Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Friday, May 8, 2015


The Last Spin and Other Stories by Evan Hunter (1960)

For over half a century, from 1951 until his death in 2005, Evan Hunter produced a body of work any writer would envy.  Under the Hunter name there were The Blackboard Jungle, Strangers When We Meet, Buddwing, Last Summer, The Chisums, and many others.  As Ed McBain, he wrote the 87th Precinct mysteries and the Matthew Hope mysteries.  Along the way he used many other names, including S. A. Lombino (his birth name), Richard Marston, Hunt Collins, Curt Cannon, John Abbott, Ted Taine, Dean Hudson, D. A. Addams, and Ezra Hannon.  (There maybe more hidden in the magazines of the 50s, and it is not known how many of the "Dean Hudson" novels he actually wrote.)

Some of Hunter's best early stories were published in Manhunt, a crime magazine fueled by clients of Scott Meredith's literary agency, at which Hunter worked when he sold his first story.  Many of these that Hunter wrote were tough, gritty stories about juvenile delinquency, the best of which were included in his first collection, The Jungle Kids, a paperback published in 1956 by Pocket Books which (to my knowledge) has never been reprinted.

A number of the stories from The Jungle Kids were included in The Last Spin and Other Stories, a collection published in 1960 by British publisher Costable & Company Ltd.  Of the 15 stories in The Last Spin, least eight appeared in The Jungle Kids and two others in later collections.  Of the five remaining stories, one is the often reprinted Mickey Spillane satire "Kiss Me, Dudley" and three are science fictions stories.

Included in this collection are some of Hunter's most powerful early stories:  "The Last Spin," "Small Homicide," "Kid Kill," and "The Fallen Angel."  (The last was adapted for a well-received episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, marking perhaps the first time Hunter's name was linked with Hitchcock.)

The stories:

  • First Offense
  • The Fallen Angel
  • Silent Partner
  • Small Homicide
  • The Girl With the Pretty Eyes
  • See Him Die
  • Escape
  • Kid Kill
  • Alive Again
  • The Innocent One
  • Robert
  • The Prisoner
  • ...Or Leave It Alone
  • Kiss Me, Dudley
  • The Last Spin
A collection well worth your time looking up, as is The Jungle Kids.


  1. This is one I'll be seeking out today. Thanks, Jerry!

  2. It seems this one is pretty rare, I found no copies under $100. WorldCat shows one copy in the L.A. Public Library System, not available for borrowing. Phooey.

  3. Nice pick. Interesting comment.