Tag Archives: Mary Elizabeth Counselman

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.