HARRY LYNCH “The Ape.” John Jaffray #2. First published in Clues Detective Stories, May 1935.

   In spite of reading and collecting pulp magazines for about 40 years, there always seem to be new authors to come across that I’d never heard of before. And of course what that means as well is that I’ve never heard of the characters they wrote about, either. Harry Lynch is such an author, and his series character, private eye John J. Jaffrey, is brand new to me too.

   Jaffray is not in Lynch;s two dozen or so pulp stories; the list below of the ones he is known to be om comes from the online FictionMags Index, and may or may not be complete. (Identifying series characters in old and hard-to-find magazines such as Clues Detective Stories that are over 80 years old is not the easiest thing in the world to do.)

   And given its age, “The Ape,” which is tentatively numbered two in the series, is certainly a relic of its time, but I enjoyed it. If you ever happen to come across a copy, I think you may too, especially if you like mystery stories with murderous apes in them, just as this one does. (No surprise there.)

   It begins with Jaffrey on the trail of a wealthy businessman who has gone missing. Having been hired by the man’s partners, he has found someone to follow who may lead him to the man. But wouldn’t you just know it — the train they are on together derails and the man he is following is killed.

   Obviously what Jaffray does next — you guessed it — he changes clothes with the dead man and under these false pretenses he is picked up by members of the gang who have abducted the man he is searching for, and off they go to their hideout. Then begins the wildest series of events you can ever image. First a dead man om a bier attended to by a beautiful Asian woman. Then a mad man in shackles who wanders around shooting bent pins with a rubber band. Plus another beautiful woman who seems to have been a captive of the gang and who spends much of the story totally nude. Then at last the leader of the gang who is totally blind.

   And of course the ape, who fondly carries the head of a dead man around with him wherever he goes. What more could you want?

      The John Jaffray stories —

Rattlesnake! (nv) Clues Detective Stories Dec 1934
The Ape (na) Clues Detective Stories May 1935
One Hour to Live (nv) Clues Detective Stories Jun 1935
Prevue of Hell (nv) Clues Detective Stories Aug 1935
Fury (ss) Clues Detective Stories Dec 1935
The Hooded Men (nv) Clues Detective Stories Apr 1936
Blast (nv) Clues Detective Stories Jul 1936