GEORGE HARMON COXE “Murder Picture.” Novelette. “Flash” Casey #8. First appeared in Black Mask, January 1935. Reprinted in The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps, edited by Otto Penzler (Vintage Crime, softcover, November 2007).

   The count above is of Casey’s story appearances in Black Mask. The first novel he appeared in didn’t come out until 1942 when Silent Are the Dead was published by Knopf in hardcover.

   I imagine quite a few of you already know that Casey was a news photographer and that he was sometimes also known as “Flashgun.” He was a rough-edged kind of guy, though. He may have been the only news photographer who carried a gun — not all the time, mind you. Only when the occasion called for it, and that it definitely does in this story when his assistant named Wade is kidnapped by a gang of thugs as a means of getting their hands on a photograph Casey has taken.

   There are too many people in the story, both good and bad, and not many who are in-between. We don’t get to meet the girl Wade is soft on, however, one who Casey thinks is up to her neck in the criminal activities the people she works for are involved with, and that’s too bad, as she’s the only whiff of a feminine presence anywhere in the story.

   I confess that I didn’t (couldn’t) follow the plot all that well, but I didn’t have to in order to enjoy all of Casey’s fast-thinking maneuvers he uses to learn where Wade is being held, and from there on, it’s fast-paced action all the way.