Tag Archives: Suspense Magazine

Fritz Leiber’s Dark Vengeance

suspense_3The cover story of Suspense Magazine #3 Fall 1951, and the last of its 14 stories in this issue, is “Dark Vengeance” by Fritz Leiber, Jr. It opens with another beautiful illustration by the same artist who drew the cover. Leiber’s famed series characters Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser, star in this novelette about a powerful priestess who controls an army of black raptors. A terrific read, ending the issue on a high note.

Morris Cooper’s Pattern for Dying


Edgar Wallace Mystery Magazine Oct. 1966 with Morris Cooper’s “Nine Isn’t Eleven”

Stories from Suspense Magazine #3 Fall 1951: “Pattern for Dying” by Morris Cooper

A revenge story—at least perceived revenge—in which an ex-con returns to his victim, whom he blames for his crime and his subsequent conviction. Cooper’s 20-year writing career includes work in numerous pulp magazines and occasional appearances in the digests like: EQMM, London Mystery, Edgar Wallace, and The Saint.

Image from Galactic Central.

Sir Arthur T. Quiller-Couch’s The Seventh Man


Mystery and Detection #1 1934

Stories from Suspense Magazine #3 Fall 1951: “The Seventh Man” by Sir Arthur T. Quiller-Couch

This beautifully written story features a team of six men trapped in an Arctic winter, trying to maintain order and sanity while they await the sun and its associated rescue. Quiller-Couch (1863–1944) was an English author, poet, anthologist, and literary critic, also known as simply “Q.” He held several public offices and advocated for reform of the English school system. He was Knighted in 1910.

“Seventh Man” previously appeared in Mystery and Detection #1 in 1934. Image from Galactic Central.

Charles H. Gesner’s How Can You Be Reading This?

amazing_stories_194703Stories from Suspense Magazine #3 Fall 1951: “How Can You Be Reading This?” by Charles H. Gesner

A story built around a wacky job function—expungers—those tasked with erasing anyone they’re sent to call on. Perhaps it was prophetic as this appears to be Gesner’s only published work besides a letter of comment published in Amazing Stories (March 1947).

Image from Galactic Central.

Talmage Powell’s Terror in the Sun


Manhunt May 1957 with Talmage Powell’s “Midnight Blonde”

Stories from Suspense Magazine #3 Fall 1951: “Terror in the Sun” by Talmage Powell

Talmage Powell wrote hundreds of stories for pulps and digests, including Ellery Queen, Alfred Hitchcock, Mike Shayne and Manhunt. “Terror” centers on a father’s hunt for his son’s killers in the sweltering heat of the Everglades. Armed with a shotgun, tension builds as the search progresses; exploding when he finds them. Terrific story.

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Don Mardick’s Not a Leg to Stand On


Hollywood Detective Dec. 1949 with Don Mardick’s “Needle in the Haystack”

Stories from Suspense Magazine #3 Fall 1951: “Not a Leg to Stand On” by Don Mardick

Another five-star story. A prison break sparks an encounter between a cop, an insurance investigator and the escapee’s brother. Loot, gunplay and a wheelchair add motivation, tension, and considerable action. It’s unfortunate there isn’t more of Mardick’s work available, the only other published story I could find was “Needle in the Haystack” in Hollywood Detective, Dec. 1949.

Image from Galactic Central.

Philip Weck’s You Can’t Run Away


Stories from Suspense Magazine #3 Fall 1951: “You Can’t Run Away” by Philip Weck

When a story starts strong and keeps getting better, you can’t help but stop for a moment to double-check who the writer is. It’s a name you want to remember. For technique alone—wonderfully, smooth transitions from second to first person and back again—this story’s a killer. A war veteran returns to his hometown and finds his perception of things has changed more than the people and the place. Except for the murder—and that changes everything.

With a little searching I was delighted to find Weck’s stories appeared in dozens of pulps and digests from 1947–1961, including Manhunt, Trapped, and Triple Detective. I’m looking forward to reading more of his work.

Will F. Jenkins’ Wall of Fear

colliersStories from Suspense Magazine #3 Fall 1951: “Wall of Fear” by Will F. Jenkins

First published in Collier’s (June 26, 1937) as “No More Walls”, Jenkins used his given name for this story rather than his famous pseudonym Murray Leinster. It’s an excellent story about an ex-con who made some rather foolish choices early on, and continues to live under their cloud.

Russell Branch’s Rip Tide

other_worlds_science_stories_195106-07Stories from Suspense Magazine #3 Fall 1951: “Rip Tide” by Russell Branch

Branch wrote science fiction as well as crime stories. He seems to have enjoyed adding a 
few poetic passages to this one, a murder mystery lurking just below the surface. Some of its passages call too much attention to the writing, but others are quite crisp: “Lora Walton took me like a slug of gin, on that hot empty afternoon.”

Branch’s work often appeared in pulp magazines, but his novel “Time Flaw” made it into the pages of the Other Worlds digest in Jun/Jul 1951.

Image from Galactic Central.

A. E. van Vogt’s Dear Automaton


Other Worlds Sep. 1950 with A. E. van Vogt’s “Automaton”

Stories from Suspense Magazine #3 Fall 1951: “Dear Automaton” by A. E. van Vogt

A story must be terrific to reprint it barely a year after its original appearance in Other Worlds Science Stories. This robots versus humans story adds some clever ideas to keep it interesting and above expectations.

Image from Galactic Central.