The Eyes of the Shadow (The Shadow #2) ★★★☆☆

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Title: The Eyes of the Shadow
Series: The Shadow #2
Authors: Maxwell Grant
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 171
Words: 51.5K



Synopsis:

From Thelivingshadow.fandom.com & me

MARKED TO DIE

Six prominent men were expecting a share in a glittering fortune. But, one by one, they were being brutally murdered. Until the Shadow discovered the plan—a plan so fiendish that only the twisted mind of a monster could have conceived it. The Shadow assumes the identity of Lamont Cranston to investigate the serial murders and stalwart Harry Vincent gets to play camper and act as bait. Justice is committed, Shadowstyle!

My Thoughts:

Another enjoyable entry in the Shadow series. I’ve got a bunch of omnibuses (omnibie?) of Shadow stories that come in sets of 5, so I’m guessing I’ll read a quintet each rotation and then take a couple of months off before adding another quintet back in. I can see myself easily burning out on these and I’d really rather take a few extra steps to prevent that as I am enjoying them.

These are beyond a shadow (ha, aren’t I clever?) of a doubt “pulp”. So if you know you don’t like pulp stories, then you can safely assume The Shadow isn’t going to work for you. If you know that you DO like pulp, you can’t automagically assume this will work for you, because this is as different from Conan or John Carter as you can get and yet both of those are pulp too. But chances are still better than even. If you like pulp and you like the 1920’s era and double pistols are your thing, then I’d say it’s a match made in heaven.

The Shadow has some sort of power to blend into “shadows” but it isn’t speculated upon or dwelt upon at all. Is it supernatural, is it a mutant power or is it just him being really, really, really good at hiding and disguises? Personally, my vote is that he drank a shot of bad russian vodka and it gave him superpowers. The other thing is that Lamont Cranston, a rich playboy that Bruce Wayne was modeled on, appears to be the Shadow’s alter-ego. But I’ve read enough stuff by Riders of Skaith to know that even that simple deduction isn’t so simple and weirdness is going to abound there too. Basically, I don’t try to figure anything out.

Bad guys do bad things. The Shadow investigates one way or another, his agents (his “eyes”) act on his behalf and there’s a lot of weird laughing going on in the shadows. Oh yeah, and the badguys get what’s coming to them. Or their henchmen do anyway. A really good badguy manages to get away.

I’ve been looking at various covers and man, this one rocks! I couldn’t find a really big version of it, but this was as big as I could find. Two-pistol’ing it baby!

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Skull Sessions ★★★✬☆

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Title: Skull Sessions
Series: ———-
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 161
Words: 62.5K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover & TOC

THE DO-IT-YOURSELF MURDER KIT

To do a good, honest job of murder (and nowadays you pretty much have to do it yourself, labor costs being what they are) you need several all-important ingredients.

Choose a weapon. That’s hard. There are just so many of them. But remember, a workman is no better than his tools.

Find a victim. That’s easy. There are just so many of them. But remember, an artist is no better than his material.

Then a plan.

That’s where this book will come in handy. . .

SKULL SESSION

A DEGREE OF INNOCENCE—Helen Nielsen

ONE UNNECESSARY MAN—Talmage Powell

KILL ME, MY SWEET—C.B. Gilford

SAM’S HEART—Henry Slesar

THE INCOMPLETE CORPSE—Jack Webb

LUCK IS NO LADY—Robert Bloch

SWEET SPIRIT—Donald Honig

THE ONLY BAD POLICEMAN—Paul Eiden

THE WITNESS WAS A LADY—Fletcher Flora

THE EPISODE OF THE TELEPHONE NUMBER—Charles Einstein

COME BACK, COME BACK—Donald E. Westlake

ADVENTURES OF THE SUSSEX ARCHERS—August Derleth

FAT JOW—Robert Alan Blair

VACATION—Mike Brett

My Thoughts:

The only fly in the ointment was the “Pons & Parker” story by Derleth (P&P are a complete ripoff of Sherlock Holmes and Watson, not even trying to cover it up at all) and the Fat Jow story by Blair. I just don’t like Jow, as I experienced him in another Hitchcock collection.

Other than that, this was a great collection of crime stories and nasty things happening to unpleasant people. Of course, not all of them followed that formula. “The Only Bad Policeman” is the perfect example. A man defends himself and his 2 boys against a drunk policeman with a martial art from his home country. Everyone cheers him on but the story ends with him getting arrested as he accidentally killed the policeman. Now that’s a downer of a story!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

The Living Shadow ★★★☆☆

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Title: The Living Shadow
Series: The Shadow #1
Authors: Maxwell Grant
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 224
Words: 67K



Synopsis:

From Wikipedia

Harry Vincent, saved from suicide by The Shadow, is recruited to watch Scanlon, courier for Wang Foo, the Chinatown mastermind. Cronin murders Scanlon, but fails to find the metal Chinese disk Scanlon uses as an identifier. Vincent finds the disk, poses as the courier, is exposed, captured, tortured, and saved by The Shadow. Millionaire Geoffrey Laidlow is killed for his hidden jewels; the rest of the story involves searching for Laidlow’s killer, and the killer searching for the jewels, to be fenced with the Chinatown mastermind. In the end, the criminal mastermind’s lawyer Ezekiel Bingham, is free and unpunished. Diamond Bert Farwell, exposed as Wang Foo, goes to jail.

My Thoughts:

Riders of Skaith started reviewing the The Shadow books last year. I’m glad I jumped on the bandwagon as I rather enjoyed this novel. But everything Riders says about Harry Vincent is totally true, sigh.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I Want My Mummy ★★★★☆

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Title: I Want My Mummy
Series: ———-
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 186
Words: 73K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover & TOC

TERRORS OF THE TOMB. . .

An Italian Prince is selling something more sinister than art objects in View by Moonlight.

The Sword of Damocles is put to murderous modern use in There Hangs Death!

An insane killer explains the method of his madness in The Pattern.

When Emma discovers the secret ingredient in her lover’s tobacco, their romance goes up in smoke in Pipe Dream.

Mr. and Mrs. Duvec argue fiercely, but death has the last word in The Sound of Murder.

CREEP INTO THE CRYPT

WITH HITCHCOCK

Hitchcock’s favorite Mummy is guarding a horde of horrible treasures. Before your terrified eyes, he will unwrap an unrivaled collection of ghoulish murders that will age you overnight. . .suffocating suspense that will leave you gasping for air. . .and evil artifacts whose curse you can never escape.

Read if you dare, these macabre masterpieces.

TOC

STORIES

View by Moonlight • Pat McGerr

There Hangs Death! • John D. MacDonald

Lincoln’s Doctor’s Son’s Dog • Warner Law

Coyote Street • Gary Brandner

Zombique • Joseph Payne Brennan

The Pattern • Bill Pronzini

Pipe Dream • Alan Dean Foster

NOVELETTE

Shottle Bop • Theodore Sturgeon

STORIES

The Magnum • Jack Ritchie

Voices in the Dust • Gerald Kersh

The Odor of Melting • Edward D. Hoch

The Sound of Murder • William P. McGivern

The Income Tax Mystery • Michael Gilbert

Watch for It • Joseph N. Gores

NOVELETTE

The Affair of the Twisted Scarf • Rex Stout

My Thoughts:

This was originally titled “ Stories to be Read with the Door Locked, Vol 2”. Vol. 1 I didn’t particularly care for and it got a barely passing nod from me. So when I saw the little blurb on the cover stating this was a retitled work, I kind of groaned to myself.

Then I opened up the book and realized there was a Nero Wolfe novella by Rex Stout. Without even reading a word, I mentally bumped this up half a star. I also knew that no matter how this book went, since it was ending on a Nero Wolfe story that I would go away from this a happy camper. Thankfully, my enjoyment of this collection didn’t rest on Wolfe alone.

The story “Lincoln’s Doctor’s Son’s Dog” felt like something that “I” would have written. It was bombastic, it was ego-filled by the narrator and it was stupendously outrageous and the ending was beyond ridiculous. I LOVED it!

I also enjoyed Foster’s “Pipe Dream”. It was pretty obvious from the get-go where this semi-horror story was going, but the ending where the main character gets rolled into the fireplace, well, that just lit a glow of satisfaction in my heart 😉

And then of course things wrap up with Nero Wolfe. I thoroughly liked this novella and just like every other Wolfe mystery, I was simply along for the ride. And I liked that ride. It was a good way to end the book and just made me happy. Probably means it is time to add Wolfe back into my reading rotation.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Stories to be Read with the Door Locked, Vol 1 ★★★☆☆

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Title: Stories to be Read with the Door Locked, Vol 1
Series: ———-
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 163
Words: 58K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover & TOC

WHO’S THAT PEEKING THROUGH THE KEYHOLE?

Is it a nasty voyeur, looking for illicit views of depraved sensuality?

Is it a special agent of the CIA hunting for a sinister enemy operative?

Is it some tabloid snoop trying to uncover new Washington scandals?

No, Dear Reader, it’s you—squinting with delicious dread at the houseful of horrors that Alfred Hitchcock has designed for your shivery delight. It’s a nice place to look at—from a safe distance. But you wouldn’t want to die there.

Stories to Be Read with the Door Locked

Fourteen skeletons in the closet

HITCHCOCK HAS YOU WHERE HE WANTS YOU.

You’ve drawn the blinds against the night. You’ve taken the phone off the hook. You’ve double-locked every door. But if you think you are safe, you’re dead wrong. There’s no escape once you open this book, and let loose the evil which Alfred Hitchcock has personally packed inside. Here are the most fearsome visitors ever to destroy your defenses and haunt your imagination—in two nerve-twisting novelettes and twelve terror tales.

Table of Contents

Introduction

STORIES

Hijack • Robert L. Fish

Tomorrow. . .and Tomorrow • Adobe James

Funeral in Another Town • Jerry Jacobson

A Case for Quiet • William Jeffrey

A Good Head for Murder • Charles W. Runyon

The Invisible Cat • Betty Ren Wright

NOVELETTE

Royal Jelly • Roald Dahl

STORIES

Light Verse • Isaac Asimov

The Distributor • Richard Matheson

How Henry J. Littlefinger Licked the Hippies’ Scheme to Take Over the Country by Tossing Pot in Postage Stamp Glue • John Keefauver

The Leak • Jacques Futrelle

All the Sounds of Fear • Harlan Ellison

Little Foxes Sleep Warm • Waldo Carlton Wright

NOVELETTE

The Graft Is Green • Harold Q. Masur

My Thoughts:

Ok, so, this volume. This was weird and creepy and not in a deliciously fun and awesome way, but in a dark and uncomfortable way. Reading the cover blurb makes it pretty evident that is exactly what Hitchcock was going for. I didn’t care for it.

Part of it was that the stories were all over the place. You have science fiction with Asimov’s selection (which I had read before several times and so skipped) to body horror of a sorts with Wright’s Little Foxes Sleep Warm to just downright psychotic losers in Jacobson’s Funeral in Another Town to the utterly hilarious entry by Keefauver about how the hippies plot to take over America was foiled. It felt like the stories were in a bag that Hitchcock reached into and selected at random. So far most of these anthologies have been pretty “on topic” with the title and were thematically linked, albeit sometimes very roughly.

The Distributor by Matheson was probably the most disturbing, as the main character, while human in appearance, seems to be more of a devil set on destroying communities one by one. It was all about killing, lying and destroying. It was not pleasant or enjoyable.

Not the worst collection that I’ve read in this “series” but not one that I’d recommend as a starting place.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Death-Reach 2 ★★✬☆☆

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Title: Death-Reach 2
Editor: Cathleen Jordan
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 145
Words: 58K



Synopsis:

Table of Contents

UNIDENTIFIED AND DEAD – Bryce Walton

THE BIG BAJOOR – Borden Deal

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON KITE – Edward D. Hoch

FAT JOW AND THE DEMON – Robert Alan Blair

ALL THE SAME – Bill Pronzini

TWO WOMEN—TWO VICTIMS – Donald Honig

HEAVEN IS A FRAME OF MIND – Richard Hardwick

THE OPERATOR – Jack Ritchie

DEATH BY CALCULATION – Donald Martin

FIESTA TIME – Douglas Campbell

OCCUPATIONAL HAZARD – John Crowe

My Thoughts:

I actually read this back in January when I was out of work due to covid. It had somehow gotten lost in the mix however, so I never wrote up anything about it.

This was not an actual “Alfred Hitchcock” presents anthology. These were all stories that did appear in his magazine but I don’t know if that was when he was running it or after. He’s not the editor here, but some other person and personally, I blame her for the utter mediocrity of this collection.

I didn’t dislike any particular story but at the same time none of them hit me in the gut either like so many of Hitchcock’s other collections have. It probably didn’t help that I was sick with covid while reading this either.

But the biggest thing is that this book exemplifies WHY I blog at WordPress, Blogspot and Librarything. I had added it to my LT library but never reviewed it, so at least I knew I had read it. Multiple redundancies are a bloggers best friend. Can you imagine the horror of having read this and never recording it? My record would be marred!

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Daring Detectives ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Daring Detectives
Series: ———-
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 150
Words: 62.5K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover

A collection of stories, designed for young readers, about brave detectives and tracking down unscrupulous criminals.

Includes the following 8 stories:

Through a Dead Man’s Eye – CORNELL WOOLRICH

The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim – AGATHA CHRISTIE

The Adventure of the Seven Black Cats – ELLERY QUEEN

The Day the Children Vanished – HUGH PENTECOST

The Footprint in the Sky – JOHN DICKSON CARR

The Case of the Irate Witness – ERLE STANLEY GARDNER

Adventure of the Grice-Paterson Curse – AUGUST DERLETH

Green Ice – STUART PALMER

My Thoughts:

I was glad that the little blurb baldly stated “for young readers”, otherwise my expectations would have been very different and as such so would my reactions to this. In many ways this reminded me of the Haunted Houseful that I read 2 years ago. That was also “for young readers” but I hadn’t realized it at the time.

If you’ve read much detective/crime fiction, you’ll already have heard of some of these authors or realize how some of them stole their ideas from the greats. For example, Christie’s story’s idea is lifted almost wholesale from a Sherlock Holmes story. I won’t go into details, but as soon as I read “X happened”, I knew the rest of the story immediately.

What this book really made apparent to me is that Hitchcock threw his name everywhere, like a possessed child projectile vomiting. Trying to sort out what is his adult fiction vs his young readers stuff is much like trying to pick out the carrots from said projectile vomit. It’s doable, but man, it is messy!

I still enjoyed this, despite comparing it to vomit, hahahahaa. Hitchcock had a talent for picking out stories that he thought would sell and as such they are “good” stories. They are stories that you want to read. None of these books edited by Hitchcock have left me thinking that I should stop. I want to keep on reading them. I can’t think of a better recommendation than that.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Spellbinders in Suspense ★★★★☆

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Title: Spellbinders in Suspense
Series: ———-
Author: Alfred Hitchcock (Editor)
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 215
Words: 77K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover

These are mystery-suspense stories. Some will keep you on the edge of your chair with excitement. Others are calculated to draw you along irresistibly to see how the puzzle works out. I have even included a sample or two of stories that are humorous, to show you that humor and mystery can also add up to suspense. So here you are, with best wishes for hours of good reading. –Alfred Hitchcock

Includes the following 13 stories:

The Chinese Puzzle Box – Agatha Christie

The Most Dangerous Game – Richard Connell

The Birds – Daphne du Maurier

Puzzle For Poppy – Patrick Quentin

Eyewitness – Robert Arthur

Man From The South – Roald Dahl

Black Magic – Sax Rohmer

Treasure Trove – F. Tennyson Jesse

Yours Truly, Jack The Ripper – Robert Bloch

The Treasure Hunt – Edgar Wallace

The Man Who Knew How – Dorothy L. Sayers

The Dilemma of Grampa DuBois – Clayre and Michel Lipman

P. Moran, Diamond-Hunter – Percival Wilde

My Thoughts:

I must have read this back in the day because I recognized over 3/4’s of the stories. Now, some of them have been in other anthologies so that would account for some of them, but not the number I remembered. I’d start reading and then it would be “Ohhhhh, I remember how THIS story ends”, etc, etc. I am very sure this is the collection where I was introduced to the Most Dangerous Game (in short story form), The Birds and The Man Who Knew How.

I still labeled this as crime fiction, because it has aspects of criminality involved, but unlike some of Hitchcock’s other collections, this doesn’t focus nearly so much on that. I wasn’t sure what else to label it as, so inertia won out 🙂

While this was not as thrilling or exciting as some of the others, I’d choose this one collection if I had to recommend one so far. With the authors and stories involved, it gives a very broad collection upon which to build a good literary foundation, even for a Hitchcock book. Let me put it another way. The first story was a Poirot story and while I HATE Poirot with a passion, I still went on and read the entire book. I don’t know what higher praise I could give.

Oh wait.

If you read this book:

  • You will win the lottery
  • Your hair will be the style you always wanted but couldn’t get because of Nature
  • You will be at your ideal weight
  • People of the opposite gender, complete strangers, will come up to you and tell you how amazing you are and how they wished they knew you better
  • Hollywood will pay you 100 million dollars to make a movie about your life, starring your choice of actor to play you
  • You will get a magic fridge that is always full of just what you want to eat, AT THAT MOMENT!

If none of that appeals to you, then you shouldn’t read this book. I’m actually writing this post on my new Lear Jet while on my way to check out locations in the Bahamas for the movie “The Bookstooge Chronicles”. And I’m drinking a Pina Colada Bang. That I just took out of my magic fridge.

’nuff said.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

A Baker’s Dozen ★★★☆☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: A Baker’s Dozen
Series: ———-
Author: Alfred Hitchcock (Editor)
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 170
Words: 67K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover

NEVER SAY DIE.
For those who had the courage to come back for more, that generous master of suspense has provided a baker’s dozen of the bizarre, a little extra in the way of horror and intrigue. Here is a supreme collection of skin-prickling suspense, cunningly chosen to startle and terrify, by
ALFRED HITCHCOCK

Table of Contents:

F. TENNYSON JESSE – The Mask

AGATHA CHRISTIE – Accident

GRAHAM GREENE – A Day Saved

ROBERT LEWIS – Roman Holiday

SAMUEL BLAS – Revenge

JOHN STEINBECK – The Snake

MARY DEASY – Long Shadow on the Lawn

RAY BRADBURY – The Night

D. H. LAWRENCE – The Rocking-Horse Winner

GEORGES CAROUSSO – The Warden

ELLIS ST. JOSEPH – Leviathan

LOUIS POLLOCK – Breakdown

EUGENE MANLOVE RHODES – The Fool’s Heart

My Thoughts:

This was a decent read and I don’t have anything to complain about but it wasn’t as fantastic as some of the other books that Hitchcock has edited. With authors like Christie, Steinbeck and Bradbury I have to admit I was expecting something a notch above what I got.

In terms of food, it was the difference between the pictures of a hamburger that you see at fastfood places (like McDonald’s) and the reality of what you get. Nothing wrong with the burger and you’re going to eat it and enjoy it. But no one can say that it looks anything like the picture of perfection you see up on the menu or in the ads.

I am content with my time spent with this book but have nothing to rave or rant about. Makes writing this review pretty easy though!

Oh, technically this book is called “A Baker’s Dozen of Suspense Stories” but that is a ridiculous mouthful.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Anti-Social Register ★★★★☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Anti-Social Register
Series: ———-
Author: Alfred Hitchcock (Editor)
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 168
Words: 64K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover

Once again Alfred Hitchcock, not-so-secret agent of the underworld, has been discovered consorting with known madmen, murderers, ghouls and other unsavory characters. Posing under a cloak of respectability, Hitchcock is clearly seeking to torpedo the Good Life. Although Hitchcock will not admit this sinister charge, the evidence is stacked against him, as witness his: ANTI-SOCIAL REGISTER.

A new and diabolic masterpiece of propaganda from Hitchcock and a handpicked team of talented collaborators totally dedicated to the cause of terrifying the good, the kind, the innocent of the world.

Includes the following 14 stories:

INTRODUCTION—Alfred Hitchcock

TUNE ME IN—Fletcher Flora

A QUESTION OF ETHICS—James Holding

THE TRAP—Stanley Abbott

A HABIT FOR THE VOYAGE—Robert Edmond Alter

THE EMPTY ROOM—Donald Honig

I’LL GO WITH YOU—Hal Dresner

THE WATCHDOGS OF MOLICOTL—Richard Curtis

THE AFFAIR UPSTAIRS—Helen Nielsen

I’M BETTER THAN YOU—Henry Slesar

A SIMPLE UNCOMPLICATED MURDER—C. B. Gilford

DEAD DRUNK—Arthur Porges

THE LAST AUTOPSY—Bryce Walton

ONE MAN’S FAMILY—Richard Hardwick

YOU CAN TRUST ME—Jack Ritchie

My Thoughts:

I thoroughly enjoyed this, enough so that I bumped it up a whole star from the previous book. Part of it was that almost all the stories were about bad people doing bad things to other bad people or bad people getting rough justice, usually at the hands of other bad people (again).

In A Habit for the Voyage we follow an assassin who kills without conscience and has survived because he knows the habits of other assassins. Well, that doesn’t save him and at the end we realize the person who killed him was another assassin. It was just glorious to realize that fact.

However, the cream of the crop for me was You Can Trust Me. A tough guy is hired by a small town mobster to recover an employee who has been kidnapped. Turns out it was a ploy by the employee, his wife and someone else. The tough guy kills them all, takes the money and makes it look like they all turned on each other or that circumstances were different than they were. The story ends with him working for the mob boss and the boss states “I can trust you”. It was just deliciously ironic considering the tough guy had killed 3 or 4 of his men, stolen thousands of dollars and was eyeing his connections.

Something about these collections by Hitchcock really resonate with me. He has a real eye for collecting these stories and does an excellent job of making sure only the best get included. When I look forward to a book I know the author/editor is doing something right!

Rating: 4 out of 5.