Monthly Archives: October 2016

Jay Wallace and the All-Purpose Robot

Here’s a Woody Allen joke, from back when he did standup: “My father worked for the same firm for twelve years. They fired him. They replaced him with a tiny gadget—this big—that does everything my father does, only it does it much better. The depressing thing is, my mother ran out and bought one.”

I can’t help thinking about that joke whenever the notion of robots designed for the household comes up, as it does in Jay Wallace’s story, “All-Purpose Robot,” from Super-Science Fiction (April 1958). Here’s the opening paragraph:

“He felt himself being lifted into the crate, and it was the first feeling he was aware of. He knew at that moment, what he was, being conditioned to know this much, and not much more, until the wires that ran into his brain-box were to be connected. He blinked his new eyes, and found that he could see; and he knew that he could hear; and he felt the tingle of bright elation race through him. He was alive. Only steel, and tin, and plastic, but he knew he was alive; and he sensed that later on, he would be living deeper, and fuller, and more satisfyingly. He closed his eyes, and let them pack him in his crate.”

I didn’t find anything about this author online, this may be his only published story…

Paperback Parade #95

Paperback Parade #9, Oct. 2016

Paperback Parade #95, Oct. 2016

Somehow the folks at Gryphon Books have managed five issues of Paperback Parade this year (so far)! Congrats to Gary and Richard for an impressive year. Paperback Parade #95 is now arriving in subscribers’ mailboxes. Contents below:

“Paperback Talk” by Gary Lovisi
Robert Weinberg (1946–2016) Tribute
“She: The Eternal Romance of Ayesha” by Gary Lovisi
“Matchless Paperbacks” by Richard Greene
“The Pioneers of Porn” by John Keyes
“Curtis Books: The Short-Size Series” by Tom Lesser and Gary Lovisi
“American Vintage (1939–1955) Paperback Family Tree” by Jim Fitzpatrick
“Rooster Cogburn Rides Again” by Richard L. Kellogg
“A Book that Doesn’t Exist” by Wally Green
“Hard-Boiled Paradise: The Paperbacks of Al Fray” by Gary Lovisi

Editor: Gary Lovisi
Designer: Richard Greene
5.5” x 8.5” 100 pages, full color throughout
$15 + postage for a single issue
$40 for three-issue subscription
Gryphon Books

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Nov. 2016

EQMM Nov. 2016

EQMM Nov. 2016

The 75th Year of EQMM celebration continues with the Critical Encounters issue, a toast to mystery reviewers and scholars.

“The Body in the Bookshop” by Simon Brett, art by Allen Davis
EQMM’s First Critics by Jon L. Breen includes Howard Haycroft, Anthony Boucher, Robert P. Mills, and John Dickson Carr
“Murder Under the Baobab” by Meg Opperman with returning characters police constables Mkama and Lubadsa
Ellery Queen—and Enthusiasm by Martin Edwards
From the Editor’s Desk: Let’s Salute the Critics! by Janet Hutchings
“The Master of Negwegon” by Jim Allyn, this issue’s Black Mask entry
The Jury Box by Jon L. Breen comments on Stark House combos Kill Joy/The Virgin Huntress by Elisabeth Sanxay Holding, The Bleeding Scissors/The Evil Days by Bruno Fischer, Leave Her to Hell/Let Me Kill You, Sweetheart/Take Me Home by Fletcher Flora, and No Orchids for Miss Blandish/Twelve Chinamen and a Woman by James Hedley Chase; Max Allen Collins’ “Road to” series and Quarry series; and works by Michael Kurland, Eugène Sues, George Simenon, Basil Thomson, E.R. Punshon, Annie Haynes, Robin Forsythe, and Clifford Orr.
“Windfall” by Ulf Durling, this issue’s Passport to Crime entry, translated from the Swedish by Bertil Falk, adapted by John Pugmire
Blog Bytes by Bill Crider
“Gurus Need Not Apply” by Cathy Lazere (Dept. of First Stories)
“Frank’s Beach” by Scott Loring Sanders
“A Kind of Madness” by Anthony Boucher (From Our Archives)
“An Obliging Cousin” by Dana Cameron, art by Mark Evan Walker
“The Great Detective Reflects” by Art Taylor*

Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine Vol. 148 #5, whole #902, Nov. 2016
Publisher: Peter Kanter
Editor: Janet Hutchings
Senior Assistant Editor: Jackie Sherbow
VP Design & Production: Susan Mangan
Senior AD: Victoria Green
Cover: Balbusso 2012
112 pages
$4.99 on newsstands until November 15, 2016
The Mystery Place: Ellery Queen website

*Art Taylor is interviewed in TDE4.

Who was The Continental Op?

Lüchow's German Cookbook

Lüchow’s German Cookbook

In his introduction “Who Killed Bob Teal?” Ellery Queen offers proof that Dashiell Hammett is indeed The Continental Op. The author signed the story “By Dashiell Hammett of the Continental Detective Agency” in its first appearance in True Detective magazine (Nov. 1924).

But when the editors (assuming this means Frederic Dannay and Manfred Lee) sat down with Hammett to knock back a few at Luchow’s Restaurant on 14th Street in New York City, they plied him to fess up and learned, “The Continental Op is based on a real-life person—James (Jimmy) Wright, Assistant Superintendent, in the good old days, of Pinkerton’s Baltimore agency, under whom Dashiell Hammett actually worked.”

The story was part of the Hammett collection “Dead Yellow Women” Jonathan Press Mystery J29 January 22, 1947, published by Lawrence Spivak and edited by Ellery Queen. Here is the opening:

“Teal was killed last night.” The Old Man—the Continental Detective Agency’s San Francisco manager—spoke without looking at me. His voice was as mild as his smile, and he gave no indication of the turmoil that was seething in his mind.”

Bookjacket with illustration by Ludwig Bemelmans, from Lüchow’s German Cookbook by Jan Mitchell, Doubleday & Co., New York, 1952. The illustration, by co-author and official Lüchow’s illustrator Ludwig Bemelmans, depicts Lüchow’s interior as viewed from mid-air, about 25′ above the “Garden”, looking across a corner of the “Cafe” toward the “Hunting Room”. The captain in charge of the “Heidelberg Room” is facing the posterior side of the piano bench. With lid up, the piano would project back into the “Heidelberg (“New”) Room” – toward 13th Street. Source Wikipedia

Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine Nov. 2016

Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine Nov. 2016

AHMM Nov. 2016

Linda Landrigan opens with a warning to readers: Pay Attention! Misdirection ahead! Alas, her cautions are mere hints of the dangerous reads in store. “The Lineup” offers further detail on the work, but no deceptional clues. Nothing left to do but delve into the issue headlong:

“Death at the Althing” by Stephen P. Kelner, Jr., art by Tim Foley
The Mysterious Cipher by Willie Rose
“A Precautionary Tale” by S.L. Franklin
Mysterious Photograph $25 fiction contest
“Opening Day, 1954” by Diana Deverell
Dying Words acrostic by Arlene Fisher
“Proof” by Eric Rutter
Booked & Printed reviews by Robert C. Hahn of The Mistletoe Murder and Other Stories by P.D. James, The Jealous Kind by James Lee Burke, Night School by Lee Child, and Storm Cell by Brendan DuBois.
“Pisan Zapra” by Josh Pachter, art by Linda Weatherly
“Stone Soup” by David Edgerley Gates
“Iron Chef” by Eve Fisher, art by AJ Frena
The Story That Won: “Out of the Way” by Julie K. Henderson

Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine Vol. 61 #11 Nov. 2016
Publisher: Peter Kanter
Editor: Linda Landrigan
Senior Assistant Editor: Jackie Sherbow
VP Design & Production: Susan Mangan
Senior AD: Victoria Green
Cover: UWMadison/
112 pages
$4.99 on newsstands until November 15, 2016
The Mystery Place: Alfred Hitchcock website

Ellery Queen Selects: Coming this January in TDE5

Tyrannosaur Faire by Steve Carper

Tyrannosaur Faire by Steve Carper

Steve Carper has turned in a terrific article for The Digest Enthusiast about the Ellery Queen Selects series. It’s a fascinating read, loaded with background information about Frederic Dannay’s pet project with highlights about each edition. The article is in layout now—7600 words—and will run about 22 pages.

The past is Steve Carper’s future. He created the Flying Cars and Food Pill website to bring the past future of technological marvels back into life. A long-term collector of digests, other paperbacks, mystery and science fiction and about 10,000 other books, he’s writing a new history and bibliography of the seminal f&sf publisher Gnome Press. A collection of his own published science fiction, Tyrannosaur Faire, is available in paper and electronic format.

Steve’s part articles for The Digest Enthusiast include:
“The Dashiell Hammett Digests” (TDE3 Jan. 2016)
“The Galaxy Science Fiction Novels” (TDE4 June 2016)

Calvin M. Knox: Planet of Parasites

Bowman's illo for Calvin M. Knox's "Planet of Parasites"

Bowman’s illo for Calvin M. Knox’s “Planet of Parasites”

“The relief ship detached itself from the orbiting bulk of the vast mother-vessel Ariel and spiralled down through the hazy clouds of the surface of Gamma Crucis VIL. A small group of three was gathered in the communications room of the relief ship: Signalman Radek, Coordinator Harrell, Medic Neale.”

That’s the opening of “Planet of Parasites” by Calvin M. Knox (aka Robert Silverberg), that kickstarts the ninth issue of Super-Science Fiction (April 1958). The novelette is illustrated by frequent SSF contributor Bowman.

Santa Barbara Bookstores

Had the pleasure to visit several bookshops in Santa Barbara last week. Here’s an overview. There are others, but these are the ones that appealed to my crime fiction bent.

Chauser's Bookstore

Chauser’s Bookstore

Chauser’s Bookstore
By far the largest bookstore I visited, Chauser’s is stocked full of new books with a section for nearly every interest. Established in 1974, open late, it’s located in the uptown area at 3321 State Street.

The Mesa Bookstore

The Mesa Bookstore

The Mesa Bookstore
A hidden gem, one of those tiny bookshops you’re always hoping to find, packed floor to ceiling with mostly used paperbacks. Owner David Karys-Schiff has run the place for well over 20 years. Located at 1838 Cliff Drive, Mesa is a must-see for used book lovers. Here’s a review from the Santa Barbara Independent.

The Book Den

The Book Den

The Book Den
Mostly new, with a few used books, The Book Den is another shop worth a visit. It’s located at 15 East Anapamu Street in the heart of SB’s shopping district, so there’s plenty for fellow travelers to peruse while you while away an hour looking at books.

Lost Horizon Bookstore

Lost Horizon Bookstore

Lost Horizon Bookstore
Specializing in collectible, hardcover used books on art, architecture, photography, and design; as well as antique maps and vintage posters, there are few crime fiction titles on Lost Horizon’s bookshelves. They do have a nice selection of SF titles that include a few Arkham House volumes. Books on comics include almost a dozen of those old paperback Pogo anthologies published by Simon and Schuster. LH is located at 703 Anacapa Street.

Photos: LAR