Monthly Archives: January 2016

Sax Rohmer’s “The White Hat” in The Mysterious Traveler Magazine #3

Mysterious Traveler #3

Mysterious Traveler #3

Sax Rohmer’s “The White Hat” was first published in the Boston Sunday Globe Fiction Magazine on Dec. 11, 1921. It’s been reprinted numerous times since; selected by Robert Arthur for The Mysterious Traveler Magazine #3 (Mar. 1952)

Here’s the opening line: “Hallo! Innes,” said Paul Harley as his secretary entered. “Someone is making a devil of a row outside.”

The story features two Holmes/Watson-inspired sleuths, Harley, the detective, and Knox, who narrates. Rohmer’s excellent prose carries the story, but the plot is a bit “manufactured,” involving an “accidental” death and Harley’s discovery of the truth.

“Shanks Gets Killed” Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine May 2009

Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine May 2009

Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine May 2009

Leopold Longshanks is the star of a series of mystery stories by Robert Lopresti, featured in AHMM. Simply known as “Shanks,” to friends and fans, he’s a mystery writer of moderate success. “I don’t know anything about solving crimes. I just make things up,” he contends. And yet like some other fictional mystery scribes, crime seems to find him.

Here’s the opening line from “Shanks Gets Killed,” originally published in AHMM May 2009, and reprinted in his story collection Shanks on Crime by Robert Lopresti.

“Leopold Longshanks hated the whole idea of mystery weekends. He wrote detective fiction for a living, and did so with some skill, if he said so himself. So what made mystery fans think they could create new detective stories and act them out, as if they were the real thing?”

For a complete list of Shanks appearances in AHMM as well as other works by the author, visit Rob’s website, and you can buy his current titles here.

Fate Trading Cards

Fate Trading Cards

Fate Trading Cards

In 1996, Fate magazine began a series of 51 collector’s trading cards. They may have been created as a marketing promotion by Fate’s publisher at that time, Llewellyn Worldwide. Whatever their genesis, they make a wonderful collectible.

Although described as a limited-edition set, you can still purchase them new, directly from Fate magazine for $9.95 plus shipping and handling. Mine were sent in a vinyl sleeve and included a cover letter signed by Editor-in-Chief, Phyllis Galde.

The introduction on set one states: “For nearly 50 years Fate magazine has enlightened and entertained its readers with true reports of the strange and the unknown.” A true statement in 1996. Since then, the copy has been updated by hand, with “50” overwritten by “60,” in pen. An unfortunate blemish on an otherwise pristine set of cards.

Dead or Alive?

Mysterious Traveler #3

Mysterious Traveler #3

“I am a murderer, although my victim is still alive, is walking around, breathing deeply, listening to the pounding surf in the screaming wind.”
“I, Murderer—” by The Mysterious Traveler (Robert Arthur)
The Mysterious Traveler Magazine #3, Mar. 1952

Anyone who’s heard Maurice Tarplin give voice to the Traveler on the radio program may well recall it when reading the introductions to each story in the magazine. I know I did. The best achieve the same soothing, ominous, taunting wit of the radio host. The radio dramas are told in third person, but the prose is first person in the Traveler’s first credited story (#1) “The Big Money.” The perspective of the criminal works perfectly, providing a close-up view of his action and emotions. Better yet, the Traveler breaks into the action, taunting the lead character no less than four times over the 13-page story. It’s a terrific, original technique that raises reader engagement and leaves you wishing for more.

Unfortunately, although the Traveler is credited with a tale in issue #2, he never inserts himself into the story to add his unique voice. Thankfully he returns to form by issue #3’s “I, Murderer.” However, I found the story leaned too much on gimmicks, as if Arthur was working a bit too hard to get everything to come out to a satisfying conclusion. Up to this point in the series, issue #1’s “The Big Money” is still my favorite by-the-Traveler-himself tale.

Thallium, Helium, Mediums and Crookes

Borderline #9 Nov. 1965

Borderline #9 Nov. 1965

“At age 41 William Crookes, not yet knighted by Queen Victoria, was a handsome man. He wore a beard in the style of the day, and was an impressive figure, both in physical appearance and intellectual attainments.”
“The Great Sir William Crookes Scandal” (part two) by James Crenshaw
Borderline #9 Nov. 1965

The scandal? The renown scientist’s belief in spiritualism and public support of mediums like D.D. Home.

Coronet June 1950

Coronet June 1950

Coronet June 1950

“Owned by Esquire, Coronet began publication in October 1936 and ended its 299-issue run in March 1971.”

“My most recent Coronet read was the June 1950 issue edited by Gordon Carroll. Coming off a binge of science fiction, this became a refreshing treat. In fact, I do wish we still had a digest title like this on our shelves today. True, the makeup of Reader’s Digest is close, though missing an important component I think, that made Coronet the well-rounded package it once was—some good fiction stories.”
Excerpts from David Burnette’s review of Coronet June 1950 in TDE1.

Before and Afterwards

“The blond man lay on his stomach on the lawn near the edge of the lake, a newspaper spread out on the grass in front of him. A large picture of Nancy Bradford and her small daughter, Sybil, stared up at him. Of course the picture showed Nancy Bradford and her child as they had looked before the murder, not afterwards.”
Opening of “Challenge to the Reader” by Hugh Pentecost, originally titled “Darling, It’s Me” in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, May 1947
The Mysterious Traveler Magazine #3, Mar. 1952

Now available: TDE3

The Digest Enthusiast #3

The Digest Enthusiast #3

Great news, the third edition of The Digest Enthusiast is now available in print and Kindle from Amazon.

The issue leads off with D. Blake Werts’ interview with Heather Jacobs, editor of the handcrafted Big Fiction small press digest from the Seattle area.

Tom Brinkmann is back with an overview of that other Beyond digest; the one about strange phenomena, plus a profile about one of the digest’s writers, Timothy Green Beckley.

New Pulp champion Ron Fortier joins TDE with four reviews and a fast-paced story, “The Rail City Rolls.”

Cover artist Joe Wehrle, Jr. provides a noirish new cover painting, a SF yarn, “Planetstorm” and a look at the Italian digest comic Diabolik (with his portraits of the character’s creators).

Peter Enfantino joins TDE with an overview of Super-Science Fiction and Gunsmoke, along with an all-inclusive synopsis of each issue.

We also welcome Steve Carper to our pages, who provides a terrific piece on Dashiell Hammett’s digests: Bestseller Mystery, Mercury Mystery and Jonathan Press.

Gryphon Press’ editor and publisher, Gary Lovisi returns with a wonderful western yarn, “Old Aunt Sin” with brand new artwork provided by the talented Michael Neno.

Plus, an overview of Dope Fiends trading cards; new reviews of A Blonde for Murder by Walter B. Gibson, Jeff Canja’s Popular Fiction Periodicals reference book, Betty Fedora #2, Paperback Parade #89, Manhunt (Dec. 1953), Children’s Digest (Spring 1972), and Fate #727; and artwork and cartoons by Brad Foster and Bob Vojtko.

Print version, $8.99, includes nearly 100 B&W cover images, 152 pages, 5.5″ x 8.5″ digest.
Kindle version, $2.99, includes nearly 50 color cover images.

PS: If you’d like to help spread the word TDE3 is now available, visit for the full contents list and cover images.

EQMM Feb. 2016

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine February 2016

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine February 2016

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine February 2016
“The Blue Carbuncle” by Terence Faherty
“French Model Upstairs” by Barbara Nadel
“Skinny’s Beach” by Rob Brunet
“Selfie” by Josh Pachter
“Old Sins” by Bill Pronzini
“Beach Men” by Marilyn Todd
“Monsters Are Among Us” by R.T. Raichev
“Murder on the Brighton Run” by Amy Myers

Blog Bytes by Bill Crider
The Jury Box by Steve Steinbock

From the Editor’s Desk
It All Began on Baker Street

From Our Archives
“The Adventure of the Single Footprint” by Robert Arthur

Department of First Stories
“The Last Man” by Keith Hann

Passport to Crime
“A Particularly Unpleasant Incident” by Richard Macker

Editor: Janet Hutchings
Cover art: Stock
112 pages
$4.99 on newsstands

On sale until Feb. 23, 2016
The Mystery Place: Ellery Queen

Thuglit #21

Thuglit #21

Thuglit #21

Thuglit #21 Contents

A Message from Big Daddy Thug
“The Long Drive Home” by William R. Soldan
“Nut Lobby” by Preston Lang
“Being Fred” by Travis Richardson
“The Night They Burned ‘Ol Big Tex Down” by Christopher Fulbright
“Virgin Sacrifice” by David Rachels
“Paradise” by Rena Robinett
“A Nice Pair of Guns” by Nick Kolakowski
“Mercy” by Dale Sandlin
Author Bios

Editor: Todd Robinson
Cover: Roxanne Patruznick
Thuglit Website

Thuglit #21 is available in print and digital from amazon.