done for a lentitudinously long time.

What are you currently reading? 
Guns of the Past by Lance Howard, The Punisher (MAX series book 2: Kitchen Irish), Sword Song by Bernard Cornwell, Sudden Mischief (for the eleventeenth time) by Robert B. Parker, Warriors of the Steppes: The Complete Cossack Adventures, (v. 2) by Harold Lamb.

What is the last book you bought?
Danger Is My Business by Lee Server. Ed Gorman said I had to.

Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?
One novel for pleasure, two to prime the pump (Parker and Cornwell), one book of short stories, one graphic novel. One audio book when I’m driving alone, another when my wife is with me.

Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?
No.

Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?
Series, hands down.


Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?
I used to carry an extra copy of Breakfast of Champions around in my trunk in case I met someone I could infect with it, but now I’m too cheap. These days I just tell anyone who will listen to read Robert B. Parker and Bernard Cornwell. And no library should be without A Gent from Bear Creek by Robert E. Howard.

How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?) When I had room, I shelved by genre, then by author. Now that most of my books are in boxes, they’re organized mainly by size (the worst of all possible methods).

Sooooooooooooooooooo...


I'm memeing this mother on to Richard Prosch, Kassandra Kelly, and Cap'n Bob Napier.