Characters


   Noted TV journalist and news anchor JIM LEHRER died today at the age of 85. Of his many other accomplishments, which will most assuredly be included in the many obituaries appearing now online and again in tomorrow’s newspapers, he also wrote a good many works of crime fiction, most of which I seem to have missed knowing about for all these years.

   The first series of note are the light-hearted adventures of One-Eyed Mack, Oklahoma’s lieutenant governor, who solves mysteries in his spare time. Lehrer also wrote two books about Charles Avenue Henderson, a former CIA agent who wants nothing more to do but retire in peace and quiet, , but who finds that actually doing so is not as easy as he thought.


      The One-Eyed Mack series —

Kick the Can. Putnam 1988

Crown Oklahoma. Putnam 1989
The Sooner Spy. Putnam 1990
Lost and Found. Putnam 1991
Fine Lines. Random House 1994
Mack to the Rescue. University of Oklahoma Press, 2008.


    The Charlie Henderson series —

Blue Hearts. Random House 1993. ISBN 0-679-42216-1.

Purple Dots. Random House, 1998.


      Crim-related standalone novels include —

The Special Prisoner. Random House, 2000.
The Franklin Affair. Random House, 2003.
Top Down: A Novel of the Kennedy Assassination. Random Houose, 2013.

   W. GLENN DUNCAN passed away on May 7th of last year. He was the author of six books about a PI named Rafferty (no first name known). Rafferty, whose home base was Dallas TX, was definitely in the Spenser tradition, but with a Gold Medal sensibility. if that makes sense. (All of his books were paperback originals published by Fawcett Gold Medal. )

   Rafferty is also known for the set of Rules he lives by, and many of them are quoted throughout his adventures. (See below.)


        The Rafferty series —

Rafferty’s Rules (1987). Film: Cinepix, 1992, as Snake Eater III: His Law.
Last Seen Alive (1987)
Poor Dead Cricket (1988)
Wrong Place, Wrong Time (1989)

Cannon’s Mouth (1990)
Fatal Sisters (1990)

W. GLENN DUNCAN Rafferty


   — By W. Glenn Duncan, Jr.

False Gods (2018)


        Rafferty’s Rules, as compiled by Kevin Burton Smith

2) Be lucky. (Wrong Place, Wrong Time)

3) If you’re going to be stupid, see rule number two. (Wrong Place, Wrong Time)

3) When all else fails, sit on your duff and await good news…

5) If a client can afford it, he — or she — pays top dollar.

6) Don’t forget the money.

7) Anxious clients who smile too much are usually trouble.

8) The client has to say out loud what he wants me to do. (Rafferty’s Rules)

8) When in doubt, raise hell and see who complains about the noise. (Last Seen Alive)

9) Dull won’t balance the checkbook.

11) Don’t worry about what’s right, worry about what’s possible.

11) To feel really dumb, be a smart ass once too often. (Wrong Place, Wrong Time)

12) Selling people is antisocial.

13) Get the money up front.

16) When you can’t tell the bad guys from the good guys, it’s time to get the hell out. (Wrong Place, Wrong Time)

17) Never take a client at face value.

18) Ribs should be eaten naked.

19) When you can’t tell the bad guys from the good guys, it’s time to get the hell out. (Wrong Place, Wrong Time)

20) Any hunch so strong that it hurts just has to be right. (Cannon’s Mouth)

21) Grow up and grow old.

22) Don’t skulk. You can get away with anything if you act like you’re supposed to be doing it.

23) You show me a man who always “fights fair” and I’ll show you a man who loses too often.

27) In one way or another, every client lies. (Even Rafferty isn’t sure if this is #27 or not.)

28) Hot coffee and nudity don’t mix. If you spill, it hurts.

33) Always obey your friend, the police man.

34) Sometimes good luck accomplishes more than hard work. (Rafferty’s Rules)

34) When in doubt, dodge. (Wrong Place, Wrong Time)

34) Clients always hold back something back. (Last Seen Alive)

35) If a client appears to be telling you everything, see rule #34. (Last Seen Alive)

39) Smiting the wicked sounds biblical, but mostly it’s good clean fun.

41) When someone mentions how good something “could” be, they’re really telling me how lousy that something is.

47) Wear steel-toed boots when kicking people on their bony parts.

   Sarah Andrews, her husband Damon and son Duncan died in a plane crash that occurred last July 24th. She was the author of eleven mystery novels featuring forensic geologist Em Hansen. Andrews herself had a BA in geology and an MS in Earth Resources from Colorado State University.


       The Em Hansen series —

1. Tensleep (1994)

2. A Fall in Denver (1995)
3. Mother Nature (1997)
4. Only Flesh and Bones (1998)

5. Bone Hunter (1999)
6. An Eye for Gold (2000)
7. Fault Line (2002)

8. Killer Dust (2003)
9. Earth Colors (2004)
10. Dead Dry (2005)

11. Rock Bottom (2012)

   Plus one additional book in what may have been intended to be the start of another series, this one featuring Val Walker, a master’s student in geology:

In Cold Pursuit (2007)

IT IS PURELY MY OPINION
Reviews by L. J. Roberts


PHILIP DePOY – Sidewalk Saint. CPS officer Foggy Moscowitz #4. Severn House, hardcover, December 2019. Setting: Florida.

First Sentence: It doesn’t take long to wake up when there’s a gun in your face.

   Nelson Roan demands that Child Protective Services agent Foggy Moscowitz find his 11-year-old daughter Etta. He’s not the only one looking for her. It seems Etta has perfect memory and knows something she shouldn’t. How do you convince a bunch of bad guys that not even Etta doesn’t know what that is? It’s up to Foggy to find her and keep her safe until he can figure out how to neutralize the danger to Etta permanently.

   Talk about an effective hook. This is not a book where you read a paragraph for a quick try, planning to sit down with it later. This is a book where you read the first sentence and keep reading. The case is intriguing. One wants to know where it’s going, and the plot twists start very early on.

   DePoy not only captures your attention, but his unique descriptions bring the characters to life– “His skin was grey, and his eyes were the saddest song you ever heard, times ten.” His use of language is wonderful– “The camp seemed to have a life of its own. It wasn’t just the leftover smells, cook fires, swamp herbs and tobacco. It was like an eerie echo was still reverberating around the concrete walls. Like old conversations were still hanging in the air. Like ghosts were wandering free.”

   As for Foggy, DePoy informs readers of who he is, his background, and how he got where he is and eventually, the meaning of the book’s title. Foggy’s philosophy may make one think– “I was always a big believer in is. Not should be, or ought to. Is. That’s very powerful, because it is the only reality. Whatever it is you were doing, that was the only thing that truly existed. Everything else was a fantasy.”

   Foggy also makes an insightful self-observation– “To me that was the weird thing about having a reputation as a good guy. Too many people expected me to be good. Which I wasn’t especially. I was just a guy trying to make up for what he’d done wrong.” A nice explanation of the title helps one to understand Foggy better.

   DePoy’s characters, on both sides of the law, are far from ordinary, which is a large part of the appeal. They are quirky, interesting, capable and surprising. His children are refreshingly smart, capable, and astute– “You know you’re too smart for your own good, right?’ I suggested. ‘Oh, yes,’ she said. That’s my main problem.” He really does write some of the best dialogue.

   There is a nice element of mysticism. It doesn’t overwhelm the plot, but instead, it adds another interesting layer too it. In a way, it balances the bad stuff. The turns this story takes are more dizzying than a state fair teacup ride. Not just any author can come up with a plot point to destroy a mobster and his business via a phone call

   Sidewalk Saint is a fun, twisty book filled with quirky, unique characters. There’s violence, but minimal on-page death, but the story also gives one plenty of ideas to consider.

Rating:   Good Plus.


       The Foggy Moskowitz series —

1. Cold Florida (2015)
2. Three Shot Burst (2016)
3. Icepick (2018)
4. Sidewalk Saint (2019)

REVIEWED BY BARRY GARDNER:


GEORGE P. PELECANOS – Down by the River Where the Dead Men Go. Nick Stefanos #3. St. Martin’s, hardcover, 1995. Back Bay Books, trade paperback,July 2011.

   I started the last Stefanos book, Shoedog, but couldn’t get into it and gave up. I’d forgotten why, though, so I gave this one a shot because of the title.

   Nick Stefanos is a PI and pat-time bartender in Washington, DC, He’s an alcoholic, too. One night he ends up down by the river at the end of M Street, passed out in the weeds. He comes to early the next morning,just enough and in time to hear a black man and a white man execute someone, who turns out to be a young black man.

   It’s not something he can forget or let alone, and he begins a journey that ends with more death, and leaves a trail of empty bottles and shattered lies.

   A few things come quickly about this one. First, it’s a great title. Second, I don’t like “heroes” who are as generally screwed up in the head as Stefanos is. Third, Pelecanos writes a mean, effective, dark brand of prose.

   All of which says, I guess, that he is a very good writer, but I don’t like what and who he writes about. I got awfully tit=red of the gulp-by-gulp, bottle-by-bottle accounts of Stefanos’s drinking, and of his repeated pissing in the street.

   I never had much of a taste for noir fiction, and if this isn’t that, it’s close. Nasty stuff, well done, and I think I’ll pass on the next course, thank you very much.

— Reprinted from Ah Sweet Mysteries #19, May 1995.


      The Nick Stefanos series —

A Firing Offens.St. Martin’s 1992.
Nick’s Trip.St. Martin’s 1993.
Down by the River Where the Dead Men Go. St. Martin’s 1995.
The Big Blowdown. St. Martin’s 1996. (*)
King Suckerman. Little 1997. (*)
The Sweet Forever (1998) (*)
Shame the Devil. Dennis McMillan 1999.
Soul Circus (2003) (*)
Hard Revolution (2004) (*)

   (*) May be only cameo appearances.

  JAMES REASONER “War Games.” Novelette. Markham #5. First published in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, April 1982. Kindle reprint, 2013.

   The lead story in the same issue of Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine was a Mike Shayne novelette by Brett Halliday entitled “Deadly Queen,” which is of note especially because it just so happens that was ghostwritten by the same James Reasoner who wrote “War Games.” Between the two stories almost half of the magazine was work by James, one of a very few authors producing the same wordage today of the most prolific pulp writers of the 1920s and 30s. Over a million words a year? That’s a lot of typing!

   “War Games” the last of five stories he wrote about a PI by the name of Markham (not related to the TV detective of the same name). In it he’s called in by the head of a military academy for teenaged boys to find out who left him a threatening note in his desk in his office.

   There are a number of suspects. Colonel Rutledge is the sort of hard-nosed former military officer who runs a tight ship, to say the least. The most obvious suspects are a couple of boys, one of whom he expelled, the other a boy from own he is friends with, and an English instructor who was dressed down publicly for using the book Catch 22 in class.

   The colonel does not mention his granddaughter, who lives on the grounds, but Markham quickly adds her to his own list, as not surprisingly, she is, shall we say, the rebellious type. The story proceeds from here, and it’s a good one.

   The story is too short to learn much about Markham as a person, except that he’s the kind of person who, when he accepts a job, makes sure he finishes it. I was reminded more of Philip Marlowe than I was Sam Spade, say, if you’d like a couple of other PI’s to to compare him to. Even so, more than Marlowe, Markham is a guy I’d like to sit down and have a beer someday, if ever I could.

   And this is the kind of story that makes you wish there were more than just the five. The good news is that three of them are already available as Kindle ebooks, as indicated by a (*) below. What I’d really like to see, though, is a print collection of all five. Back issues of Mike Shayne magazines have become awfully hard to find in the wild, and that issue of Skullduggery? Impossible.


       The Markham series —

All the Way Home. Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, April 1979
Death and the Dancing Shadows. Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine March 1980 (*)

             

The Man in the Moon. Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, April 1980 (*)
The Double Edge. Skullduggery, Summer 1981
War Games. Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, April 1982 (*)

IT IS PURELY MY OPINION
Reviews by L. J. Roberts


GERRY BOYLE – Port City Crossfire. Brandon Blake #3. ePublishing Works, paperback, August 2019. Setting: Portland Maine.

First Sentence: Mid-September, not quite fall but the Maine summer slipping away.

   It’s every policeman’s nightmare. Officer Brandon Blake becomes involved in a foot chase with a suspect known as Thrasher who is wearing a Go-Pro camera and holding a gun. Blake is forced to shoot, but he forgot to turn on his camera and the suspect’s Go-Pro memory stick is gone. Thatch’s wealthy parents and his girlfriend Amanda are out for Blake’s job and his freedom. But being suspended doesn’t stop Brandon from following his instincts as he finds the high-school diary of Danni Moulton which leads him into danger from her boyfriend Clutch.

   This is a first chapter that really works. You meet the principal characters, learn a bit about their life, and, true to the life of a cop, go from low intensity to very high intensity in the blink of an eye realizing just how a bad situation can happen and the reaction afterward. Boyle makes it real and painful.

   One quickly becomes aware of why Boyle’s writing is so good. It’s refreshing to have a police officer who isn’t hardened and cynical, who feels the impact of their action, who doesn’t shrug and walk away but has a very human reaction including self-doubt. And the victim’s parents: Boyle knows how to depict raw emotion.

   Brandon does get himself into situations. An excellent description of him is given–“I know your type, my friend. Once you get on to something, you don’t let go. You ride it into the ground even if you do down with it.”

   All of Boyle’s characters are effective. Kat, Brandon’s partner is a good, strong character and an excellent balance to Brandon as she sees through him and doesn’t pull any punches. His personal partner, Mia, is someone one may particularly come to like. And then there’s Matthew Estusa, the classic gotcha’-style reporter who’ll do whatever it takes for a story is certainly someone who is recognizable.

   Twists and threads: the plot twists are very well done and effective; sometimes shocking. “Friggin’ A, Blake, … Is there anything you don’t wind up in the middle of?” The number of threads counts up to where one finds oneself thinking ‘here is another thread to pull.’

   As the threads begin to weave together, the danger and suspense increase. The plot did seem over-complicated, a twist that was a bit too convenient and a move that, especially for a cop, crept into the realm of being a bit TSTL (too stupid to live). However, those were small things and were easily forgiven in light of there being a great climax and an excellent line toward the end.

   Although the book is listed as A Brandon Black Mystery, Book 1, that’s not strictly accurate as this is the third book in the series following Port City Shakedown and Port City Black and White, both published by Down East Books. It’s worth going back to the beginning.

   Port City Crossfire is a well-done police procedural. It has a tone different from others one might read, and a protagonist who is both complex and compelling. Boyle walks more on the noir side of the street, but in a very restrained way. There is something rather addictive about his writing.

Rating: Good Plus.


       The Brandon Blake series —

Port City Shakedown (2009)
Port City Black and White (2011)
Port City Crossfire (2019)
Port City Rat Trap (2020)

RENNIE AIRTH – The Decent Inn of Death. John Madden & Angus Sinclair #6. Penguin, US, trade paperback, January 2020.

   The first joint adventure of Scotland Yard detectives (recorded in River of Darkness, 1999) took place in 1921. It wasn’t clear in what year The Decent Inn of Deceit happens, but both gentlemen are well settled in retirement., and my sense is that it happens in the early 50s, but I could be wrong about that. It’s certainly post WWII.

   Sinclair appears to be older of the two. They live close by, but Sinclair lives alone and has heart and/or blood pressure problems and is under the medical care of Madden’s wife Helen. He must carry his pills with him at all times, and of course this comes into play later on.

   It begins with a woman with a German background being fond dead in a brook, and in spite of the coroner’s report, her housemate does not think it was an accident. In spite of his age, Sinclair decides to follow up, not exactly believing her, but he knew has a nose for sniffing into things when they just don’t feel right.

   And eventually both he and Madden are trapped in a snowbound house, totally isolated from the rest of the world with a possible murderer, possibly a vicious serial killer, caught in the house with them. The list of those inside includes the owner, a vivacious woman in a wheelchair, her would-be suitor, her chauffeur, her cook, and her personal assistant.

   All of the detective work that gets them into this predicament takes place in the first third of the book. After that it’s an edge-of-seat suspense thriller. If I’m any kind of an example, the last fifty pages or so will fly by in a blur.

   I don’t know if this a book to be read in snowbound New England in January or not. It will only add to the chill. You might want to put off reading this one in the middle of July instead, but read it, I most definitely recommend you do.


      The John Madden & Angus Sinclair series —

1. River of Darkness (1999)
2. The Blood-Dimmed Tide (2004)
3. The Dead of Winter (2009)
4. The Reckoning (2014)
5. The Death of Kings (2017)
6. The Decent Inn of Death (2020)

REVIEWED BY DAVID VINEYARD:


BART PAUL – Under Tower Peak. Tommy Smith #1. Arcade, hardcover, April 2013; paperback, November 2014.

   Early in the season we rode up to the forks to fix the trail above the snow cabin. The winter had been good and the aspens had leafed out down in the canyon at the edges of the meadows. Above The Roughs up in the tamarack pines it was shady and cool once the trail got narrow, and the only sounds were the steady scuff of the horses’ hooves as they kicked up little puffs of dust and the clack when an iron shoe struck a rock as they climbed, the rush of the creek off in the timber, and the breeze through the tamarack limbs.

   It isn’t often when reading a mystery, Western, thriller, or combination of the three I find myself thinking in terms of writers like Ernest Hemingway, Tom Lea, Cormac McCarthy, and Jim Harrison, and at the same time hearing echoes of Craig Johnson, Elmore Leonard, James Crumley, and Stephen Hunter, but Bart Paul’s Under Tower Peak evokes all those and in the best way possible, and manages a sense of humor to boot, as hero Tommy Smith and his pal Lester lie under the stars in California’s Sierra Nevadas.

   “In the moonlight the plane looks like some spacecraft crashed on Mars,” he (Lester) said. “You ever think about outer space?”

   “Not ever.”

   “You see those movies with guys standing all alone on some distant planet a gazillion miles out in deep space with some weird moon on the horizon. But what if we’re the ones on the distant planet and all this just over our heads is deep space, all cold and huge and empty? You ever think that lying here we’re flying a million miles an hour in outer space right now?”

   “One of us is, that’s a fact.”

   Loosely suggested by the crash of businessman adventurer Steve Fossett’s plane in 2008, the novel finds former sniper Tommy Smith and his friend Lester in the high country where they discover the crashed plane of a missing billionaire adventurer. That’s a seemingly harmless enough fact, but it soon turns complicated when Lester takes an expensive Rolex off the dead man and some of the money carried in a bag on the plane. Once back in civilization his less than ethical sometime girlfriend Callie Dean, local tramp with a not quite heart of gold, contacts the family lawyers about a reward and when she shows up dead after talking to a man in a fancy car the stops are out.

   Lester’s moment of greed has let loose the hell hounds as the dead man’s trophy wife and drug lord son, and their legal and illegal cadre of backers are soon threatening Tommy and Lester, and crawling all over the Sierra Nevada’s willing to kill for something related to the dead man and the crash that Tommy has no clue to. Innocent people are dying and Tommy’s one time friend idiot Sheriff Mitch isn’t up to handling the mess he has on his hands.

   As the wife’s attractive lawyer Nora explains why Gerald, the son needs the father to be alive or he could lose a fortune she warns Tommy:

   “…Gerald’s father is dead,” she said. “You saw the body?”

   “He’s dead, alright. Lester and me were as close to the body as I am to you.”

   “That, Sergeant Smith,” she said, “makes you both very inconvenient people to leave walking around.”

   That’s setup enough for a solid tale of adventure, violence, and the hard won values of uncorrupted but not scrupulously honest men vs corrupt and ruthlessly violent ones, but Paul ups the ante not only by his evocative writing, but in his character of his reluctant but all too proficient hero who turns out to be equal parts John Wayne, Robert Mitchum, and James Bond.

   “You scared me when you pulled out the knife,” she said.

   “Probably not much I could have done.”

   She sort of leaned in to me and her heat just poured out. I held the shirt tight around her.

   “I doubt that,” she said. “It was like you were on a mission or something.”

   Even the gun-lore here, which in some writers’ hands is little more than gun porn, is part of the plot and the nature of the protagonist, never overdone, or less than vital to the story at hand.

   It doesn’t take much to guess Smith and Lester are going to find themselves out numbered and out gunned against a small army of dangerous and violent people, but the fact that Paul makes that pay off again and again in ways that evoke the best writers of this kind of tale, James Lee Burke is another name that comes to mind, is remarkable.

   After Gerald’s Cuban friends blow up his cabin Tommy lies in wait on a bridge for them.

   When he was almost halfway across, I reached down and felt for the wire and the big plastic switch and thumbed it on. It was a full second before the generator fired up about a hundred yards away and another second until four big halogen spots flared on in a semicircle behind me and lit up that bridge like noon. The Escalade stopped hard, then started to back up, slow at first, the driver halfblind from the spots. I thumbed off the safety then and squeezed off a round into the road on my side of the bridge just so they could hear the shot and see the dirt kick up. The driver hit the gas, and one back wheel started to spin on the iron plate between the planks. In that bright light I could see the two Cubans in the front seat scrambling as the car drifted ass-first to one side. When the spinning rear wheel hit the planks, it bit into the wood and got instant traction. The driver overcorrected, and that wheel slid off the upstream edge of the bridge. I fired a second shot way over their heads and saw the front tires jerk sideways like they thought they could still back themselves out of trouble. The Escalade tilted, and the left front wheel went over the edge too. The whole thing hovered there for a second until it rolled off the bridge and splashed into the creek on its side. With the front windows open it sunk fast. When I could see the headlights under water, I snapped off the switch, and the spotlights dimmed out and the bridge went dark.

   Naturally at some point Tommy and Lester decide the law isn’t going to take its course in time to save their lives or avenge Callie, who was trying her hand at extortion, and decide to take things in their own hands against the advice of Deputy Sarah Cathcart who tries to protect them both.

   This isn’t just an action suspense piece either, there is a decent mystery and noirish plot and some good detective work along the way putting the complicated ends of the story together with billions of dollars at stake, and something else Tommy can’t guess at drawing all the firepower, legal and not.

   One more good rain and it would be as if that old boy had never hit that mountain, had never missed that pass. It would be like he was just flying around over us forever, trying to find his way home. At least that’s how I like to think of it. And except for me, and now Sarah, any folks who would tell otherwise are dead. We kept on riding past The Roughs and disappeared into the trees.

   Paul is a writers’ writer, literate and literary without beating it over the readers head. Reading this book is not only a pleasure as escapist literature, but in watching a capable and gifted writer practice his craft with precision and style. His work invokes not just the obvious names, but writers like Edward Abbey, Oliver Lange, Newton Thornberg, Will Bryant, A. B. Guthrie, and Clair Huffaker, and that is notable company for any writer, in the genre or out.

      The Tommy Smith series —

1. Under Tower Peak (2013)
2. Cheatgrass (2016)
3. See That My Grave is Kept Clean (2019)

ROBERT LESLIE BELLEM “Suicide Scenario.” Novelette. Nick Ransom #6 (*). First published in Thrilling Detective, February 1948. Collected in Nick Ransom, Confidential Investigator (UPDproductions, Kindle edition, 2018).

   If you thought this was going to be a review of one of Bellem’s “Dan Turner” stories, I can hardly blame you. After all, one source I found says that he wrote over 300 of them. But that’s only a small percentage of Bellem’s output, estimated by that same source to be in the 3000 range, almost all of it in the form of short fiction.

   After appearing in a run of five stories in the early 40s, Nick Ransom took up shop in the pages of Thrilling Detective in 1948 for a run of nine more tales, beginning with “Suicide Scenario” in the February 1948 issue. Previously a Hollywood stunt man with is own business called “Risks Incorporated,” Ransom has decided that business wasn’t good enough and has changed the sign on he door to “Nick Ransom, Investigations.” Hollywood being the town it is, not only have bit players come calling, but so have producers, directors, stars, and “assorted geniuses of every size and gender.

   He doesn’t have a client in this tale, however. While driving back to his office through the streets of Los Angeles, he stopped by a frantic woman who needs him to stop her husband from committing suicide. Which he does, cleanly and efficiently. It turns out (not surprisingly) that there’s more to the story. The man whom he stopped from shooting himself turns out to have been hired to play the part, and then the real husband is found, his face blown away.

   This is not all. There are more twists and turns ahead. This is a real detective story, with lots of clues and red herrings to follow and be sorted out. Plus Bellem’s usual skill with the English language, somewhat toned down from the Dan Turner stories, and no emphasis at all on various parts of the female anatomy which took up a lot of space to describe back in Turner’s Spicy Detective days.

   Well, not completely. Quoting from the first page:

   She came running through the rain, a tall and shapely muffin whose soaked dress plastered itself to her bountiful curves like Scotch tape. Her hair was long and unpent, a black cascade streaming back over her shoulders as she pelted up to me, and the frantic urgency on her mush was enough to give a man the fantods. If ever a tomato was in trouble, this one obviously was.

   —

       The Nick Ransom series —

Peril for Sale (ss) Detective Dime Novels Apr 1940
Danger’s Delegate (ss) Red Star Detective Jun 1940
Hazard’s Harvest (ss) Red Star Detective Aug 1940
Jeopardy’s Jackpot (ss) Red Star Detective Oct 1940
Risks Redoubled (nv) Double Detective Aug 1941
Suicide Scenario (nv) Thrilling Detective Feb 1948
Mahatma of Mayhem (nv) Thrilling Detective Apr 1948
The 9th Doll (nv) Thrilling Detective Aug 1948
Serenade with Slugs (nv) Thrilling Detective Dec 1948
Homicide Shaft (nv) Thrilling Detective Apr 1949
Preview of Murder (nv) Thrilling Detective Jun 1949
Puzzle in Peril (nv) Thrilling Detective Oct 1949
Blind Man’s Fluff (nv) Thrilling Detective Feb 1950
Murder Steals the Scene (nv) Thrilling Detective Aug 1950

(*) There is a Nick Ransom in the story “Short Cut to Vengeance” in the December 1939 issue of Variety Detective as by John Gregory, but the latter is known to be a house name and no one seems to have connected it up with Bellem.

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