JOHN S. ENDICOTT “Double Murder.” Novelette. First published in Thrilling Detective, November 1942. Reprinted in Thrilling Detective Pulp Tales, Vol. 1, edited by Jonathan W. Sweet (Brick Pickle Media, paperback/Kindle, 2019).

   Even though John S. Endicott has dozens of story credits for the detective pulp magazines, it wouldn’t be of much help for me to print a list of then all. “Endicott” was a house name, used as a cover by many authors. For what purpose, I don’t really know, but some of the authors whose stories are known to have been published under that byline are Norman Daniels. George A. McDonald and Donald Bayne Hobart.

   For almost of its run of over 20 years and 213 issues, Thrilling Detective was a second or third-rate pulp magazine, but “Double Murder,” whoever wrote it, is a solid notch better than average. The hero is a police detective named Mortimer Tracy who treats a bum to a meal but is suspended from the force when the guy turns out to be an escaped homicidal maniac who knifes two people to death after absconding with a knife from the diner. (Tracy, whose only appearance this probably is, does his best to be known only as Tracy.)

   Working on his own, Tracy is not that sure about what actually happened, and decides to investigate on his own. The rest of the story is a well-written combination of a hardboiled tale with a puzzle story. The first is to be expected in a pulp story from the early 40s; the second not as much. It makes a story all the more pleasurable when it catches you a bit off guard like this.

   The publisher, Brick Pickle Media, already has three collections such as this one, with (I am hoping) more in the works. Even if not all the stories are as good as this one, the Kindle editions are inexpensive enough that I’m quite sure I will be purchasing and downloading more of them as time goes on.

   Other stories in this first collection are: “Murder’s Mandate,” by W. T. Ballard; :Murder Trap” by Johnston McCulley; and “Shed No tears fo Me” by Frederick C. Davis.