Magazines


REVIEWED BY PAUL HERMAN:

   

   After reading Steve’s recent review of “No Rest for Soldiers,” the first story in the October issue of Black Mask, I pulled out my copy and just finished reading it cover to cover. Not a stinker in this issue. Giving a rating of four stars for the highest, I rate them as follows:

   “No Rest For Soldiers” – John K. Butler – 4.

   “Jail Bait” – Roger Torrey – 3. Although a complete rip-off of the The Maltese Falcon without the “Falcon” to look for (main tec’s partner is killed and he’s going to find the killer, though they didn’t like each other), this is still a pretty good story. I’m not a great Torrey fan but this story works for me.

   “Heat Target” — Russell Bender — 4. Really well written! I don’t think I’ve ever read a story by Bender. I’ll now go see what else I can find that he wrote for Mask.

   “Sail” — Lester Dent — 4. I can’t count the times I’ve read this story over the years. I still wish that he had written more than two stories for Mask before Shaw got the boot. As good as it gets!!

   “A Ride In The Rain” — W.T.Ballard — 4. One of my favorite Mask writers. If anyone out there has not read Ballard, do yourself a favor and try him. Holds up continuously, time after time!

   I really think this is a top issue of Mask from beginning to end. Steve, let us know how you feel after you finish your copy.

   Added later: Just checked on Russell Bender. He only wrote two others for Mask, though lots more for other titles: October 1938 and July 1940. I have both and will be checking them out soon.

IMAGINATION. September 1954. Overall rating: One star.

GEOFF ST. REYNARD “Vengeance from the Past.” Short novel. Neanderthals try to take over space station. Nonsense. (0)

Update: Geoff St. Reynard was the pen name of Robert W. Krepps, about whom I know nothing. The story itself has never been collected or reprinted.

JEROME BIXBY “The Battle of the Bells.” In which an angel praises the rustic outhouse and the devil is flushed away. (1)

Update: Collected in Space by the Tale (Ballantine, paperback original, 1964) and in “One Way Street” and Other Stories (Armchair Fiction Masters of Science Fiction #2, trade paperback, 2011). I’ll let you comment on the basic concept of this one, if you’d care to.

DANIEL F. GALOUYE. “Immortality, Inc.” Novelette. Two immortals try to cheat a non-Stockholder of his life. (2)

Update: Never collected or reprinted. Galouye wrote perhaps a half dozen novels, but was better known for his short fiction. Of note, however, is his first novel, Dark Universe (1961), which was nominated for a Hugo.

ALLYN DONNELSON “Welcome to Paradise.” A repairmen exposes a secret military project by writing the President. (1)

Update: The author’s only published story.

RUSS WINTERBOTHAM “Three Spacemen Left to Die!” The last Earthmen sacrifice their lives to save another civilization. (3)

Update: Never collected or reprinted. Winterbotham’s writing career was broken in two parts. Part one between 1935 to 1943, then between 1952 and 1958, but even though I rated this story as the best of the issue, nothing he produced seems worthy of attention now.

– August 1967

   
   
Overall thoughts: A footnote to this page in my diary is telling: NO LONGER IN COLLECTION.

ORBIT SCIENCE FICTION. September-October 1954. Vol. 1, No. 4. Overall rating: 2 stars.

ALFRED COPPEL “Last Night of Summer.” The study of reactions to knowledge of Earth’s sudden destruction in a burst of flames. (4)

Comment: According to my view at the time, this was a best story in this issue. Reprinted in The End of the World, edited by Donald A. Wollheim (Ace, paperback, 1956) and Catastrophes!, edited by Isaac Asimov, Martin Harry Greenberg & Charles G. Waugh (Fawcett Crest, pb, 1981).

MICHAEL SHAARA “Death in the House.” A creature from a flying saucer disguises itself as a dog. (1)

Comment: Reprinted in Uncollected Stars, edited by Piers Anthony, Martin H. Greenberg, Barry N. Malzberg & Charles G. Waugh (Avon, pb, 1986). I suspect that this was due more to Shaara’s name value on the cover more than the quality of the story. (I could be wrong about this.)

JAMES E. GUNN “Danger Past.” Sabotage of a time machine leads to murder. (2)

Comment: As of last year, at 95 years old, Gunn was still active as a published writer. This story, however, has never been collected or reprinted.

MAX DANCEY “Me Feel Good.” Child from asteroid has strange powers. (0)

Comment: “Dancey” was one of several pen names used by author Peter Grainger. Others include Robert Flint Young and Peter Cartur. Under these various names he has thirteen SF tales to his credit, appearing between 1947 and 1974.

IRVING E. COX “No More the Stars.” A conspiracy to escape Earth’s oppression is broken up but does not fail. Quite familiar. (2)

Comment: Cox was the author of several dozen short stories between 1951 and 1965. This one has never been reprinted or collected in the US.

AUGUST DERLETH “The Thinker and the Thought.” A thinking machine mirror its inventor’s thoughts. (0)

Comment: Collected in Harrigan’s File (Arkham House, hardcover, 1975). I don’t know much about Tex Harrigan, the leading protagonist in this collection, but one online source says that he was a newspaperman who continually runs “up against strange inventions and curiously weird-science occurrences.” I do not seem to have been much impressed by this one.

ALAN E. NOURSE “The Image of the Gods.” Colonists of Baron IV find help from the natives in their struggle against Earth’s dominion. (3)

Comment: Reprinted in The Counterfeit Man: More Science Fiction Stories (David McKay, hardcover, 1963) and still in print electronically today.

PHILIP K. DICK “Adjustment Team.” [Novelette] An error in timing allows Fletcher to see the underlying reality of his existence, maintained by outsiders. Weak ending. (3)

Comment: First collected in The Book of Philip K. Dick (Daw, paperback, 1973) as well as several later collections. I do not believe that anything Dick ever wrote has not been reprinted or collected.

MILTON LESSER “Intruder on the Rim.” [Novelette] A husband-wife team of reporters are sent to Pluto’s moon and uncover a plot by the military in charge to take over the solar system. (1)

Comment: Lesser eventually changed his name legally to Stephen Marlowe; under this name he is well known as the author of many mystery and suspense novels. I do not believe any of his SF tales are at all memorable. This one has never been collected or reprinted in the US.

– August 1967

IF SCIENCE FICTION. November 1966. Overall rating: 2½ stars.

KEITH LAUMER “Truce or Consequences.” Novelette. Retief stops a war; any resemblance to the current Arab-Israeli conflict could not have been intended but neither is it coincidental. (3)

Comment: Laumer’s stories about no-nonsense galactic diplomat Jame Retief were great favorites of SF fans for many years. The first one, “Diplomat-at-Arms,” appeared in 1960. This one was first collected in Retief: Ambassador to Space (Doubleday, hc, 1969; Berley, pb, 1970) then in Retief: Diplomat at Arms (Pocket, pb, 1982; Baen, pb, 1987).

LARRY NIVEN “At the Core.” Novelette. Beowulf Shaeffer takes on another job for the puppeteers, this time taking a spaceship to the core of the galaxy. (3)

Comment: Many of Niven’s novels and stories fell into his future history known as “Tales of Known Space,” and this is an early one. Collected in Neutron Star (Ballantine, pb, 1968). Reprinted in The Second If Reader of Science Fiction (Doubleday, hc, 1968; Ace, pb, 1970).

C. C. MacAPP “The Sign of Gree.” Novelette. Another episode in the unending war against Gree. Steve Duke enlists the aid of the Remm. (1)

Comment: There were nine stories in MacApp’s “Gree” series; this was number eight. Probably pure space opera. My brief comment suggests I wasn’t very impressed. The story itself has never been collected or reprinted.

LESTER del REY “A Code for Sam.” Novelette. Del Rey suggests that Asimov’s Laws of Robotics may not be practical in the field. The point is well made. (3)

Comment: Collected in Robots and Magic (NESFA Press, hardcover, 2010). I’ve always found del Rey’s fiction to be unexpectedly uneven, but I wish I’d known about this collection before now.

JOHN T. SLADEK “The Babe in the Oven.” A wacky short story with no plot but plenty of wit. (4)

Comment: Collected in The Best of John Sladek (Pocket, pb, 1981). Reprinted earlier in Alpha 6, edited by Robert Silverberg (Berkley, pb, 1976).

ROBERT SILVERBERG “Halfway House.” In return for his life, an executive takes on the job of guarding the crossroads of all parallel world and deciding who may cross. (4)

Comment: First collected in Dimension Thirteen (Ballantine, paperback, 1969), then in several other books. I think most of Silverberg’s stories have been collected several times over!

J. T. McINTOSH “Snow White and the Giants.” Serial, part 2 of 4. The novel will be reported on in its entirety when all four installments have been read.

MIKE HILL “Hairry.” An unsquare story of a Martian spider who becomes a jazz buff. (2)

Comment: Mike Hill was the pen name of Paul G. Herkart, but under either name, this was his only published SF story.

THURLOW WEED “The Boat in the Bottle.” As the title suggests. (0)

Comment: Another author with a one and done.

– June 1967

SPACE SCIENCE FICTION. May 1952. (Volume 1, Number 1.) Overall rating: 3 stars.

LESTER del REY “Pursuit.” Feature novel. A man with unknown assailants pursued for unknown reasons for the major part of the story finally discovers that it is his own unconscious mind plus an uncontrolled psi factor which has been creating his monsters. The plot, meant to sweep the reader along with the hero’s plight, jumps badly at times, simply because of vague details or incongruous background. Also, forty-two pages is a long time for confusion to run rampant. (1)

Comment: Collected in Gods and Golems (Ballantine, paperback original, 1973). Also of note, perhaps, is that Lester del Rey was also the editor of this magazine.

JERRY SOHL “The Ultroom Error.” A readable but pointless story of a life-germ transplanting process gone wrong. (2)

Comment: Collected in Filet of Sohl: The Classic Scripts and Stories of Jerry Sohl (Bear Manor Media, softcover, 2003). Besides a dozen or so SF novels published later on, Sohl also wrote scripts for Alfred Hitchcock, Twilight Zone, Star Trek and several other TV shows.

ISAAC ASIMOV “Youth.” Novelette. The illustrations give away the ending, obviously meant to be hidden. Two alien cultures meet and initiate friendly relations, but the identity of each cannot be determined from the context. (4)

Comment: Collected in The Martian Way and Other Stories (Doubleday, hardcover, 1955). This is clearly a small gem whose first appearance is hidden away in what is today an sadly obscure magazine.

HENRY KUTTNER “The Ego Machine.” Novelette. A badly confused robot carries on an ecological experiment in adjusting a Hollywood screenwriter’s character to his environment. The wild type of science-fictional comedy that made Kuttner famous. Incidentally, this novelette has only three pages fewer than the feature novel. (5)

Comment: ISFDb suggests that this story was co-written with C. L. Moore. Reprinted in Science-Fiction Carnival, edited by Fredric Brown & Mack Reynolds (Shasta, hardcover, 1953). Collected in Return to Otherness (Ballantine, paperback original, 1962).

BRYCE WALTON “To Each His Own Star.” A predictable story of four men lost in space, each wanting to go his own way. (2)

Comment: Reprinted in Space Odysseys: A New Look at Yesterday’s Futures, edited by Brian W. Aldiss (Doubleday, hardcover, 1976). Collected in “Dark of the Moon” and Other Stories (Armchair Fiction Masters of SF #1, softcover, 2011). Walton was the author of several dozen short stories between 1945 and 1969, but only one novel, one of the Winston series of YA books, which I’m sure explains why he’s a Little Known Author today.

– June 1967
REVIEWED BY MIKE TOONEY:

(Give Me That) OLD-TIME DETECTION. Summer 2020. Issue #54. Editor: Arthur Vidro. Old-Time Detection Special Interest Group of American Mensa, Ltd. 36 pages (including covers). Cover image: Unusual Suspects.

   The latest issue of OLD-TIME DETECTION (OTD) continues to maintain the high quality it has always enjoyed. Editor Arthur Vidro’s choices of material are, as usual, excellent; the world of classic detective fiction, long neglected, gets a new lease on life with every number.

   Indeed, nothing says “classic detective fiction” like commentary from Edward D. Hoch, an expert on the subject as well as a shining example of how to write it. Vidro reproduces two introductions by Hoch to mystery story collections.

   Ed Hoch’s fiction output is the envy of many writers, almost always matching quantity with quality. In his review of Crippen & Landru’s latest themed collection of Hoch’s stories, Hoch’s Ladies, Michael Dirda says it well: “His fair-play stories emphasize a clean, uncluttered narrative line, just a handful of characters, and solutions that are logical and satisfying. Each one sparks joy.”

   Next we have a valuable history lesson by Dr. John Curran concerning the earliest periods of the genre, “‘landmark’ titles in the development of crime fiction between 1841 and the dawn, eighty years later, of the Golden Age,” especially as reflected in the publications of the Collins Crime Club.

   Following Dr. Curran is a collection of perceptive reviews by Charles Shibuk of some pretty obscure crime fiction titles; for instance, have you ever heard of Brian Flynn’s The Orange Axe (“highly readable, steadily engrossing, well-plotted, and very deceptively clued”) or James Ronald’s Murder in the Family (“an absolute pleasure to read from first page to last”)?

   Cornell Woolrich was definitely not ignored by Hollywood, as Francis M. Nevins shows us in his continuing series of articles about cinema adaptations. The year 1947 was a rich one for films derived from Woolrich’s works — Fall Guy, The Guilty, and Fear in the Night — but, as Nevins indicates, the quality of these movies is highly variable.

   William Brittain is a detective fiction author who has been undeservedly “forgotten” of late, but a reprinting of one his stories (“The Second Sign in the Melon Patch”, EQMM, January 1969) shows why he should be remembered: “She wondered if anyone in Brackton held anything but the highest opinion of her would-be murderer.”

   Charles Shibuk returns with concise reviews of (then) recently reprinted books by John Dickson Carr, Agatha Christie, Anthony Dekker, Ngaio Marsh, Ellery Queen, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Josephine Tey.

   Dr. John Curran also returns. The world’s leading expert on Agatha Christie tips us off as to developments in Christieworld: a new short story collection, the closure of the long-running play The Mousetrap as well as the cancellation of the in-person Agatha Christie Festival and uncertainty about the release date for Kenneth Branagh’s version of Death on the Nile due to the beerbug, the publication of a new non-fiction book focusing on Hercule Poirot, and a radio play version of a previously unperformed non-criminous production by Dame Agatha dating from nearly a century ago.

   This is followed by a collection of smart reviews by Jon L. Breen (The Glass Highway by Loren D. Estleman), Amnon Kabatchnik (The Man in the Shadows by Carroll John Daily), Les Blatt (The Chinese Parrot by Earl Derr Biggers), Ruth Ordivar (The World’s Fair Murders by John Ashenhurst), Arthur Vidro (The Kettle Mill Mystery by Inez Oellrichs), and Thor Dirravu (The Ten Faces of Cornell Woolrich, a collection).

   Next we have Martin Edwards’s foreword to Joseph Goodrich’s collection of essays entitled Unusual Suspects (2020), which, Edwards is delighted to relate, “benefits from a quirky unpredictability and from being a mine of intriguing nuggets of information.”

   Rounding out this issue are the readers’ reactions and a puzzle page, the latter a snap only if you’re thoroughly familiar with the life and career of Hercule Poirot.

   Altogether this is a most satisfying issue of OLD-TIME DETECTION.

If you’re interested in subscribing: – Published three times a year: spring, summer, and autumn. – Sample copy: $6.00 in U.S.; $10.00 anywhere else. – One-year U.S.: $18.00 ($15.00 for Mensans). – One-year overseas: $40.00 (or 25 pounds sterling or 30 euros).

Payment: Checks payable to Arthur Vidro, or cash from any nation, or U.S. postage stamps or PayPal.

Mailing address: Arthur Vidro, editor, Old-Time Detection, 2 Ellery Street, Claremont, New Hampshire 03743.

Web address: vidro@myfairpoint.net

STARTLING STORIES, September 1952. Overall Rating: 1½ stars.

JACK VANCE “Big Planet.” Complete novel [92 pages]. A long and tedious account of the adventures of a commission from Earth as they make their way from their wrecked spaceship to their Enclave on Big Planet. Vance does a good job in describing the numerous cultures on this heterogeneous planet, but the effect is lost under the weight of so many. An adventure story only. (1½)

Comment: This was expanded (perhaps) and published in hardcover by Avalon Books (1957), then in paperback as half of an Ace Double (D-295; 1958). Reprinted in novel form several times since. I am aware that many readers consider this a minor classic, and I knew so even at the time, but it just didn’t click for me.

ROGER DEE “The Obligation.” Novelet. A fairly interesting story of Man’s first meeting with Alien, taking place during a wild storm on Venus. Ending tries to make up fo a lack of solid characterization. (3)

Comment: Reprinted in Adventures on Other Planets, edited by Donald A. Wollheim (Ace, paperback, 1955).

R. J. McGREGOR “The Perfect Gentleman.” An effort to show the effects of being lost in space on a woman’s repressed sexuality. (1)

CHARLES E. FRITCH “Night Talk.” Obvious parallel to Christmas story on Mars. (1)

Comment: Collected in Crazy Mixed-Up Planet (Powell, paperback, 1969).

– June 1967

ELLERY QUEEN’S MYSTERY MAGAZINE, November 1966. Overall Rating: 2½ stars.

MICHAEL INNES “The End of the End.” Short novel. Sir John Appleby solves a murder committed in a snowbound English castle. Method of murder quite contrived to make it appear suicide. (3)

Comment: According to the cover, this was the first publication of this story. Based on my short description of it, it’s one of my favorite sub-genre of traditional Golden Age stories, even though published way later, in 1966.

EDWARD D HOCH “The Spy Who Walked Through Walls.” Rand of Concealed Communications. Mystery of disappearing reports has a very obvious solution. (2)

Comment: While always solid tales, Hoch’s Rand stories have never seemed as memorable to me as those with either Dr. Sam Hawthorne or Nick Velvet.

FRANK SISK “The Face Is Familiar.” Crooked con becmes involved in bank robbery by his cousin. (3)

JONATHAN CRAIG “Top Man.” A gangland story based on an eventually obvious pun. (2)

HENRY SLESAR “The Cop Who Liked Flowers.” A detective story with heart. (5)

Comment: The highest ranked story of this issue. Apparently a sentimental story that caught my fancy.

MIRIAM ALLEN deFORD “At the Eleventh Hour.” Another execution story: no surprises. (1)

PAMELA JAYNE KING “Nightmare.” Clever short-short [2 pages] by junior high stoudent, about a girl in trouble. (4)

Comment: This was this issue’s First Story, a standard feature of the magazine. up through and including today. While I enjoyed this one, the young author never published another work of crime fiction.

PHYLLIS BENTLEY “Miss Phipps and the Invisible Murderer.” Miss Phipps solves a church killing in the last four paragraphs [of a 13 page story]. (1)

Comment: Miss Phipps was a writer of detective novels who kept stumbling onto mysteries to solve. Her earliest appearance was in 1937, but none of her many others appeared until 1954. Several were collected in Chain of Witnesses: The Cases of Miss Phipps (Crippen & Landru, 2014), but I do not know if this is one of them.

J. F. PEIRCE “The Pale Face of the Rider.” German artists painting save daughter. Weird. (2)

GEORGES SIMENON “Inspector Maigret Deduces.” First US publication. Maigret solves train murder from studying character. No real clues. (2)

Comment: This was, of course, Maigret’s usual way of solving crimes.

JAMES CROSS “The Hkzmp gav Bzmp Case.” The spy story is demolished by this inane nonsense. Title is code for “Spank the Yank.” (3)

VINCENT McCONNOR “Pauline or Denise.” Murder of his two sisters leaves playboy trapped in asylum. Distinctly French. (4)

HOLLY ROTH “The Game’s the Thing.” An interesting anticipation of Dr. Berne, but story may be overshadowed. (3)

Comment: Dr. Berne was the author of Games People Play: The Basic Handbook of Transactional Analysis (1964). This was Holly Roth’s last published story; she died in 1964.

LAWRENCE TREAT “M As in Mugged.” Lieutenant Decker’s 60th birthday. A comparison of present and past police methods, with experience the key factor. (1)

REVIEWED BY MIKE TOONEY:

(Give Me That) OLD-TIME DETECTION. Spring 2020. Issue #53. Editor: Arthur Vidro. Old-Time Detection Special Interest Group of American Mensa, Ltd. 34 pages (including covers). Cover image: Ellery Queen and Nikki Porter.

   By retrieving and curating interesting facts and arcana about the detective story, Arthur Vidro renders an invaluable service to today’s readers, with the latest issue of Old-Time Detection (OTD) nicely continuing that tradition.

   The primary focus this time is on the writer(s)-cum-fictional character, multimedia star Ellery Queen (“the American detective story,” in Anthony Boucher’s estimable estimation). While EQ’s popularity has diminished over time, “his” relevance to the development of the genre worldwide never will, placing “him” in that rarified pantheon of mystery writers that includes Edgar Allan Poe, who originated modern detective fiction; Conan Doyle, who expanded and popularized it; and that bevy of authors, many of them female, who profited most from it.

   Among the varied attractions of this issue: Charles Shibuk’s article on the current trend in trade-paperback republications of classic detective fiction … commentaries by the world’s foremost Agatha Christie expert Dr. John Curran on the recent death of Christie specialist artist Tom Adams; the deplorable film adaptations of her works (“the only murder that was committed during the two hours was that of the legacy of Agatha Christie; and that the perpetrator was the BBC”); a card game (“an entertaining way to pass the time”); a coin celebrating the centenary of The Mysterious Affair at Styles accompanied by a reissue of the novel; and a prospective Agatha Christie film festival … Vidro’s reprint of Edward D. Hoch’s own introduction to his collection of Simon Ark stories (who, says Hoch, “owes a far greater debt to Father Brown than to Carnacki and the other occult sleuths”) … and Jon L. Breen’s contemporary review of Douglas Greene’s The Dead Sleep Lightly, a collection of radio plays by John Dickson Carr (“probably the greatest of all radio suspense scripters”).

   Still more attractions in OTD: Marvin Lachman’s compact biography of Ed Hoch (who “did not achieve the quantity of his writing by sacrificing quality”), with Hoch returning the favor to Lachman (“arguably our greatest mystery short story fan and proponent”) … Jon L. Breen’s review of Murder on Cue (“a case that is resolved most fairly and satisfactorily in an old-fashioned gathering of the suspects”), its chief attraction in his view being its theatrical background … Dale Andrews’s discovery of Ellery Queen’s “Easter Eggs,” by which he means the Christian holiday … and J. Randolph Cox’s account of how he first became aware of EQ and his life and subsequent encounters, personal and professional, with Ellery over the years.

   Further into this issue: Ted Hertel’s article about the two-and-only appearances that EQ made in Better Little Books … Arthur Vidro’s sidebar about that indefatigable Ellery Queen researcher, Mike Nevins (“nearly all roads [to EQ scholarship] lead to or through Nevins”) … Marv Lachman’s first and life-long encounters with EQ (“I loved Queen’s appeal to the brain”) … a memorable anecdote by book collector Andrew J. Fusco, a Sherlockian, about his meeting with Fred Dannay … J. Randolph Cox’s in-depth exploration of the religious underpinnings of the fiction by the two cousins known as Ellery Queen … Les Blatt’s review of The Chinese Orange Mystery (“The crime that was backwards”) … Ted Hertel’s take on The Misadventures of Ellery Queen (“I was not disappointed”) … this issue’s fiction piece, EQ’s radio play “Adventure of the Cellini Cup,” which, as Arthur notes, leaves somewhat to be desired as a fair play mystery … Michael Dirda’s pithy reviews of new fiction and nonfiction (“there’s plenty of excellent entertainment to be found in the Golden Age rivals of Dame Agatha”) … and finishing up with readers’ responses and a puzzle, this one with an alimentary theme.

   As usual, Old-Time Detection is always able to provide what classic detective fiction fans crave.

   A review of the previous issue of OTD is available on Mystery*File here.

   —

If you’re interested in subscribing: – Published three times a year: spring, summer, and autumn. – Sample copy: $6.00 in U.S.; $10.00 anywhere else. – One-year U.S.: $18.00 ($15.00 for Mensans). – One-year overseas: $40.00 (or 25 pounds sterling or 30 euros).

Payment: Checks payable to Arthur Vidro, or cash from any nation, or U.S. postage stamps or PayPal.

Mailing address: Arthur Vidro, editor, Old-Time Detection, 2 Ellery Street, Claremont, New Hampshire 03743.

Web address: vidro@myfairpoint.net.

WILLIAM SCHOELL “Trouble in Tinseltown.” Short story. Paul Burroughs #1. First published in Espionage Magazine, December 1986. Probably never reprinted.

   Espionage Magazine was a very professional looking magazine published in the late 1980, but also a short-lived one. It lasted for less than three years, from December 1984 to September 1987, and only 14 issues. It was more or less bi-monthly until this issue (December 1986) but the next one didn’t come out until May of the next year, and was 8″ by 10″ instead of digest-sized, with only 100 pages instead of 164. I don’t believe I’ve ever seen any of those.

   I’ll add a listing of the contents below. I’m familiar with only one of the authors, that being Bill Knox, who wrote many mysteries taking place in and around the sea for Doubleday’s Crime Club here in the US. William Schoell, who wrote three other short stories for the mystery digests, may be the author of many horror novels and is an expert on old movies whose Wikipedia page is here.

   But when I picked his story from this issue to read. I have to admit it was the word Tinseltown in the title that caught my eye, not his name. And even better, as I quickly discovered, it’s a PI story. And even more than that, it’s an impossible crime tale too.

   The PI is Paul Burroughs, a fellow whose field of expertise is industrial espionage, which first of all stretches the content of the magazine more than I expected, and the industry in particular was even more surprising: the production set of a TV soap opera. Being stolen are the advance plans for the upcoming season. Once leaked to the fan press, the twists of the on-air drama mean no more cliffhangers endings.

   Access to copy machines are limited, and everyone is thoroughly searched as they leave the building. The advance story boards are so complicated that no one could memorize them in a very short amount of time. Where is the leak coming from, and who’s responsible?

   I’m not sure if I’m convinced that the solution would hold up in the real world, and I apologize that this one story is probably the least representative of the magazine throughout its entire existence, but the light, if not hilarious take on the world of soap opera writing was fun to read.

   

    — From The Adventure, War, and Espionage Fiction Magazine Index, edited by Phil Stephensen-Payne:

Espionage Magazine [v2 #5, December 1986] ed. Jackie Lewis (Leo 11 Publications, Ltd.; Teaneck, NJ, $2.50, 164pp, digest, cover by Gail Garcia)3 · Publisher’s Page · Jackie Lewis · ed
6 · About People · Anon. · bg
8 · About Books · Brian L. Burley · br
12 · About Video · Carl Martin · mr
15 · About Other Things… · Ernest Volkman · cl
18 · Letters to the Editor · [The Readers] · lc
22 · The FBI · Rose M. Poole · ar
28 · The Red Boxes · Leo Whitaker · ss
35 · Churchkill · Chuck Meyer · ss
44 · Betrayal · K. L. Jones · vi
48 · Trouble in Tinseltown · William Schoell · ss
62 · Interview: Bruce Boxleitner · Stanley Wiater · iv
70 · Last Time Out · Rolle R. Rand · ss
82 · A Spy Is Born · Gene KoKayKo · ss
88 · Black Light · Bill Knox · ss
108 · Puff the Magic Dragon · Michael W. Masters · nv
130 · Hello Again · David P. Grady · ss
136 · Holy War · Frank Laffitte · ss
143 · Who Dares Tell the President? · Charles Naccarato · ss
155 · On File…: Luckless Lydia · Richard Walton · cl
159 · Game Pages · Anon. · pz

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