Category Archives: Synopsis

William Sambrot’s The Saboteur

suspense_3Stories from Suspense Magazine #3 Fall 1951: “The Saboteur” by William Sambrot

The third issue of Farrell Publishings’s Suspense Magazine starts with a bang. William Sambrot’s tale of espionage and terrorism remains timely. His description of a terrorist organization, their methods and their targets strikes a chilling sense of familiarity nearly 70 years later.
Special thanks to Alec Cizak for his insightful review of The Digest Enthusiast book six on Amazon this past Monday. Alec’s latest book Down on the Street was just published by Down & Out Books.
For those who have yet to join the rest of us digest enthusiasts, you can now purchase a postage paid bundle of all six volumes for $49.99 on eBay.

Galaxy Magabook No. 3

magabook_3Galaxy Magabook No. 3 by Theodore Sturgeon, 1963, cover art by Gray Morrow

Baby is Three: “The boy went to the psychiatrist because he needed help—but his problem was something no analyst could handle. He knew his name—but not his identity. He knew what he did—but not what he was. Worst of all, he didn’t know how many of him there were.”

. . . And My Fear is Great: “The fear that lurked inside him was a demon that drove him to desperate measures of hatred and terror. It promised him all the riches of the earth. It carried him to a God- like power—until it met an even more frightful monster outside!”

Ambrose Bierce’s A Horseman in the Sky

horseman_skyStories from Suspense Magazine #2 Summer 1951: “A Horseman in the Sky” by Ambrose Bierce

Bierce’s stories feature wit, irony and a healthy dose of skepticism about the human condition. Perhaps his most famous short story “An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge” was first published in The San Francisco Examiner. The Examiner was also the original source for this story, a fine example of the writer’s talent exploring a favorite theme of his: war—in this case the American Civil War.

F. Hugh Herbert’s Perfectly Calm Murder

KISS-2Stories from Suspense Magazine #2 Summer 1951: “The Perfectly Calm Murder”
by F. Hugh Herbert.

A man who has just murdered his much older wife, recounts how he came to the deed and where he slipped up in getting away with it.

Herbert was a playwright and screenwriter. His play, Kiss and Tell ran on broadway for years and was made into a film, released in 1945, starring Shirley Temple as Corliss Archer. A sequel, A Kiss for Corliss (1949), retitled as Almost a Bride, was scripted by Howard Dimsdale. The sequel co-stared David Niven and was Temple’s final film at the age of 21.

Richard Lewis’ “Maiden Beware”

Stories from Suspense Magazine #2 Summer 1951: “Maiden Beware” by Richard Lewis.

The first issue of Suspense announced, “In each issue, the magazine Suspense will present one of the distinguished scripts [from the radio program] which have made broadcasting history.”

The second issue’s radio script was the episode first broadcast on July
27, 1944 as “The Black Shawl” starring Margaret O’Sullivan and Dame Mae Whitty. A young woman is hired as a private companion and soon finds herself fearing bondage and slavery. Is it just her nerves or is something seriously wrong with her employer?

You can listen to episode #89 online here, along with hundreds of others.

Edith Saylor Abbot: “Evil Is the Night”

Stories from Suspense Magazine #2 Summer 1951: “Evil Is the Night” by Edith Saylor Abbot

Like the previous story in the issue, the tension in “Evil” is built through the imagination of the reader. The fiend may or may not be on-scene, but his rep positively dominates the page. And here again, as in the preceding “Pardon My Terror,” the final twist of “Evil” is unexpected and devastating.

This is the only story listed at Galactic Central for Ms. Abbot.

Thomas A. Coffee’s World Within

suspense_2Stories from Suspense Magazine #2 Summer 1951: “World Within” by Thomas A. Coffee

Billed as a science adventure, Coffee’s story was a hoot. An investigator from the Board of Health quickly finds himself at peril from a Dr. Cyclops-type threat. Their battle inside the clinic soon morphs into a fantastic voyage at the cellular level. It’s a wild contest of wits and an exhilarating adventure ride.

I could find no information online about other stories by Coffee.

Mary Elizabeth Counselman’s Pennies


Aug. 1934

Stories from Suspense Magazine #2 Summer 1951: “Penny Wise, Fate Foolish” by Mary Elizabeth Counselman

The intro from Suspense: “Once voted by readers the most popular short story ever printed in Weird Tales [Aug. 1934], where it appeared under the title “Three Marked Pennies,” this closely knit fantasy is among the finest of the kind. Cited by the writer’s magazines for excellence of plot, it has been dramatized for stage and radio, and reprinted in England, France, Denmark, Norway and Holland. Its most recent appearance was in the Rinehart collection The Night Side, edited by August Derleth.”
Written when Counselman was a teen, “Penny Wise” is a macabre tale that sets its table stakes high: wealth, world travel or death. Where the game began is left a mystery, and its winners may not cash-in the way they expect.

Counselman went on to write for Collier’s, The Saturday Evening Post, Good Housekeeping and others, but her landmark story was one of the three all time most popular in Weird Tales’ long history.