March 2019

SUDDENLY. United Artists, 1954. Frank Sinatra, Sterling Hayden, James Gleason, Nancy Gates, Kim Charney, Willis Bouchey, Paul Frees. Screenwriter: Richard Sale. Director: Lewis Allen.

   This, I am sure, was quite the thriller in its day, and anyone can see why. A gang of three killers commandeers a house overlooking the railroad station in the small town of Suddenly. Why? The President of the United Stated is scheduled to transfer trains there that afternoon, and the three men, led by Army vet John Baron (Frank Sinatra), know this and have been hired to kill him.

   In the Benson household are a grandfather, his daughter-in-law, whose husband died in the war, and his young grandson Pidge. Joining them during the siege is the local sheriff (Sterling Hayden), who has had his romantic overtures to Pidge’s mother rejected. Since the death of her husband she has turned pacifist. Pidge is not even allowed to play with guns.

   All the ingredients of the story that are needed are in the paragraph above, save one. We never learn who hired the assassins, nor why. In terms of the story, it’s not really necessary. The point is, rather, that the Bensons’ house is no longer the safe haven it used to be. Can they improvise and use their brains to find a way to survive?

   I may be among a small minority on this, but I don’t believe the movie stands up very well. To me, the suspense is all but nil, with no real sense of urgency, the dialogue is often didactic and forced, and no, I don’t believe that Frank Sinatra was a very good actor. Lots of personality, yes, but unless he was playing an obvious clone of himself, his performances on the big screen have always seemed affected and overdone to me, and Suddenly is no exception.

by Doug Ellis

   The 19th annual Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention is now just over a month away! The convention will take place on April 12-14, 2019 at the Westin Lombard Yorktown Center in Lombard, Illinois. As usual, we will have auctions on both Friday (April 12) and Saturday (April 13) nights, and this year’s auctions promise to be our best ever.

   The Friday night auction consists of 230 lots of material from the estate of famed collector Robert Weinberg, while the Saturday night auction begins with 100 lots from the estate of Glenn Lord, literary executor for the Robert E. Howard estate, followed by 56 lots from a few other consignors. And more lots will be added to the Saturday night auction at the convention, to include material consigned there by convention attendees.

   Among the highlights in this year’s auctions are:

● The first issue of the legendary pulp, Weird Tales
● A fine copy of the December 1932 issue of Weird Tales, featuring the first appearance of Robert E. Howard’s immortal barbarian, Conan
● Numerous other issues of Weird Tales, including several of the rare bedsheet issues, many in gorgeous condition

● “Not At Night” edited by Herbert Asbury; the 1928 American edition of this British horror anthology series, signed by contributors H.P. Lovecraft and August Derleth as well as by editor Asbury
● Several very scarce issues of the pulp, The All-Story, with serial installments of Edgar Rice Burroughs’ first two John Carter of Mars novels, “Under the Moons of Mars” (in book form as “A Princess of Mars”) and “The Gods of Mars”
● A complete run of the rare pulp, Excitement
● The first edition of Frank Herbert’s landmark SF novel, “Dune”
● Nearly a complete bound run of the pulp Double Detective, including all of the Green Lama issues
● “The Case Against the Comics” by Gabriel Lynn, an extremely scarce 32 page pamphlet published in 1944 by The Catechetical Guild, advocating the censorship of comics, predating Wertham’s “Seduction of the Innocent” (note that an 8 page version was also published, but this is the full version)
● H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Shunned House”, printed in 1928 by The Recluse Press but never bound by them, which Glenn Lord later had professionally bound
● Two of famed SF editor Ray Palmer’s bound copies of the legendary fanzines, Science Fiction Digest and Fantasy Magazine, later signed and inscribed by Julius Schwartz to Bob Weinberg
● 30 copies of the pulp Dime Detective Magazine, many in beautiful condition

● An original Kane manuscript by noted fantasy and horror author Karl Edward Wagner
● 20 of the 21 issues of the scarce Canadian fantasy pulp, Uncanny Tales
● Other rare Canadian pulps and books, including many issues of the Canadian edition of Weird Tales and the only issue of Eerie Tales
● Numerous Robert E. Howard and H.P. Lovecraft items
● Correspondence from SF author Philip K. Dick, signed by him, with great content regarding his “The Man in the High Castle”
● The 1935 Dragon-Fly Press edition of “The Goblin Tower” by Frank Belknap Long, printed in an edition of 100
● Rare U.K. and Australian books and magazines, including the only issue of The Weird Story Magazine, and many publications from Gerald G. Swan and Utopian Publications
● Rare items by Clark Ashton Smith, including “Odes and Sonnets,” “Sandalwood and Other Poems” and “The Hill of Dionysus: A Selection”
● The complete run of the bedsheet pulp Scientific Detective Monthly/Amazing Detective Tales, including the extremely scarce ashcan issue
● “The Dream Weaver: An Edgar Rice Burroughs Chapbook”
● Other rare pulps, including issues of Mind Magic, Flash Gordon Strange Adventure Magazine and People’s Favorite Magazine

● Many early Arkham House books, including Robert E. Howard’s “Always Comes Evening”, Clark Ashton Smith’s “Out of Space and Time” and “Spells and Philtres”, Donald Wandrei’s “The Web of Easter Island” and “August Derleth: Twenty Years of Writing, 1926-1946”
● Signed items by H.P. Lovecraft, A. Merritt, August Derleth, Clark Ashton Smith, Edmond Hamilton, Mary Elizabeth Counselman, Greye La Spina, Daisy Bacon and others
● A complete bound set of the legendary fanzine, The Fantasy Fan, edited by Charles D. Hornig
● Numerous issues of the pulps Action Stories, Fight Stories, Fantastic Novels, The Magic Carpet Magazine, The All-Story and Private Detective Stories
● The complete run of the pulp, Oriental Stories, attractively bound, in slipcase
● The 1938 edition of “The Sign of the Burning Hart: A Tale of Arcadia” by David H. Keller, published in France in an edition of 100 copies; it’s been noted that few of these survived WWII

   The complete auction catalog is now available on our website, and can be downloaded at this link:

   Images will shortly be posted on our website ( and are now also available in the Photos section on our Facebook page — search FB for Windy City Pulp and Paper or go to:

   The website will also soon have details on absentee bidding, for those who can’t make it to the convention.

   But the auctions aren’t our only highlight! Friday through Sunday, our expanded dealer room will be buzzing, bursting with 180 six foot long tables, with roughly 100 dealers from the U.S., Canada and the U.K. displaying pulps, vintage paperbacks, science fiction, fantasy & mystery hardcovers, golden and silver age comics, original illustration art, movie memorabilia and more!

   Our art show will feature a great display of the Burroughs’ art of Mark Wheatley, as well as art from the pulp Planet Stories, pulp and paperback art with a Chicago connection, and a unique display of original photographs featuring pulp authors, artists and publishers. As usual, our film programming, curated by Ed Hulse, will run Friday and Saturday, showing movies and serials based on pulp stories. Our evening programming will include a presentation on John Campbell and Astounding Stories by Alec Nevala-Lee (author of the recent “Astounding: John W. Campbell, Isaac Asimov, Robert A. Heinlein, L. Ron Hubbard, and the Golden Age of Science Fiction”), as well as a panel of pulp experts discussing Fiction House’s beloved SF pulp, Planet Stories.

   And Sunday morning will see the new Director of Publishing for Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., Christopher Paul Carey, leading a panel on the exciting things planned from ERB, Inc., followed by New Pulp Sunday, programming devoted to the vibrant and colorful world of New Pulp organized by Ron Fortier of Airship 27 Productions. And all attendees will get a copy of our fabulous convention book, put out by Tom Roberts of Black Dog Books.

   We hope you’ll join us for the fun and excitement at this year’s Windy City Pulp and Paper Convention! For more info, contact me, Doug Ellis, at

RICHARD SALE “The House of Kaa.” The Cobra #2. Short story. First published in Ten Detective Aces, February 1934. Reprinted in The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps, edited by Otto Penzler (Vintage Crime, softcover, November 2007). Collected in The Cobra: The King of Detectives (Altus Press, 2009).

   The pulp magazines were filled with all kinds of detective heroes, from cops to PIs and pure amateurs, but in their midst were numerous self-appointed vigilantes, long before Don Pendleton and Mack Bolan came along. Such a one is Dean Bradley, a common enough name, but in his guise as “The Cobra,” his penchant for killing the villains he meets is enough to instill the fear of sudden death into the minds of countless others.

   His favorite method of disposing of the various criminals he tracks down? Cobra venom, administered by poisoned darts propelled from a blowgun disguised as a cigarette holder. The miscreants in “The House of Kaa,” busily smuggling priceless jewels from India to England in the stomachs of royal pythons, are no different, and they are hardly a match for The Cobra.

   As for Richard Sale, the author, he later became well known as both a novelist (Lazarus #7) and screenwriter (Suddenly). Everyone has to start somewhere!

        The Dean Bradley aka “The Cobra” series —

Terror Towers (ss) Ten Detective Aces Jan 1934
The House of Kaa (ss) Ten Detective Aces Feb 1934
The Grinning Ghoul (ss) Ten Detective Aces Mar 1934

ERLE STANLEY GARDNER – The Case of the Baited Hook. Perry Mason #16. William Morrow & Co., hardcover, 1940. Reprint editions include Pocket #414, paperback, 1947; Ballantine, paperback, February 1986.

   The hook that reels Perry Mason into this case is a two thousand dollar retainer fee, free and clear and one third of a one-thousand dollar bill, the remaining portion to be handed over if and when his client needs his services on behalf of a masked woman who accompanies the man into Mason’s office.

   Not only does Mason accept the ploy, but it also serves extremely well in grabbing the reader’s interest as well — as intended. I’m always a bit amazed at how complicated Gardner’s book were, delving as deeply into esoteric legal and financial matters as they did, such as (this time around) trust funds — always extremely susceptible to embezzlers and imposters alike — and sales of stock that depend on whether the buyer was actually alive or not at the time transfer.

   Once over the expository hump needed to get all of the ground rules squared away, Baited Hook settles comfortably into a standard Perry Mason tale, filled with legal chicanery and juggling evidence around on the ground, including some Mason creates on his own, much to the chagrin of his nemesis in this book, the stalwart Sgt. Holcomb of the Homicide Squad.

   There is also some banter between Mason and Paul Drake about Della Street’s legs but, alas, no big courtroom scene — unless you count a short hearing in which D.A. Hamilton Burger asks Mason to show cause why he shouldn’t be served a warrant for his arrest.

   Good stuff, in other words!

MARLOWE. MGM, 1969. James Garner James Garner (Philip Marlowe), Gayle Hunnicutt, Carroll O’Connor, Rita Moreno, Sharon Farrell (Orfamay Quest), Kenneth Tobey, Bruce Lee. Screenplay by Stirling Silliphant, based on the novel The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler. Director: Paul Bogart.

   From beginning to end, the movie follows the book almost as closely as it could be done, starting with PI Philip Marlowe being hired by a young girl from Kansas to find her brother Orrin, who has come to L.A. to find work. But even though the story’s the same, and (so I’m told) some of the dialogue is the same, something’s missing. This is not the story Raymond Chandler wrote. Not the way I visualized it. It’s difficult to put into words, but if you watch the trailer below, I think you’ll see what I mean. (Hint: Bruce Lee.)

   What the movie is, to my way of thinking, more than anything else, is James Garner starring in an extended episode of The Rockford Files. It’s his story on the screen, not Chandler’s.

   The story does get darker and a lot more noirish as it nears the end, which is slightly different from the book, as I recall, but not so much as it makes any difference. Not that any of these observations make the movie bad, I hasten to add, and if you’re a Garner fan, I think you very well may love this movie. If you’re a Chandler fan, perhaps not as much.

The opening track on Harry Nilsson’s 1971 LP Nillson Schmillson:


CLEVE F. ADAMS “Flowers for Violet.” Violet McDade #6. Novelette. Published in Clues Detective Stories, May 1936. Cover by Norman Saunders. Never reprinted. Included in Hard-Boiled Dames, edited by Bernard Drew (St. Martin’s Press, 1986). See Comment #1.

   Violet McDade in a night-club was as conspicuous as an elephant in an aquarium.

   With the exception of some tough newspaper women working alongside the likes of Daffy Dill or a female op helping Cardigan, there weren’t a lot of female driven series in the hard-boiled pulps so, like Theodore A. Tinsley’s Carrie Cashin, Violet McDade is a bit different than the usual pulp fare.

   I really don’t know if Violet came before or after Erle Stanley Gardner’s Bertha Cool, but she certainly owes more to Bertha than Rex Stout’s tough smart and attractive Dol Bonner. Violet is fat, rude, and tough as nails, and as “Flowers for Violet” opens she is being rude and pushy in a nice night club called the Green Kitten, where she is trying to dredge up clients for her and her chief operative, Nevada Alvarado, a slim, attractive girl who is getting sore feet dancing with all the stiffs Violet steers toward her.

   â€œ…trouble with you, Nevada, is you don’t appreciate what contacts mean to a couple of female dicks like you and me.” Violet chides her junior partner.

   When Violet spies Assistant D. A. Stephen Wright in the Green Kitten, she smells trouble. Mike Donelli, who runs the club runs illegal gambling upstairs and has a backer in state Senator Hymes, and D.,A. Alvin Foss is no fan of either. Violet smells trouble and maybe money, and she is seldom wrong about either. Donelli is married to Rose, who does a routine clad “mostly in brilliants”, and Violet chides Mike for staying in the rackets.

   â€œYou think a lot of Rose don’t you, Violet?”

   â€œNo, you ape, I don’t. I think she’s an empty headed little tramp. I think she was a sap for marrying a guy like you. But,” … Violet’s greenish little eyes got a far away looks that somehow always brought a lump to my throat … “but Rose’s mother was damn white to me back when she was on top and I was the fat lady in the same circus. I … I kind of owe Rose something for that.”

   And with that, you know the stage is set for fists and bullets to fly as Violet and Nevada find Rose on their doorstep still clad in “mostly brilliants” and the news Mike Donelli just shot someone and is gunning for Rose and then their apartment gets fire bombed.

   True to the breed, Violet plays fast and loose with the law letting the fire department think she and Nevada (sometimes called Mex — political correctness was not one of Adams’ strengths) are trapped in the rubble while they get a head start on the case as she and Nevada and Violet’s little chauffeur Sweeny go gunning for Mike Donelli with a protesting Rose in tow.

   District Attorney Foss has been shot, and it adds up that Donelli probably did it, but nothing is ever that straight up in these things. A Violet and Nevada bull into the case, things and people prove to be more complicated than they expect, especially when Violet’s favorite cop, Lt. Belarski gets his skull clipped by a bullet and Sweeny ends up in jail.

   The detective work is pretty good, although it is less in the classic tradition than the hard-boiled one where every violent encounter leads to another step toward the truth, which involves high level shenanigans, political corruption and ambition, and not so honest fall guys.

   The Violet McDade stories are fun, a bit out of the screwball school as Adams’ Rex McBride stories also were: violent, fast moving, and reminiscent of what many of us started reading hard-boiled pulp fiction for in the first place.

   Adams was in the second rank of the classic hard-boiled school, and that isn’t a shot at his often entertaining tales, just a recognition that he perhaps didn’t work as hard at originality as he might have, and for all his word savagery, he just missed the first rank. That “elephant in the aquarium” is no “tarantula on a piece of angel food cake.”

   But second rank in that particular school wasn’t a bit shabby, and if you are looking for a fat lady to sing this particular aria, you could do worse than to accompany Adams and Violet McDade.

      The Violet McDade series —

Page Violet McDade! (nv) Clues Detective Stories Jan 1935
Shrinking Violet (nv) Clues Detective Stories Jul 1935
Mexican Bargain (ss) Clues Detective Stories Aug 1935
Framing the Picture (nv) Clues Detective Stories Nov 1935
Vision of Violet (nv) Clues Detective Stories Feb 1936
Flowers for Violet (nv) Clues Detective Stories May 1936
The Voice (nv) Clues Detective Stories Sep 1936
Compromising Violet (nv) Clues Detective Stories Oct 1936
Important Money (nv) Clues Detective Stories Dec 1936
Violet to Orchid (nv) Clues Detective Stories Feb 1937
Murder City (nv) Clues Detective Stories Apr 1937
The Black Door (ss) Clues Detective Stories Sep 1937
Bloody Bullets (nv) Clues Detective Stories Nov 1937

JAMES T. DOYLE – Deadly Resurrection. Dan Cronyn #1. Walker & Co., hardcover, 1987. No paperback edition.

   Why is it, I wonder, that there are so few PIs working the Washington DC area? Besides Dan Cronyn, the hero of this book and his first adventure, I can think of only two or three others. The nation’s capital would seem to be fertile ground for a whole slew of cases for PIs to be swallowed up into.

   Cronyn, whose roots include an ex-radical past, is in trouble from the first line on, when he finds the body of the man blackmailing his female client. A better than average detective story follows, and luckily (though not perhaps for him) Cronyn is the best possible person to solve it.

–Reprinted in revised form from Mystery*File #16, October 1989.

Bibliographic Note:   James T. Doyle wrote one other mystery, that being Epitaph for a Loser (Walker, 1988), but alas, Dan Cronyn did not appear in it.

  LESTER del REY, Editor – Best Science Fiction Stories of the Year: Second Annual Edition. E. P. Dutton, hardcover. 1973. Ace, paperback, December 1975.

   #7. ROBERT L. DAVIS “Teratohippus.” Novelette. First appeared in Worlds of If, November-December 1972. Never reprinted elsewhere.

   If you looked to see who the author of this story was and couldn’t recognize his name, all is forgiven. No one else reading this review will have either — you can bet on that. This was the only SF story that Davis ever had published. The only other story that comes close was “Once Upon a Were-wolf,” which appeared in the November 1969 issue of an obscure horror magazine entitled Coven 13.

   A teratohippus is a gigantic slug-like creature the size of a football field which by means of several external layers of armored exo-skeleton is the only creature that can survive the now frigid climate of the once totally temperate planet of Betul.

   Not much is known about the creatures, but for some as yet unlearned reason they seem to take long migratory treks across some of the most inhospitable expanses of the planet. and of course when a skimmer filled with members of a scientific exploration from Earth is forced to come down in such an area, they do not know how lucky they are that a teratohippus is making such a journey nearby.

   Perhaps I am revealing more than I should, but I will tell you anyway. What they do is to find a refuge in a cavity inside the creature. What’s more, they discover they can change the direction the teratohippus is going from working inside it. This causes a huge dilemma, of course. Saving their lives will come at the expense of the creature’s, not to mention its soon to be born offspring.

   I can’t tell you that I believe all of the alien biology that’s involved, but that’s only the superficial trappings of a good, solidly-told story that happened to catch Lester de Rey’s eye, if no one else’s at the time. And now mine as well, even at this late date.


Previously from the del Rey anthology: R. A. LAFFERTY “Eurema’s Dam.”


SIMON HAWKE – The Dracula Caper. Timewars #8. Ace, paperback original, 1988.

   Monsters (werewolves and vampires) created genetically in the future begin turning up in Victorian England. Arthur Conan Doyle and H. G. Wells join with the time-traveling Time Commandos to eradicate the plague.

   The novel is prefaced by several pages of a Time Wars Chronology which I read with about as much interest as I read the potted summaries of fiction in standard literary histories.

   This will probably interest the science fiction fan more than the mystery fan, but the crossover fan (like me) may not find this well enough written to engage either side of his dual personality. Maybe if I had read the eight earlier volumes I would have appreciated this more, but dropping in on it, well along in the series, I found it something of a bore.

   Maybe it’s time to re-read Don Sturdy or Bomba the Jungle Boy.

— Reprinted from The French Connection #75, November 1989.

       The Time Wars series –

The Ivanhoe Gambit (1984)
The Timekeeper Conspiracy (1984)
The Pimpernel Plot (1984)
The Zenda Vendetta (1985)
The Nautilus Sanction (1985)
The Khyber Connection (1986)
The Argonaut Affair (1987)
The Dracula Caper (1988)
The Lilliput Legion (1989)
The Hellfire Rebellion (1990)
The Cleopatra Crisis (1990)
The Six-Gun Solution (1991)

EDITORIAL NOTE:   From Wikipedia: “TimeWars is a series of twelve science fiction paperback books created and written by author Simon Hawke beginning in 1984. The story involves the adventures of an organization tasked with protecting history from being changed by time travelers. In the world of the series, many people and events considered fictional are historical, and vice versa; the action of each book in the series weaves in and out of the events of a famous work of literature. For example, in the first book in the series, time travelers contesting the fate of Richard I of England become caught up in Walter Scott’s Ivanhoe.”

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