Wednesday, December 9, 2020

HAMMETT HERALD-TRIBUNE: "The Second Story Angel" and "The Judge Laughed Last" (1937-39)

"The Second-Story Angel" made her first appearance in the Nov. 15, 1923 issue of Black Mask. It was a non-Op story, but introduced Angel Grace Cardigan, the stalwart daughter of crookdom who later met the Op in "The Big Knockover" and "$106,000 Blood Money." These days, you'll find an edited version in the 1962  digest A Man Named Thin, and the 1999 collection Nightmare Town.

In 1937, the year after leaving Black Mask, Joe Shaw began editing a series of Mystery Classics for newspapers, and this was one of his selections. Among others in the series were "Parlor Trick" by Peter Ruric (Paul Cain), "South Wind" by Theodore A. Tinsley, and "The Caleso Murders," "The Man from Shanghai," "Murder - West of Guam" and "Diamonds of Death" by Raoul Whitfield. I'll be showing you the artwork from those bye and bye.

The clip below is from the Vancouver Province, Aug. 7, 1937. I also saw it in the Shreveport Times, July 25, 1937. It includes an intro, likely penned by Shaw himself. I blew it up so you can decipher it with a minimum of squinting.

"The Judge Laughed Last" first appeared under the title "The New Racket" in the Feb. 15, 1924 Black Mask. The title was apparently changed for its newspaper debut, and it carried that title into some (but not all) of the various Adventures of Sam Spade collections in the 1940s. Sadly, it does not feature Spade. Along with "The Second Story Angel," I believe it is one of the very few stories that have yet to be reprinted in unedited form. A tragedy.

The clip here is from the El Paso Times of March 28, 1937. I also found it in the Detroit Free Press for Dec. 10, 1939. The artwork, by "Briggs," is probably by Austin Briggs, whom you saw in the Secret Agent X-9 story I ran a while back.

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