Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Monday, October 2, 2023


 Front Page Detective aired on the DuMont Television Network from July 6, 1951, to September 19, 1952, and then in October to November, 1953, for a total of 38 episodes.  Less than half of the episodes survive.

Edmond Lowe starred as newspaper columnist who usually helps police solve difficult mysteries but in this episode, a notorious gangster has been subpoenaed before a Congressional committee to testify.  Chase gets on the same train as the gangster in hopes of getting an exclusive interview, but Chase soon learns that there are other criminals on the train who don't want the gangster to testify.  Lyle Talbot is featured as "Big Dutch " Oliver; also in the cast are John Sebastian (no, not that one) as Rocco Valenti, John Harmon and Angelo Rossitto as Danny and Jimmie Trumpet, Pamela Blake (billed as Pam MaGuire) as Vicki Gerard, and Pat Gleason as the conductor.  Series semi-regulars Frank Jenks, Paula Drew, and George Pembroke dis not appear in this episode.

Front Page Detective got its title from the true crime magazine that ran from 1936 to 1995.  Featuring such stories as "G-Man's Revnge," "Solving Chicago's Horror in the Y.W.C.A.," "The /Curious Case of the Kitty Litter Killer," and "Who Garroted the Good-Time Girl?", Front Page Detective straddled the line between a crime magazine and a men's adventure magazine.  Supposedly, the episodes shown on the tlevision show were inspired by articles from the magazine.  The pulpish flavor of this particuloar episode (can you tell from the characters' names?) was enhanced by a script co-written by Robert Leslie Bellam, the author of some 3000 pulp stories and creator of Dan Turner, Hollywood Detective.  Bellam's co-author was writer/producer Herbert Moulton, who wrote scripts for Racket Squad, Eyewitness, and five other episodes of Front Page Detective, as well as producing 30 episodes of the Dick Tracy Television Show.

Front Page Detective got off on a rocky start.  Initial episodes ran against the Kefauver Hearings into organized crime, leaving the nascent crime television show looking like a weak sister when compared to the real thing.  Sci transit gloria mundi...

Nonetheless, enjoy.

Sunday, October 1, 2023


 Openers:  A feeling of pride always welled up inside Pat Stevens when he rode down into Powder Valley from the headquarters of the Lazy Mare ranch at the northern end of the valley.  It wasn't so much a specific pride in ownership of one of the largest and finest spreads in the velley; it was more a deep-rooted sense of fulfillment, a feeling of belonging, an awed sort of pride in the realization that he, Pat Stevens, had had an integral part in making Powder Valley what it ws today -- one of the finest strips of cattle country in the entire west.

Serene and peaceful under the bright Colorado sunlight, Powder Valley stretched out southward from the Lazy Mare ranch a distance of some thirty miles, protected on the north by the Culebra Range, with the jagged Spanish Peaks forming a natural barrier on the southwest.  A protected region of lush range grass, with mild winters that were just cold enough to build firm flesh on the sturdy, big-boned Herefords that Pat had been instrumental in bringing to the valley years before, it was, indeed, virtually a cattleman's paradise.  In the spring and summer the herds ranged high on the mountain slopes that had been blaketed with snowfall winter to provide sufficient moisture for the raw growth of rich grass, and in the fall the stock was moved down into the protected valley to winter-feed on the long grass that grew knee-high in the bottom-lands on each side of the Powder Creek.

Powder Valley had not always been a scene of serenity and peace, nor had Pat Stevens alway been a respectable and settled landowner, both had a turbulent history of bloodshed and violence; both had, in a sense, attained respectibilty together.

-- Fight for Powder Velley by "Peter Field" (house name used this time by Davis Dresser, perhaps best known as Brett Halliday, the creator of P.I. Michael Shayne) (Morrow, 1942; later reprinted in Western Action, April 1943)

Molly Hartsell's young family was near starvation on the Kansas prairie, when her husband invests every penny they have in property in Powder Valley.  The Hrtsells arrive in Colorado to find they have been swindled and its up to Pat Stevens and his friends Sam and Ezra to make things right by defeating the swindlers and making sure that down on their luck family will be able to call Powder Valley their new home. 

There were at least 78 books in the popular Powder Valley western series, beginning in 1934. appearing first in hardcover, with many then reprinted in various western pulp magazines.  Davis Dresser wrote at least thirteen of the novels.  Although his reputation may rest on his Michael Shayne character, Dresser brought a raw-boned authenticuty to his early western novels.  He was raised in the rough coutnry of West Texas, lost an eye as a boy to barbed wire, and rode with Pershing after Pancho Villa  He wrote other westerns, including (as "Don Davis") several of the Rio Kid adventures.  At least ten of his Powder Valley westerns are now available as e-Books from Open Road Media; check them out for some solid westrern action.


  • Harold Adams, A Perfectly Proper Murder.  A Carl Wilcox mystery.  "How Carl Wilcox came to be in Podunkville is no surprise.  It's a small town, there are signs to be painted, and he worked steady and moved often.  How Basil Ecke came to be dead next to Carl's Model T -- the one left parked in front of the house and that was now around the side and up on blocks -- well, that's what happens sometimes when there's a prefectly proper murder in a small South Dakota town.  And as the prime suspect, Carl is the perfectly proper person to figure out who killed Ecke, a wealthy, not os well-repested man who had probably gotten no better than he deserved."  Carl Wilcox, a firmer cowboy, soldier, rustler, housepaniter, convict, and brawler in the Depression-era Midwest, never fails to entertain.
  • Kingsley Amis, The Green Man.  Ghost story/comedy.  The owner of a haunted country inn contends with death, fatherhood, romantic woes, and alcoholism in this hunorous "rattling good ghost story."
  • Lawrence Block, editor, Blood on Their Hands.  The 2003 Mystery Writers of America anthology.  Nineteen stories for Brendan DuBois, Elaine Viets, Henry Sleasar, Rhys Bowen, Elizabeth Foxwell, Jermiah Healy, and others.
  • "Daniel Boyd" (Dan Stumpf), Easy Death.  Crime novel.  "'Twas the week before Christmas...It takes guts and good luck to pull off an armored car robbery, and Walter and Eddie have both. But getting the money and getting away with it are two different things, especially with a blizzard coming down, the cops in hot puruit, and a double-crossing gambler and a sadistic park ranger threatening to turn this white Christmas blood red."
  • John Brunner, The Brink and Galactic Storm.  Two very early SF novels.  In The Brink (1959), a secret Russian attempt to lauch a man into space goes awry and the rocket crashes near an air force base, sparking fears that this was an attack and leaving the world in the brink of World War III.  Galactic Storm (1953) was published under the house name "Gill Hunt" when Brunner was 17.  A young genius uses a supercomputer to predict global warming that will melt half the world's ice caps within fifty years.  Sound familar?  In this case, unfriendly aliens may be responsible.  Brunner would go on to write some of the most distinquished writers in the field, although his career was often hampered by the vagarities of the market and the stupidity of the publishers.
  • Declan Burke, The Lost and the Blind.  Crime novel.  "The elderly Gerhard Uxkull was either senile or desperate for attention.  Why else would he concoct a tale of Nazi atrocity on the remote island of Delphi, off the coast of Donegal?  And why now, sixty years after the event, just when the Irish-American billionaire Shay Govern has tendered for a prospecting licence for gold in Loch Swilly?  Journalist Tom Noone doesn't want to know.  With his young daughter Emily to provide for, and a ghost-writing commission on Shay Govern's autobiography to deliver, the timing is wrong.  Beisdes it can't be a mere coincidence that Uxkull's tale bears a strong resemblance to the debut thriller by legendary spy novelist Sebastian Devereaux, the reclusive English author who's spent the last fifity years holed up in Delphi?  But when a body is discovered, Tom and Emily find themselves running for their lives in pursuit of the truth that is their only hope of survival."
  • James Lee Burke, Pegasus Descending.  A Dave Robicheaux novel.  "When a nice young woman named Trish Klein blows into /Louisiana passing hundred-dollar bills in local casinos, detective Dave Robicheax senses a storm bearing down on his new life of contentment...Twenty-five years ago, lost in a drunken haze in Florida, Robicheaux was too far gone to save his friend and fellow 'Nam vet Dallas Klein, murdered in cold blood for his gambling debts.  Now, the arrival of Dallas's daughte opens a door locked long ago, and extracting her motives points Robicheaux to the suicide of a local 'good girl' pulled into a vortex of power, sex, and death.  It's Robicheaux's most painfully personal case -- a roller coaster of passion, surprise, and regret -- and it may be his deadliest.'  Plus, Dixie City Jam, another Dave Robicheaux novels. Also, Another Kind of Eden and The Jealous Kind, two novels about the Holland family featuring Aaron Holland Broussard, and Rain Gods, featuring Hackberry Holland. 
  • Peter Cannon, Long Memories and Other Writings.  Collection including Cannon's 1997 Long Memories:  Reflections of Frank Belknap Long and other nonfiction and fiction pieces about author and poet Long, including the novella Pulptime.  Long was a close friend of H. P. Lovecraft and wrote as number of classic pieces in Lovecraft's fictional universe.   Cannon's fiction encompasses serious work, pastiches, and pure-dee satire.
  • Orson Scott Card, Characters & Viewpoint, a book on writing, and The Folk of the Fringe, a science fiction collection of five stories:  "In America's future, when society has collapsed under ther weigh tof war, civilization lives on among the folk  whose bonds of faith or tribe or language are still strong.  These interweaving stories tell of people who are far from the center of these tight-bound communities, finding a life for themselves among the fringe." 
  • Scott Cawthorn & Kira Breed-Wrisley, Five Nights at Freddy's:  The Silver Eyes.  YA horror tie-in based on the video game, the first in a seemingly never-ending series of novels, graphic novels, and spin-offs. 
  • A. Bertram Chandler, The Deep Reaches of Space.  SF novel, an expansion and revision of Chan dler's 1946 story "Special Knoewledge."  A World War I merchant marine officer has his mind switched with a ships officer in the space force of the future.  Chandler himself was a ship captain and many of his novels read like Hornblower in Space.  A consistently entertaining writer.
  • Leslie Charteris, The Last Hero.  The second novel about that "Robin Hood of Modern Crime," Simon Templar, the Saint.  It was also published as The Saint Closes the Case.
  • Peter Cheyney, It Couldn't Matter Less.  A Slim Callaghan mystery.  "Beautiful caberet singers don't usually carry automatic pistols in their handbags...Intelligent brunettes of Slim Callaghan's acquaintance aren't in the habit of merely pretending to be drunk...Foreigners don't usually pay him a hundred pounds to mind his own business when he hadn't been doing otherwise...And his,long-time friend Inspector Gringall of Scotland Yard usually doesn't mix himself up wih such enigmatic affairs.  Usually.  Geingall has never been a fool; not is he unaware of the consequences of having piqued Slim Callahan's curiosity by reminding him of the affairs of Daria Varette, the alluring torch singer.."  Also published as Set-Up for Murder.
  • John Connolly, Parker:  A Miscellany.  A nonfiction companion to Connolly's best-selling Charlie Parker series of crime novels.  Included are new introductions written for the novels through A Song of Shadows, including an introduction to the related novel Bad Men, as well as liner notes for the six CDs compiled to accompany certain of the books, and essay on Connolly's life as a music fan, and three rewritten articles about Charlie Parker, Irish crime fiction, and James Lee Burke.
  • John Crowley, Beasts.  Science fiction.  "Against the charged and anarchic atmosphere of a fragmented America in the not-too-distant future, two events unfold, seemingly unrelated but inexorably marking the fall of man...and the rise of the animal kingdom.  The twentieth century's idle genetic experiments have created a hostile second race -- a half-human, half-lion laboratory creation called 'leos.'  And in the wake of civil wars, the American government has collapsed, leaving as its successor the Union for Social Engineering -- a fanatical, quasi-religious group struggling to bring together the splintered shards of government and bring the leos back under man's dominion."
  • James Crumley, The Right Madness.  A C. W. Sughrue novel.  "An ex-amy officer turned Montana private eye, Sughrue carries a lot of stars.  He wants nothing more than to lie low and try to block out the memories of his last case, the one that left a bullett wound in his gut and his marriage a wreck.  The last thing he wants to do is take on any business from his best friend, Dr. Will MacKenderick, a wealthy psychiatrist in their small town  and probably the only person Sughrue still has faith in.  But Mac is desperate.  Convinced that one of seven patients is behind the theft of confidential psychoanalysis files from his office, he needs someone he can trust to trail this group of bizarre small-town misftis.  Going against every last instinct, Sughrue takes the job -- a twenty-thousand-dollar retainer is always hard to pass up -- and things instantly spiral out of control as one by one the bodies start to pile up.  Fueled by a steady stream of alcohol, drugs, and empty sex, Sughrue becomes a man obsessed, trying to stay one step ahead of the madness unfolding around him, but falling deeper and deeper into a case that will dig up parts of his past he's like to forget and push any chance of a normal future even further out of reach."    
  • "J. Morgan Cunningham" (Donald E. Westlake), Comfort Station.  A rousing send-up of the Grand Hotel type of blockbuster novel of the 1970s, such as Hotel and Airplane, only this time the locale is a public men's room in downtown New York City.  Westlake manages to capture every nuance of bad writing in these novels, providing a romp that has to be read to be believed.  I had a copy of this when it was first released in 1973, read it, and enjoyed it.  Sadly, my copy went walk-about a number of years ago, and I'm happy to have another chance to read this sly and witty novel.
  • David Drake, The Sea Hag.  Fantasy.  The first (and thus far, only) book in the World of Crystal Walls series.  "FROM PALACE.  Dennis flees the crystal walls of Emath when he learns the truth behind the city his father rules.  TO WILDERNESS.  The jungle enfolds him, tests his sword arm with monsters and hiscourage with nightmares more terrible than any monster.  FROM LOVE.  Sword and spirit can win Dennis a princess -- TO BLACKEST WIZARDRY.  But he can overcome the final evil only at the risk of all he has become -- and his soul besides."
  • Martin Edwards, editor, The Long Arm of the Law.  A British Library Crime Classics anthology with fifteen stories from well-known and not so well-known authors.  A well-chosen mix with Edwards' usual informative introduction and story notes.
  • George Alec Effinger, Maureen Birnbaum, Barbarian Swordperson.  Eight stories about the fabulous Maureen "Muffy" Birnbaum, the "toally cool prep-school senior who became a socially aware [please don't call her Muffy!], usually scantily clad, world-and-tiome trveing swordsperson of the first order," as related to her lngtime best friend. Bitsy Spiegelman.  I firmly believe we need more Maureen Birnbaum in our lives but, sadly, this is the only collection of her adventures.  There are three additional stories waiting to be collected (hint!  hint! to publishers!).
  • Guy Endore, King of Paris.  A biographical novel about Alexandre Dumas pere.
  • Loren D. Estleman, The Adventures of Johnny Vermillion,  Western.  Johnny Vermillion's theater troupe tours the Wild West.  Newspapers carry reports of their performances one day and of bank robberies the next, bringing the attention of a Pinkerton man.  Also, American DetectiveNicotine Kiss and Poison Blonde, three Amos Walker P.I. novels, and General Murders, a collection of ten Amos Walker short stories.
  • Judith Freeman, The Long Embrace:  Raymond Chandler and the Woman He Loved.  "Part biography, part detective story, part love story, and part seance."  A look at the writer and the woman he married, who was eighteen years older than himself.
  • Simon R. Green, The Unnatural Inquirer.  Fantasy, a novel of the Nightside.  "John Tylor's the name.  I'm a PI, working that small slice of magical real estate in th hidden centre of London that's called the Nightside.  It's a plce where the sun refuses to rise, where mmonsters and men walk side by side, and where you can fulfill your every dark and depraved desire.  What I do there, better than anybody else alive (or dead) is find things -- for the right client, for the right price.  My new client can certainly afford me.  The editor of the Unnatural Inquirer, the Nightside's most notorious gossip rag (the one everyone pretends not to read), has offered me one million pounds to find a man named Pen Donavon, who claims to have evidnce of the Afterlife -- picked up on a television broadcast and burned onto a DVD.  The Inquirer made Donavon a sweet deal for exclusive rights.  Then both he and the disc vanished."  Thus far, there are twelve novels and one collection in the series.
  • Marion C. Harmon, Villains, Inc., a new pulp superhero novel, sequel to Wearing the Cape.  "Astra has finished her training and is now a full-fledged Sentinel, but things are not going well.  She suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, and the public revelation of her relationship with Atlas has caused her popularity to nose-dive.  To complicate things, the Teatime Anarchist's intervention has changed the course of events -- leaving her with lots of knowledge about the way the future was before the Big One, a complete future-history that is now out of date.  And just when she thinks she's getting a handle on things, unfolding events (a bank robbery and a horrific murder) show that one of the nastiest pieces of the old future isn't so out of date after all;  unless she solves a murder before it happens, Blackstone is going to die."  A signed and inscribed copy.
  • Thomas Harris, Cari Mora.  THriller.  "Half a ton of a dead man's gold lies hidden beneath a mansion on the Miami Beach waterfront.  Ruthless men have tracked it for years.  Leading the pack os Hans-PeterSchneider.  Driven by unspeakable appetites, he makes a living fleshing out the violent fantasies of other, richer men.  Cari Mora, caretaker of the house, has escaped from the vilence in her native country.  Sh stays in miami on a wobbly Temporry Protected Status, subject to the iron whm of ICE.  She works at many jobs to survive.  Beautiful, marked by war, Cari catches the eye of Hans-Peter as he closes in on the treasure.  But Cari Mora has surprising skills, and her will to survive has been tested before.  Monsters lurk in the crevices between male desire and female survival."
  • Chester Himes, Plan B.  An unfinished novel.  "After his death in Spain in 1984, a rumor peristed that [Himes] had left a final, unifinished Harlem story in which he destroys both his Harlem backdrop and his heroes in a violent racial cataclysm.  The manuscript, Plan B, is tht novel."
  • Maxim Jakubowski, editor, 100 Great Detectives.  100 mini-essays by 100 writers, fans, and critics about 100 great fictional detectives.  A great book for dipping into. 
  • S. T. Joshi, Eighty Years of Arkham House:  A History and Bibliography.  Nonfiction, a follow-up to Joshi's Sixty Years of Arkham House:  A History and Bibliography and other earlier works.  Arkham House, founded by August Derleth and Donald Wandrei to promote the works of Lovecraft, became (directly and indirectly) a major influence on the horror/fantasy/science fiction genres and on Twentieth century popular culture.  Sadly, Arkham House has been in limbo since 2010.
  • Harold Lamb, Alexander of Macedon.  Biography.  "The story of the greatest miltary genius of all time -- Alexander the Grest.  From the dark forests of barbarian Europe,  across the illimitable steppes of Asia, into the cities of golden India -- Alexander led his invincible Macedonians to conquer the world."
  • "Margery Lawrence" (Margery Harriet Lawrence Towle), Nights of the Round Table, Terraces of the Night, and The Floating Cafe.  Weird story collections.  The first is presented as a series of "club tales" related by members of an eating club; the second omits that framing device; and the third is basically an unacknowleged addition to the series.  Lawrence, perhaps best known in the weird fiction field for tales about her supernateral detective Miles Pennoyer, was a skilled writer who solidly bridged the gap between the classic and the contemporary supernatural story.
  • "Murray Leinster" (Will F. Jenkins), The Third Murray Leinster Megapack and The Fourth Murray Leinster Megapack.  E-Book compilations of mainly public domain stories.  Leinster/Jenkins is best remembered for his science fiction stories, but he wrote extensively in other fields as well -- more than a thousand stories in a career that spanned six decades.  Included here are a number of stories, hidden among some chestnuts (some very good chestnits, I might add) are a number of hard-to-get short stories from Collier's, which make these collections worth my time.
  • Milton Lesser (later known as Stephen Marlowe), Earthbound, Spaceman, Go Home, Stadium Beyond the Stars, and The Star Seekers.  Four novels in the Winston Adventures in Science Fiction series of juveniles from the Fifties and Sixties.  I was not the only one hooked on this series as a kid.  Lesser, a prolific pulpster in the Fifites, legally changed his name to Stephen Marlowe shortly after he began his best-selling series of Chester Drum P.I. paperbacks; he later became a literary author of note.
  • L. A. Lewis, Tales of the Grotesque.  Reprint of a single author collection of stories in Phillip Allan's "Creeps Library" published in England in the Thirties.  Ten stories.
  • Barry B. Longyear, Circus World.  Science fiction collectionof seven about the "circus world" of Momus, where a space ship of circus performers crashed 200 years before.  Shipwrecked far from human civilization, they formed a world based on circus tradition.
  • Peter Lovesey, Down Among the Dead Men.  A Peter Diamond investigation.  "In a Sussex town on the south coast of England, a widely disliked art teacher at a posh private girls' school disappears without explanation.  None of her students miss her boring lessons, especially since her replacemnt is a devilishly hunky male teacher with a fancy car.  Then her name shows up on a police missing persons list.  What happened to Miss Gibbon, and why does no one seem to care?  Meanwhile, detective Peter Diamond finds himself in Sussex, much against his wishes.  His irritating and often obtuse supervisor, Assistant Cheif Constable Georgina Dallymore, has made Diamond accompany her on a Home Office internal investigation.  A Sussex detective has been suspended for failing to link DNA evidence of a relative to a seven-year-old murder case -- a bad breach of ethics.  Diamond is less than thrilled to be heading out on a road trip with his boss to investigate a fellow officer, but he becomes much more interested in the case when he realizes who the suspended officer is -- an old friend, and not a person he knows to make mistakes.  As Diamond asks questions, he begins to notice unsettling connections between the cold case and the missing art teacher.  Could the two mysteries be connected?' 
  • Richard A. Lupoff, Marblehead.  Weird novel.  The original version of Arkham House's Lovecraft's Book, restored to its full length.
  • John Lutz, Slaughter.  A Frank Quinn mystery.  "A beautiful jogger, drained of blood, dismembered, then meticulously reassembled on the grass in Central Park.  Plummeting elevators, collapsing construcion cranes, apartment explosions -- all creating a bloody, senseless puzzle.  Detective Frank Quinn knows that even while the slayer is tauntng the cops and the public, he's also screaming to be caught.  But Quinn will have to risk everything he holds precious to bring in this killer..."
  • John Lutz and David August, Final Seconds.  Thriller, revised and updated from its original 1998 apperance.  "Will Harper was an NYPD hero,  Then fate, a fiery blast, and departmental politics burned down his career.  Now Will is again in the line of fire as a disgraced FBI profiler pulls him back into action -- on the hunt for a serial killer authorities don't even know about yet."
  • "Anne Meredith" (Lucy Beatrice Malleson), Portrait of a Murderer.  Mystery novel.  "Adrian Gray was born on May 1862 and met his death through violence at the hands of one of his own children, at Christmas, 1931.  Each December, Adrian Gray invites his extended family to stay at his lonely house, Kings Poplars.  None of Gray's six surviving children is fond of him; several have cause to wish him dead.  The family gathers on Christmas Eve -- and by the following morning their wish has been granted.  This fascinating and unusual novel tells the story of what happened that dark Christmas and what the murderer did next."  Malleson is probaly best known for her novels about lawyer-detective Arthur G. Crook under her "Anthony Gilbert" pseudonym.
  • Bruce McAllister, Dream Baby.  A novel of Vietnam.  "The United States said that the war in Vietnam was for hearts and minds...A few people were after the minds alone.  McAllister's masterful novel draws you slowly but inexorably into the shadowy world of the CIA operations in Vietnam, into an ultra-secret project to exploit the paranormal 'talents' developed by some soldiers in combat."
  • John Metcalfe, Nightmare Jack and Other Stories.  Collection of seventeen of Metcalfe's best weird stories.  Metcalfe, almost forgotten now, has been compared to Walter de la Mare, L. P. Hartley, and Robert Aickman for his insidious and unnerving stories about the horrors that can intrude on the quiet lives of ordinary people.  Edited by Richard Dalby.
  • Charles Nuetzel, Queen of Blood.  Novelization of the 1966 AIP horror flick that has become a cult favorite.  The film starred John Saxon, Basil Rathbone, Judi Merdith, and Dennis Hopper, with Forrest J. Ackerman in a minor role.  A bad movie and a bad book, so naturally they both have become very popular (the original paperback now goes for up to $400; my copy sadly went walkabout somewhere in th Seventies).  Queen of Blood is said to have greatly influenced Ridley Scott's Alien.  During the six days of shooting, Dennis Hopper had to visibly restrain himself from laughing at the absurdity of the script.  Despite some erroneous reports, the film was not based on Nuetzel's book, rather it drew from a Russian movie based on Mikhail Karyukov's "A Dream Come True."
  • Ian Rankin, Beggars Banquet.  Collection of twenty-one crime stories, with seven about Inspector John Rebus.  You can't get much better than that.
  • Peter Robinson, Watching the Dark.  Mystery novel, the twentieth in the Inspector Banks series.  "A decorated policeman is murdered on the tranquil grounds of the St. Peter's Police Treatment Centre, shot through the heart with a crossbow arrow, and compromising photographs are discovered in his room.  Detective Chief Inspector Alan Banks is well aware that he must handle the highly sensitive and dangerously explosive investigation with the utmost discretion.  And as he digs deeper, he discovers that the murder may be linked to an unsolved missing persons case from six years earlier and the current crime may involve croked cops."
  • "Peter Tremayne" (Peter Berresford Ellis), Behold a Pale Horse:  A Mystery of Anceint Ireland.  The twentieth book about Sister Fidelma of Cashel, a dalaigh or advocate of the law courts of seventh-century Ireland.  Historically accurate and evocatively written, the Sister Fidelma novels are without peer for their type.
  • Jon Tuska, editor, The Western Story:  A Chronological Treasury, Volume Two, 1940-1994.  Ten stories.  Authors are Peter Dawson, T.T. Flynn, Walter Van Tilberg Clark, Dorothy M. Johnson, Les Savage, Jr., Louis L'Amour, Will Henry, Elmer Kelton, T. V. Olsen, and Cynthia Haseloff.  There's a semi-comprehensive twelve-page appendix listing recommended novels included (although author Max Brand [and probably others] is missing).
  • Ronin Winks, editor, Colloquium on Crime.  Eleven top mystery writer discuss their craft.  Authors are Robert Barnard, Rex Burns, K. C. Constantine, Dorothy Salisbury Davis, Michael Gilbert, Donald Hamilton, Joseph Hansen, Tony Hillerman, Reginald Hill, James McClure, and Robert B. Parker.  The book was published in 1986. and all authors except Rex Burns have since died; let's hope their work continues to survive long into the future.

A Bounty of Bensons:  One of the most remarkable (dare I say quirky?) literary families was the Bensons -- the four surviving children of Edward White Benson (1829-1896).  (Bensons' two other children were Martin Benson, who did at age 18 from an undefined illness, and Nellie, a social worker who died of unknown causes at age 26.)  Benson, who was prone to long bouts of depression and violent mood swings, served as the Archbishop of Canterbury from 1883 until his death.  Previous to that, he was the first Bishop of Truro (1877-1883), the Chancellor of Lincoln Cathedral, where he set up the Lincoln Theological College (1872-1877), and -- being chosen by Prince Albert -- the first Master of Wellington College (1859-1872).  He was the co-founder of the Cambridge Association for Spiritual Inquiry, a.k.a. the Cambridge Ghost Society or the Ghostlie Guild, which has been described as the predecessor for the Society of Psychical Research.  Author Henry James wrote that, in 1895, Edward White Benson gave him the idea for his short novel The Turn of the Screw.  During his fifth year as Archbishop of Canterbury, a lay tribunal headed by the Bishop of Lincoln tried to prosecute him on six ritual offenses; Benson avoided prosecution by hearing the case in his own archiepiscopal court (which had previously been inactive since 1699).  While Bishjop of Truro, Benson devised the Nine Lessons and Carols -- a service that, in revised form, is now broadcast throughout the world each Christmas.  Benson was also the founder of the Church of England Purity Society, which later merged with the White Cross Army.

Benson married his second cousin Mary Sidgwick when she was 18; Benson had first propsed to her when she was 12 and he was 24.  Gladstone , the British Prime Minister, described Mary as "the cleverest woman in Europe."  Following her husband's death, Mary lived with her lover, Lucy Tait, the daughter of the previous Archbishop of Canterbury; Lucy had first moved in with the Bensons in 1889.

None of the four surviving Benson children -- Arthur, Maggie, Fred, and Hugh -- ever married, and some (Arthur and Maggie, at least) appeared to suffer from mental illnesses -- possibly bipolar disorder.  All were gay.

Arthur Christopher Benson (1862-1925) had a distinguished academic career and was a noted essayist and poet.  He taught at Eton for eighteen years, then moved to Magdalene College (University of Cambridge) as a Fellow in 1904, eventually serving as Master of Magdalene College from 1915 until his death.  He helped edit the correspondence of Queen Victoria in 1907.  His books of essays and poems were quite popular during his lifetime.  He published literary criticisms of Rossetti, Fitzgerald, Pater, and Ruskin.  He is probably best known for writing  the lyrics to the British patriotic song "Land of Hope and Glory."  In common with his brothers Fred and Hugh, Arthur also wrote highly regarded ghost stories, including "Basil Netherby" and "The Utmost Farthing."

Edward Frederic Benson (1867-1940) was a prolific author, publishing at least 66 novels, at least fifteen short story collections, and some thirty nonfiction works, including histories, books on sporting (he once represented England in figure skating), biographies, autobiographies, guides, and miscellania, as well as writing at least six produced plays.   His satiric novels of English social life include the Mapp and Lucia series, which were popularized by several BBC television series, and the Dodo books.  (The principal location of the Mapp and Lucia books is based on Rye, where Benson lived and where he served as mayor from 1934 until his death.  His home in Rye was Lamb House, which has also been the home of Henry James and Rumor Godden, among other notables.)  E. F. Benson is acknowleged as one of the world's greatest writers of ghost and supernatural stories.  He was a discrete homosexual and echoes of this can be found in several of his books, especially the David Blaine school stories.

Robert Hugh Benson (1871-1914) was ordained a priest in the Church of England by his father in 1895.  Following his father's death, Hugh began to question the Church of England and was eventually recieved into the Catholic Church in 1903,  He was ordained the following year.  As the son of a former Archibishop of Canterbury, Hugh's conversion was considered quite scandalouos.  He worked his way through the church hierachy, eventually becoming a Chamberlain to Pope Pius X in 1911.  He was named Monsignor shortly before his death.  He was an ardent propagandist for the Catholic faith, perhaps edging on the brink of fantacism.  Hugh attended seances (but evidently rejected spiritualism, although he did believe he had experienced hauntings), experimented with drugs, and had a morbid fear of death.  Despite a stutter and a "reedy" voice, Hugh became a popular preacher.  He eventually broke off a long  friendship with the writer Frederick Rolfe ("Baron Corvo" -- known to be "a Venetian pimp and a procurer of boys," but maintained his steady friendship with Oscar Wilde's lover, Lord Alfred Douglas.  Hugh's writings include devotional and apologetic works, children's books, plays, historical and contempoary fiction,as well as science fiction, fantasy, and ghost stories.  His dystopian, apocalyptic novel Lord of the World (1907) saw a weakened Catholic Church as the final remnant of /Christianity just prior to the world being destrooyed in Armageddon.

Margaret Benson (1865-1915) was one of the first women to attend Oxford University, where she was considered more academically successful than her brothers -- in 1866 she tied for first place in England for women's examination.  In 1894, Margaret went to Egypt for her health, where she became interested in Egyptology.  The following year, she became the first woman to be granted a government concession to excavate in Egypt.  She excavated in the Temple of Mut in Karnak, Thebes. over three seasons, uncovering many artifacts and several courtyards; during the second excavation, she and her companion/lover Janet Gourlay led the first tall-female ecavation in Egypt.  In addition to Egyptology, Margaret was interested in theology and in women's higher education.  She spoke out against Christian Science.  Never one in good health, she suffered from scarlet fever at age 20, rheumatism and arthritis over the next five years, pleurisy around 1897, and a heart attack in 1900.  She had a mental breakdown in 1907, and was treated in an asylum, then movong to another saylum for the next five years.  She became obsessed with Lucy Tait, her mother's lover, and was convinced that Tait was conspiring to get rid of her.  Fred's writing has suggested that at one time Margaret attempted to kill her mother.  In addition to a book on Egyptology, Margaret also wrote on economic issues, religious philosophy, and several books about animals.

A mnost unusual family.

R.I.P., Ducky -- Via Con Dios, Illya:  The late actor David McCallum was also a talented musician.  He did not sing, however; he played the oboe and composed and arranged musical pieces.  Here is one of his best-known works, played against a Man from U.N.C.L.E. backdrop:

A Trip to the Past and a Look to the Future:  The New York World's Fair 1939-1940, or, "Hey, Where's My Flying Car?"

Another Blast from the Past:  The Grateful Dead live at the Berkeley Community Theater, August 24, 1972.  Enjoy these 16 tracks:

Cows With Guns:  [Hat tip to Everlasting Blort and Miss Cellania]

I Laughed:  A new employee was standing in front of the office shredder looking very confused when his supervisor walked by.

"What's the matter?" he asked the new guy.

"How do you get this thing to work?"

The supervisor took the pile of papers from the new guy's hands and inserted them into he shredder.

The new employee looked at the supervisor and asked, "But where do the copies come out?"

Fried Scallops:  This is National Fired Scallop Day!  Here's an easy reciipe for a delicious treat (although it is hard to find a complicated recipe for fried scallops).  Enjoy!

Happy Birthday, Groucho:  Born this day in 1890.

Florida Man:
  • 56-year-old Florida Man James William Jubane of Summerfield was arrested for calling 911 multiple tmes of a period of several days.  Police had responded Tuesday to a dispute between Jubane and his neighbor, where Jubane insisted the police conduct their investigation the way he wanted.  Jubane was told that any complaints about the investigation should go to the officers' supervisor.  Jubane called 911 while the officers were on the scene.  He continued to call 911 over the next few days for non-emergency reasons, saying, "You want to charge me for abuse with 911?  Go for it!~"  They took him at his word.  Jubane is being held on $8000 bond.
  • Orlando Florida Man Pablo Eduardo Garcia, 27, was arrested after he attacked his ex-grilfriend in her home for more than two hours.  He punched the woman several times in the face while holding a gun on her.  The gun went off, tearing a hole in the headboard of her bed.  He pointed the gun at her a second time, but the gun jammed.  He ordered her to text her landlord in case he had heard the shot and to say that everything wa okay.  After she texted the landlord, Garcia smashed her cell phone and Apple watch with his gun.  Garcia blocked the door, refusing to let her leave, and alledgedly sexually asaulted her.  Then, because he's a Florida Man, he fell asleep and she was able to escape and notify police.
  • The Indian River County Sheriff's Office, with an assist from the Sebastian Police Department and The Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission, arrested more than 15 Florida Individuals in the Great Berry Bust of 2023, recovering hundreds of pounds of illegally-harvested saw palmetto berries.  The berries are often used for health benefits and as a natural supplement.  They can be used for "disorders of the male and female reproductive organs and coughs due to various diseases," and as a supplement for urinary symptoms associated with an enlarged protate gland, chronic pelvic pain, headaches, and hair loss -- making the berries a profitable target.
  • A three-legged Florida bear, dubbed Tripod, has been raiding homes in central Florida in the Heathrow area.  Tripod first raided a fridge and drank three White Claws.  He returned to a neighboring home a few days later to opened a rerigerator on the lanai.  Tripod has been seen at least three times raiding refigerators in the area, usually for alcoholic drinks.  Smarter than the average bear?
  • I truly do not know is she is a Florida Woman, but she might as well be.  She is suing Walt Disney World for injuries sustained when she received a wedgie going down a water slide at the park's Typhoon Lagoon, causing permanent injuries to her private areas and internal organ damage.  The slide is the steepest and fastest in the park.  The incident happened in 2019,  As far as I can tell. Disney World had not commented.
  • Florida Woman Madison Stephan "borrowed" an alligator from a former employee for a birthday photo shoot, keeping in an Orange County hotel bathtub.  Stephan used to work at Croc Encounters in Tampa and had kept keys to the place after she left.  She went to the facilty before it opened, used the keys, and grabbed the juvenile alligator, then drove over an hour to her hotel in Orange Beach.  The alligator was cold to the touch after being left in cold water in the bathtub.  Croc Encounters refused to file charges against her, although Stephan was issued a notice to appear in court for possession of the reptile.
  • There has been a plague of bunny dumping all around Brevard County.  About thirty local rescuers with "Space Coast Bunnies" have been taking the dumped pets into their homes but are soon to run out of space.  They are asking the county to address the issue.  Among the abandoned rabbits are Blueberry, who has a broken back, and Bun Bun, who has only three legs.  The rabbits were supposedly bought as pets, but were abandoned when owners lost interest.  (South Florida has similar problems with iguanas and feral cats.)  Unchecked, the bunny situation could create a nuisance in neighborhoods, damage property, and attract such predators as coyotes and wildcats, according to Ashley Berke, who heads Space Coast Bunnies.

Good News:
  •  World's first drug to regrow teeth enters clinical trials
  • Viral video helps small town hire a doctor
  • Police, good samritans, team up to lift 4000-pound car off crushed teenager
  • Peanut and food allergies may be reversed by compound produced by healthy gut bacteria
  • Missing toddler found sleeping in woods with dog as a pillow after walking three miles bare foot
  • NASA may have cracked the code for replacing lithuium in batteries

Today's Poem:

October is the treasurer of the year,
And all the months pay bounty to her store:
The fields and orchards still their tribute bear,
And fill her brinmming coffers more and more.
But she, with youthful lavishness,
Spends all her wealth in gaudy dress,
And decks herself in garments bold
Of scarlet, purple, red, and gold.
She heedeth not how swift the hours fly,
But smiles and sings her happy life along.
She only sees above a shining sky,
She only hears the breezes' voice in song.
Her garments trail the woodlands through,
And agther pearls of early dew
That sparkle, till the roguish sun
Creeps up and steals them every one.
But what cares she that jewels should be lost,
When all of Nature's bounteous wealth is hers?
Though princely fortunes may have been their cost,
Not one regret her calm demeanor stirs.
Whole-hearted, happy, careless, free,
She lives her life out joyously,
Not cares when Frost stalks o'er her way
And turns her auburn locks to gray.

-- Paul Laurence Dunbar

Saturday, September 16, 2023


The blog is taking a couple of weeks off.  I'm not going anywhere or doing anything special ot exciting; I just need some time to recharge my batteries.  I realized that for several months now I had not been taking the time to take a breath, calm my soul, and truly appreciate all the good that is surrounding me.  Time to do that.

See you on the other side.


Here's a Golden Age Aussie superhero, private detective Ralph Rivers, The Crimson Comet.  There's not much done in these comics.  Richards is pictured as a rather stiff guy, wearing sunglasses and holding a pipe in his mouth (not sure if he ever smokes it).  He wears a raincoat that may be hiding a hunchback, but it's not -- it's to hide his golden wings.  Yep.  He flies.  As the Crimson Comet, he is a supposed friend of Ralph Rivers.  He wears a tight red bodysuit with the underwear on the outside ('natch) and some sort of swimming cap that hides his hair and ears; on the front of the cap is a cicled "C" with two wings extending from the circle.  He had a wide holstered gun belt with a big circular buckle. and he wears calf-high boots.  He is the epitome of a costumed superhero, even though the book is printed in black-and-white.

I have no idea of his origin story, or if he ever had one.  The comic book ran for 73 issues, from 1949 to sometime in the Fifties, during its first run, then for another possible 32 issues, ending in 1958.  The first issue was published by Leisure Publications, an early name for the H. John Edwards publishing company of Sydney; the second series of comics was published by Action Comics of Sydney.  The Crimson Comet was created and drawn by John Dixon, who left the book after seven issues to be replaced by Albert de Vine. who drew the book well into the mid-Fifties, when Dixon returned to the fold.

In no way should this Crimson Comet be conflated with D.C.'s The Flash, sometimes refered to as the Crimson Comet.

Re:  the Australian comic book.  This one was stapled across the top. 2which meant it had to be turned on its side to be read.  This form of formatting appears to be unique among some Australian comic books.

In issue #13, pretty young Cecily Adams crashes into Ralph Rivers outside his metropolian office.  She begs Rivers to hide her from aliens who are about to invade the Earth.  Turns out that eighteen months before, she was horseback riding, inspecting her property in the country, when she spotted a small, fast-moving, silver metalled craft that landed behind some nearby hills.  When she went to inspect it, she discovered a flying saucer about the size of a bicycle tire.  Two "men" emerged from the saucer and stabbed her in the leg with a hypodermic needle.  She woke up, shrunken in size, a captive inside the saucer, which then took of at astounding speed.  They travelled in space for four days before landing on what she was to learn was the planet Neput.  She was forced to drink some sort of liquid which returned her to normal size, and then she was brought before the Emperor Nazikom, the ruler of Neput.  (Could a villain have a more appropriate name than Nazikom, especially in  the early 1950s?)  Neither spoke the other's language, but Cecily was given a tour of the planet which emphasized the world's vst technological skill and advanced weapons of war.  Evntually she was taught the language of the Neputians.

Brought back before Nazikom, she was told that she must teach his subjects English to better enable then to conquer Earth.  (Neput had already cuered all its nearby neighboring planets.)  Cecily refused, but she was placed under a machine whose rays zapped her powers of resistance.  Now, with two Neputian officers, she was returned to Earth so they could pave the way for the invasion.  The officers were to meet with the invading general to discuss invasion plans while Cecily was locked in a hotel room.  Cecily managed to tie some bedsheets together and escape through a window.  Fleeing, she bumped into Ralph Rivers, which is where we started the story.

This seems like a good place for me to carp about fashion choices and proportionality, and there's a lot to unpack about both.   Cecily starts out on horseback wearing a one-piece outfit with puffy full sleeves and a very skimpy pair of shorts.  She may be riding brefoot (it's hard to tell).  Through her eighteen mopnths of captovity, she wear the same darned outfir, carefully shaded underneath her breast to emphasize her ta-tas (which are admirable).  But now whe's wearing high heel shoes!  When she and her Neputian guards go back to Earth and check into a hotel (the Ritz), she has a mid-length dress, a small skullcap-like hat (which mysteriously vanishes in the next few panels) and a pearl necklace.  The Neputians outfit of choice one their planet are Speed-os, tight-fitting shirts with blousy arms, and high pointed hats, all of which makes them resemble a Frank R. Paul illustration. 

As far as proportions go, the flying saucer is the size of "a bicycle wheel," yet the occupants are seven inches tall.  When Cecily regains her height, they appear to be about three feet tall or so.  The flying saucer has a number of compartments in it, including a room for Cecily to be imprisoned in, closets for the Crimson Comet to hide behind, a control room and more.  At the hotel, the saucer is carried under one of the Neputian's arms and appeared to be the size of a 78-rpm record album.

And how many bedsheets does a hotel room at the Ritz have anyway?  Enought to reach the ground from a window when tied together?  And what floor was that room on anyway?

I know I'm picky.  Sue me.

The artwork, except for the characters, is pretty nifty.

And, don't worry about the alien invasion.  SPOILER:  A single auto-piloted hydrogen bomb blew the planet Neput all to hell.

Enjoy this weird little piece of Australian comic book history.

Thursday, September 14, 2023


 Comfort Station by "J. Morgan Cunningham"  (Donald E. Westlake), 1973

For thousand of years, the wisestof us have poindered the question,"Can a bad book ever be a good book?"  And, over the millennia, the answer has always come back with a resounding "No!"

Purportedly cashing in on the phenominal success of such 1970s blockbusters as Hotel and Airport, J. Morgan Cunningham has produced the epic story of the various cast of characters who passed through the men's room of the Bryant Park Comfort Station near the New York Pub;oc Library on 42nd Street on one very rainy day.

At the beginning of the book, we are given the cast of characters, of which I have taken the liberty to reproduce verbatim:

     FRED DINGBAT -- omnibus operative, prooud of his position in intraurban transit.  Too proud?

     MO MOWGLI -- custodian of the Comfort Station.  What was there about his past that haunted him?

     ARBOGAST SMITH -- plainclothes patrolman. In responsibility he found anodyne -- and the testing of his strength.

     HERBERT Q. LUMINOUS -- bookkeeper om the run.  What happened to him was almost a cliche.

     CAROLINA WEISS -- onetime Russian countess now A & E mechanic.  In the arms of another man she sought forgetfulness.

     GENERAL RAMON SAN MARTINEZ TORTILLA -- deposed dictator.  What was it he wanted to get off his chest?

     FINGERS FOGELHEIMER -- mobster.  Out of the thrilling days of yesteryear, he returns for vengeance.

     LANCE CAVENDISH -- Black.  With him and thirty-five cents you can take the subway.

Characters will meet.  Characters will interact.  Some lives will be changed.  A modicum of suspense may occur.

It sholuld be noted that author Cunningham was enthusiastic, if not very capable, with his prose.  He delivered an manuscript of over three million words, which staff editors managed to winnow down to a smallish paperback.  In doing so, the editors tried to retain the distinct and unpleasant (and oft times excruciating) flavor of the author's writing.  Best-selling blockbuster authors need not feel threatened.  Although considering the quirks of the publishing industy, as well as the buying public, perhaps they should be.

Donald E. Westlake could be a sly boots.  He is at his sly-est and bootiest here with this over the top farce that had become a hard-to-find camp classic.  Luckily, Open Road Media has made it available to the public after nearly half a century.

So, back to the question:  "Can a bad book ever be a good book?"  The answer is still an overwelming "No!"  But it can, in the hands of a master like Westlake, be a hell of a lot of fun.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023


Once again, let's join Reed Hadley as Red Ryder and Frank Breese as Little Beaver as they ride again for justice, this time facing against a gang that wants the Barton Ranch -- and are willing to use force if necessary.


Tuesday, September 12, 2023


"The Stone That the Builders Rejected" by Avam Davidson  (previously unpublished and likely written in the mid-1950s; the original manuscript title was "Caretaker;" a hand-written note changed the title to "A Very Old Custom;" under the current title, it had been purchased for Harlan Ellison's legendary and still unpublished anthology The Last Dangerous Visions* but was eventually returned to Davidson's estate; it was finally published in Volume 1 of AD100:  100 Years of Avram Davidson; 100 Unpublished or Uncollected Stories ((2023).

A short, sharp story.   Joe Gilson was broke, a stranger in town, and down on his luck.  Employment agencies were of no use -- they wanted their nut up front before they paid applicants for any work done, in fear job applicants would skip town before giving the agencies their due.  So there was Joe, in the cheapest and dingiest bar in the cheapest and dingiest part of town. counting his nickles in hopes that he had fifty cents to cover a meat loaf sandwich (35 cents) and a "big short beer" (15 cents), when he met Burry, Jack, and Valdo, three friendly construction workers (who did not seem to be fairies).  They took pity on Joe and brought them to their work site, where Benny, their boss, was upset about a story in the papers about an office building under construction in Omaha that had collaped. killing three men and injuring seven, two of the not expected to survive.  Benny as well as Joe's three new friends were upset that the construction workers were foolish enough not to take proper precautions.

Joe goes to work for the crew, all of whom treat Joe as a new member of the family.  Joe did not even have to join the union until he had been working there for thirty days, so he could save a little money ahead.  Jack and Valdo shared a large apartment with an extra room for Joe until he could get a place of his own.  Burry's wife cooked a large meal for them and served plenty of wine.  Joe felt he was the luckiest guy on Earth.  Later, Jack and Valdo took Joe to a place that was not a bar and was run by a woman named Mary.

Sometimes if things appear to be too good to be true, they probably aren't.  Ah. Joe...

Avram Davidson (1923-1993) was one of the truly great and sadly underacknowledged writers of the twentieth century.  He began his writing career as a Talmudic scholar aroun 1950 and his first stories were published in Commentary and in other Jewish intellectual magazines.  Although he had been active in science fiction fandom since his early teens, he burst onto the professional science fiction and fantasy scene with "My Boyfriend's Name is Jello" (The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, November 1952), the first of many challenging and often unclassifiable stories over his career.  Davidson has won the Hugo, Edgar, World Fantasy (three times), and Ellery Queen Awards, as well as being given a World Fantasy Lifetime Achievement Award.  Davidson also served as editor for The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, and ghost-wrote two highly acclaimed novels as "Ellery Queen."

Davidson's Adventures in Unhistory is a collection of highly researched, digressive, articles about the hidden corners of history and legend, and are a joy to read, as are his stories about Dr. Eszterhazy. an erudite Sherlock Holmes figure in the fictional county of Sythia-Pannonia-Transbalkania, the waning fourth-largest empire in Europe, and his tales of Jack Limekiller, a Candaian ex-pat living in a mysterious and imaginary Central American country, and his stories about Vergil Magnus, a medieval magician based on the poet Vergil.  No matter where you dip into Avram Davidson's works, you'll find a rich, rewarding, and often twisty tale, embued with literacy, slyness. and wit.  Unfortunately, Davidson's love of exploring new ideas led to the abandonment of many planned and begun  series -- it was as if, with the best of intentions, he..."Squirrel!"

Critic John Clute's observation in The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction that Davidson "is perhaps sf's most explicitly literary author" can easily extend to his many other genres.

* Sometimes listed as "The Stone Which the Builders Rejected."  The Last Dangerous Visions may soon be published if all goes well with the Ellison estate, and will include many of the stories Ellison originally bought for the anthology, and will include many newer stories;  I don't know of anything by Davidson** will be included in the final version.

**Davidson did collaborate with Ellison on at least one published story, "Up Christopher to Madness" (Knight, November 1965; included in Ellison's 1971 collection Partners in Wonder).  A proposed collaborative crime novel, Don't Speak of Rope, died -- perhaps thankfully -- aborning, although Ellison listed it as a forthcoming novel for several years before all mention of the book was dropped.  I know I can't be the only person who wished that novel had born fruit.

Monday, September 11, 2023


Today is the birthday of ubiquitous child actor Dickie Moore (1925-2015), the kid who gave Shirley Temple her first ion-screen kiss (in Miss Annie Rooney, 1941).  Moore made his screen debut at the age of 18 months; by the time he was ten he had appeared in 52 films.  Before he aged out as a chld and youth actor in the Fifties, he appeard in over 100 films, including Blonde Venus, So Big, Gabriel Over the White House, The Story of Louis Pasteur, Sergeant York, Out of the Past, and in eight Our Gang comedies.  Following his acting career, Moore taught, wrote books on acting, edited Equity News, and produced industrial films.  In 1966, he founded Dick moore Associates, a public relations firm, which he ran for 44 years.  His third wife was actress Jane Powell (married 1988 until his death).  He died of dementia iat age 89.

Moore played the title character in Oliver Twist.  Also featured were Irving Pichel as Fagin, William "Stage" Boyd" as Sykes, Doris Lloyd as Nancy Sykes, and Sonny Ray as The Artful Dodger.  The film was directed by Willam J. Cowen from a script by Elizabeth Meehan.  

"You can consider yourself at home, consider yourself one of the family," as you watch this non-musical version of the Charles Dickens classic.



 Openers:  The white-painted fruit steamer steamed out between the forts and turned toward the south.  She only touched at Bahia del Toro to drop the mail on her downward trip, though on her return toward the north she paused to take on a portion of her cargo.  The Stars and Stripes at her masthead fluttered brightly in the golden sunshine of midday, and the same sunshine made the sea seem bluer, and the palms greener and vividly alive.  Half a dozen small launches that had clustered about the white ship scattered and made for different points along the waterfront of the city.

El Senor Beckwith was seated in a great cane chair on the veranda of the white house that sprawled over the hillside.  He looked at the ship and heaved a sigh.  It was not a wistful sigh, nor was there pathos concealed anywhere about it.  The sigh was a sign of the satisfaction that filled him.  He sat at ease, puffing a long black cigar.  At his elbow a glass tinkled musically when he moved.  His huge frame, now clad in spotless white duck, was eloquent of content.  Only his left thumb, bandgaed and in splints, gave the cumbrance of the wrppings.  It was a souvenir of the incident that caused his sensation of complete satisfaction.  Conway had broken that thumb in his last struggle, two weeks before.  Conway was dead.

-- "The Gallery Gods" by "Murray Leinster" (Will F. Jenkins)  (first published in Argosy All-Story Weekly, August 21, 1920; reprinted in in Leinster's The Runaway Skyscraper and Other Tales from the Pulps, 2007; in The Murray Leinster Megapack, 2012 [ also published as The First Murray Leinster Megapack, 2015]; and in The Second Murray Leinster Megapack, 2015)

Regular readers of this blog (both of them) know that I am a big fan of Murray Leinster.  I am also a big fan of Will F. Jenkins and of William Fitzgerald.  (I would probably also be a big fan of Jean farquar, Pepe Gomez, Joe Gregg, Kenny Kenmare, Louisa Carter Lee, Florinda Martel, and Rafaele Yborra, but I haven't read his work under those pseudonyms.)  Leinster/Jenkins published well over a thousand science fiction, western, mystery, romance, adventure, horror, and mainstream stories over his career.  He was extremely readable.

Minor Leinster.  But even minor Leonster eas heads above many of his competitors.

Incoming:  There's a lot of Lee Goldberg and F. Paul Wilson books this week, probably because I like both authors.

  • Kevin J. Anderson, Janet Berliner, Matthew J, Costello, & E, Paul Wilson, The Artifact.  Thriller.  "Six adrenalin junkies who call themselves the Daredevils Club hold the fate of the world in their hands.  In an ancient undersea cavern, one of them, oil man Frik von Alman, discovers a set of stones that are unlike anything else on Earth.  Fitted together, the stones form an object that promises limitless free energy for the world."
  • Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg, Pros and Cons and The Shell Game.  Two novellas in the Fox and O'Hare series.  Evanovich teamed with Goldberg to write the first five books in the best-selling series; two other novels followed, one written with Peter Evanovich and one with Steve Hamilton.
  • Erle Stanley Gardner, The Case of the Troubled Trustee.  A Perry Mason mystery.  "Investment counselor Kerry Dutton has his hands full as trustee for Desere Ellis, a young woman with a talent for spending money.  To protect her interests, Dutton performed some 'creative accounting,' and multiplied that modest fund several times over.  Yet now that trust is expiring, he fears his financial finagling will brand him as an embezzler -- and destroy him in the eyes of the woman he loves.  Romance isn't Perry Mason's forte, but the lawyer agrees to help with Dutton's money mix-up.  True to its reputation as the root of all evil, the controversial capital soon yields murder." A late in the series novel marred slightly by Gardner's conservative and somewhat crankypants "Hey, you kids get off my lawn!" attitude.  I read this one over the weekend, completing my read of all 57 novels and four short stories in the series; this is the only one of Gardner's many novels and non-fiction books that I had read.  Not to worry, though, there are still a slew of short story collections ahead of me.
  • Lee Goldberg, Fast Track.  A racing novel based on Goldberg's film Fast Track:  No Limits.  Also, Three Ways to Die, a collection of three novellas; Ella Clah:  The Pilot Script, with William Rabkin, based on Aimee & David Thurlo's Navajo police detective; and Dame Edna:  Detective, a film script written for the late Barry Humphries' Dame Edna Everage character (Humphries died in April and I have no idea of the status of the film, but there is no mention of it on Humphries IMDb page).
  • Steve Hockensmith, Dawn of the Dreadfuls.  Horror/literary mash-up, the prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
  • J. A. Konrath, Ann Voss Peterson, & F. Paul Wilson, The Fix.  Nov ella, the seventh in the Code Name: Chandler series about a female spy for a secret government agency.  F. Paul Wilson was brought along for this entry because Chandler meets up with Repairman Jack and the two have to scramble to save the city from terrorists.
  • "Murray Leinster" (Will F. Jenkins), The Runaway Skyscraper and Other Stories. A mixed collection of eight science fiction, fantasy, mystery, and adventure stories first published in various pulps from 1919 to 1931.  See Openers, above.
  • Sarah Pinborough and F. Paul Wilson, A Necessary End.  Thriller.  "Set against a worldwide apocalypse, it takes the eteranl struggle between faith and reason and makes it real.  LIFE CAME OUT OF AFRICA...But now it's death's turn...It spreads like a plague but it's not a disease."  the book was a finalist for the World Fantasy Award.
  • Daniel Stashower, The Floating Lady Mystery.  A Harry Houdini mystery.  "In turn-of-the-century New York City, struggling young performer Harry Houdini is working for the renowned magician Kellar.  One night his master's astonishing illusion The Floating Lady goes horribly wrong, with Kellar's levitating assistant apparently plunging to her death.  Houdini, along with his wife Bess and brother Dash, must solve the mystery and figure out how the young lady died from from a drowning rather than a fatal fall."
  • F. Paul Wilson, Ephemerata V5.0:  The Odds and Ends of a Writing Life.  Miscellany.  Introductions, forewords, afterwords, reviews, obituaries, rants, guest blogs, and whathaveyou.  Over 100 pieces in all.  Also, The Last Christmas:  A Repairman Jack Novel, taking place in late December between Ground Zero and Fatal Error.  Jack is convinced "to take on a missing-person fix.  As usual, nothing is as it seems, and the missing person isn't exactly a person.  In fact, it's like nothing anyone has ever seen.  And in the middle of this, the mysterious Madame Medici hires him to safeguard a valuable object.  Simple, right?  Not even close."

Earworm:   Sometimes you get an earworm that just won't let go.  It happened to me this weekend and I thought I would inflict  it on you.

"Creole Belle" was written as a cakewalk song in 1901 by J. Bodewell Lampe and George Sidney.  It was transformed and popularized by Mississippi John  Hurt, who first recorded it in 1963.; his stamp pm the song was so powerful that many now consider the song to have beenwritten by Lampe, Sidney, and Hurt.  

There are far worse earworms.

Mississippi John Hurt.

Taj Mahal.

Jim Kweskin.

Stefan Grossman.

Doc & Merle Watson.

Bodenwald Lamp.

Hans Theessink.

Bob La Beau.

Arlo Guthrie.

Dan Zanes & Elizabeth Mitchell.

The Beanshakers.

Nils Falk.

Elijah Wald.

Toots & Littlefield.

Michael Cooney.

Tarzan and the Devil Ogre:  The first original Tarzan comic book was dated February 1947 and was issue #134 of Dell Comics Four Color Comics.  It was drawn by Jesse Marsh, who would improve his depiction of the Jungle Lord over the years.  Tarzan returned to Four Color Comics for issue #161 before getting his own title in the January-February 1948 issue of Tarzan.

Enjoy this first comic adventure of Tarzan.

Sunday, September 10, 2023

SEPTEMBER 11, 2001

It was a day of horror, but also a day in which we, as Americans, showed out mettle.  It was also a day that could have led to great promise for America -- in many ways it did and in many ways it didn't.

Many people dressed in Islamic garb were approached by total strangers asking them if they were all right, was anyone bothering them.  We realized that an entire race or a religion cannot be defined by a few evil people.

It was a day when passengers on American Airlines Flight 93 stood up to evil even though it cost them their lives.

It was a time when Rudy Guiliani was America's Mayor and late-night comedians had to cease calling George W. Bush stupid.  It was a time of uniting.

Sadly, it was also a time when politicians overreracted.  In the heat of the moment, Congress passed the disaterous Patriot Act, which was used to strip away some of our basic rights.  Torture, almost always an ineffective way to gain credible information, began to be used in some quarters.  Donald Trump whould claim that he saw thousands of Muslims cheering when the Twin Towers went down; the saddest part of this being that many people actually believed that showboating liar.  Instead of using the tragedy to allow the country to forge ahead united, politicians selfishly used the attacks to further their own agendas and create a divisive country.  Imagine what the world might be if, instead of a knee-jerk reaction, we moved forward with calm consideration, reason, and diplomacy.

Many first responders died in their attempts to rescue victims; thousands of others were injured by physically or by toxic fumes; it took the public outrage of celebrities like Jon Stewart to force the government to do the right thing by these heroes.

Late on Sepembter 10th, Kitty and I  had returned to Virginia after driving through New York City, and found out cat Maggie (the best cat in the world) deathly ill, dying from some sort of poison.  Early in the morning, we drove Maggie to the County Animal Shelter to say our goodbyes and have her peacefully put down.  While we waiting for the shelter to open, the radio told us of the first plane to hit the Twin Towers; when the shelter opened and we brought Maggie in, a plane had just hit the second tower.  Thousands of people that day died, and my tears were only for Maggie, our beloved cat.  I used to feel guilty about that, but I later realized that I just could not cope with the magnitude of what had happened outside our own little world.  I still have a hard time coping and with trying to understand the degree of hate and anguish and evil that gave us 9-11.

Here's a song that has helped me continue to cope:


 Blind Willis McTell.

Friday, September 8, 2023


 C-M-O (or C. M. O.) stood for Chicago Mail Order Company and the first issue of this title was a combined comic book/catalogue.  The Chicago Mail Order Company billed iself as "The House of Style -- The Home of Quality."  Accordin to their avertising, more than 19 people order from C. M. O. every minute, order fillers use roller skates to get around the six-floor warehouse with its thirteen miles of moving belts to move nearly 34,800,00 pounds of packages a year for shipping.  More than 6,000,000 catalogues were mailed in 1942 -- with 250 of the more than 1000 pages printed in color!  (Their exclamation point.)  Incorporated in the various stories in the book are links to where one can find the clothes and props used by the characters in the comic book in the C.M.O. catalog, which explains why some of the characters are wearing some of the most gawdawful trendy clothes.  The second issue of C-M-O COMICS (June 1942) eliminated those ads; I don't know if there was a third issue.

The Chicago Mail Order Comany began operations in 1889, following on the heels of successful Chicago mail order companies such as Sears Roebuck and Montgomery Ward. Its original name was The Chicago Mail Order and Millinery Company, although the "and Millinery" was dropped from the name in 1906.  In 1947 the name was changed to Aldens, Inc.  Was it a coincidence that the featured characters in C-M-O Comics were the borther and sister team of Jack and Judy Alden?  the catalogue operation was liquidated in 1986.

Jack and Judy Alden were clean-cut teenagers living on Roseville, a small town on the U.S. Canadian border.  The football they are playing with is available (page 487 of the catalogue), as is Mrs. Alden's striped cotton dress (page 91 of the catalogue) and Judy's favorite anklet socks -- available in four beautiful colors (page 172 of the catalogue).  Alas, Mrs. Alden's oven is not available, but a toy replica, complete with utensils, is (page 480 in the catalogue),   Together with their visiting cousin Dan Wilkens, they go exploring in "The Mystery of the Old Mill," bringing Dan's portable radio.  Jack is wearing a plaid deerstalker cap (page 372 of the catalogue) and Judy has a blue babushka (page 131 in the catalogue); Judy also has a coruroy jacket (page 241 in the catlogue), a cotton broadcloth shirt (page 219 of the catalogue), and a demin jerkin and skirt (both page 241 in the catalogue) .  On their way they meet friends Reggie and Bob; theu invite Reggie and Bob to go with them but the boys would rather go to Baldy creek to try out Reggie's new rifle.  A violent storm comes up ans the trio take shelter in the (scary) old mill.  Meanwile, an escaped prisoner pulls a gun on old Herb Small, demanding a place to hide; Small takes the bad guy to the old mill.  Herb is wearing a lines sheepskin jacket (page 329 in the catalogue).  Back at the Alden's, Mrs. Alden is all aflutter with worry about the kids, who have note returned home.  Her husband says he'll call the police.  In the Alden's living room is a clock (page 496 in the catalogue), a table lamp (page 421 in the catalogue), and a small table (page 419 in the catalogue).  The local radio station sends out an alert on the missing chidren; Jack, Judy, and Dan hear the alert on Dan's portable radio but they are tapped in the old mill because the storm's winds have slammed a door and locked them in (!).  But the kids are clever.  Dan uses a rope to swing up to a high platform where, on the other side, he sees the escaped prisoner force Herb Small to exchange clothes.  Dan is wearing thick corduroy trousers (page  286 of the catalogue) andf a snow and rain repellent mackinaw (page 334 of the catalogue).  Dan is also wearing moccisin-style shoes (page 283 of the catlogue).  Dan and Herb try to subdue the escaped prisoner, while -- up on the platform -- Judy applies powder to Jack's face to make him look lijke a ghost.  Jack then jumps into the fray, wearing a warm, well-cut, and easy to put on jacket (page 301 of the catalogue) and shape-holding trousers (page 264 of the catalogue).  As the rook is subdued, the police arive to wrp things up.  As a reward, Jack gets a handsomje and handy pen and pencil set (page 504 of the catalogue,), Judy gets a dainty slender wrist watch (page 495 of the catalogue), and Dan gets a swell new bike (which, like Dan's portable, radio, Judy's powder puff makeup kit,  and Reggie's new gun, is not referenced in the catalogue -- what happened?).  Little brother Billy, who didn't do squat in the story but shows up on the last page anyway to help shill product, has a two-piece suit with a gaily-striped pullover and solid color suspender pants (page 222 of the catalogue) and buckle sandals (page 252 of the catalog).  Judy is also wearing a perky red hair bow that looks darling (page 62 of the catalog, while Dan is wearing a diamond pattern plaid sweater (page 277 of the catalogue), and Mr. Alden is wearing one of the "best-looking shirts he's ever owned" (page 316 of the catalog), and Mrs. Alden is wearing a slenderizing (not that she needs it) shirtwaist dress (page 94 of the catalogue).  The end.

Well, it's the end og the first story anyway.  There's more to come.  there are stories about charcaters you've never heard of -- The Gaucho, Super Ann, The Invisible Terror, Ray "Star Spangled" Banners, Plymo the Rubber Man, and Ed Smith, as well as another adventure with Jack and Judy Alden, who find themselves involved in "The Case of the Missing Crook," while they wait for Dan to arrive by train for a visit.

C-M-O Comics was an interesting concept that probably should be filed under "When Product Placement Goes Horribly Bad."  Luckily, their mail order business went belly-up almost 40 years ago so you shouldn't be tempted to order all the neat stuff detailed in this issue, so I think it's safe for you to read and enjoy this comic book.

Thursday, September 7, 2023


 My Gun Has Bullets by Lee Goldberg  (1995)

Lee Goldberg knows many things, among them are 1) how to write entertaining, suspenseful novels, and 2)  television.  As a writer and/or producer, his credits include Spenser:  For Hire, The Highwayman, Murphy's LawHunter, Baywatch, She-Wolf of London, Likely Suspects, Cobra, The Cosby Maysteries, Sliders, Deadly Games, Stick with Me, Kid, SeaQuest 2032, Flipper, Diagnosis Murder, Martial Law, The Nightmare Room, A Nero Wolfe Mystery, She Spies, 1-800-Missing, Monk, Psych, Fast Track:  No Limits, The Glades, Galip Dervis, and Mystery 101.  Among his many books are eight original television tie-in novels in the Diagnosis Murder and fifteen original tie-in novles in the Monk series, as well as the best-selling Successful Television Writing and a number of non-fiction books about television history.  With Max Allan Collins, Goldberg founded the International Association of Media Tie-In Writers.  Goldberg has also launched two publishing ventures:  Brash Books (with Joel Goodman) and Cutting Edge Books.  Goldberg's first foray into novels was with the .357 Vigilante paperback series published under the name "Ian Ludlow."  (This original series has been rebranded the Jury series and has been republished under Goldberg's name.  Goldberg has taken the "Ian Ludlow" name and used it for the main character in another series of novels.)

Would you be surprised that Goldberg used his television background for My Gun Has Bullets, the first suspense novel published under his own name?  No, I didn't think you would.

Charlie Willis was an L.A. cop who had the misfortune of seeing a wildly erratic driver speeding in a Rolls Royce, swerving down the highway, forcing other cars off the road and crashing.  He managed to stop the car by pulling front of it.  Expecting some drug-addled or boozed-up driver, he was surprised to see that the car was driven by a sweet-looking old lady.  Except she was not so sweet.  She cursed Charlie out for stopping her and demanded he move so she could get on her way.  (She had been running late and wanted to make it to Neiman Marcus before they closed because the the store was having its fantastic annual one-day sale.)  Charlie demanded she get out of the car, so she reached into the back seat, pulled out a gun, blew him away, the sped on her way yo the sale; she made it to the store in time and ended up spending $11,000 there.

When Charlie woke up in the hospital, he was surrounded by a gaggle of network executives.  It turns out the sweet little old lady was Esther Radcliffe, the star of the hit series Miss Agatha, about a kindly lady who served tea, baked cookies, and solved murders.  Miss Agatha was the network's cash cow and they were not going to lose it because its star was in reality an evil harridan with a trigger finger.  On exchange for completely forgetting who had shot him, the network offered Charlie a twelve-week series deal, a cop show titled My Gun Has Bullets.

Eddie Planet (pronounced Plan-A) was a washed-up actor whose hit series Saddlesore ended ten years before.  Six failed searies later, Eddie despaired of being a star again.  He bagan pitching ideas for television series, but nothing came of it,  Then he met investor  Daddy Crofoot, who decided to back Eddie's latest project, Frankencop (about a cop whose body was created from body parts from twelve dead cops).  What Eddie did not realize was that Crofoot was tied to the mob and needed to launder money.  Crofoot would not be happy if he lost money on the deal and when Crofoot was not ahpy, people tended to die.  He also insisted that the star of Frankencop be Crofoot's cousin Flint Westwood, a dim-bulb porn actor whose one saving grace was that he out-Holmesed John Holmes and out Jeremy-ed Ron Jeremy.

Sabina Bishop considered herself a legitiamate actress because the films she was working on were erotic thrillers and not porn.  (Porn did not have a slender thread of plot running it the way that an erotic thriller did.)  Durng filming one day, and despite the best efforts of cast and crew, Sabina's nipples did not get erect enough to satisfied the director.  In disgust, Sabina walked out of the set and out of her career as a "legitimate" actress.  Meanwhile, the producer of Aunt Agatha was concerned.  Despite being a solid hit, the show's demographic was aging out -- in a few years they might all be dead.  Something had to be done.  So the show was revamped to bring in a new character -- Agatha's niece, a leather-wearing, cleavage-exposing martial arts expert.  Who to cast in that role?  Sabina Bishop, of course.  This did not go over well with Esther Radcliffe, who immediately began plotting ways to kill Sabina.

Esther, meanwhile has been having an affair with the much younger Flint Westwood.  Westwood has been videotaping their encounters and using these to blackmail Esther ate $50,000 a pop.  Esther does not realize that Flint is behind the blackmail and believes that Charlie is the culprit, so she plans to kill him before she kills Sabina.  She gets a gun with real bullets and uses an elderly propman to get it on set.

     "Itchy Matthews, the withered old propman, rushed up and handed Charlie the massive gun that was Derek Thorne's trademake.  Rumor had it Itchy had worked props on Birth of a Nation.  It didn't matter that half the time Itchy handed Charlie his colostomy bag instead of his props.  The man worked cheap."

Itchy screws up and hands the deadly gun to Charlie, instead to the actor with whom Charlie was to engage in a gunfight.  The scene is shot, bullets fly, and the other actor is dead, shot three times in the chest by Charlie.  Because Charlie's gun had bullets.

In the meantime, the ratings for Frankencop are tanking.  In response, Crofoot does what any good mob boss would do -- he calls in an expert.  Delbert Skaggs was the most most experienced hit man in the mob.  Skaggs enjoyed his job but he wanted more.  Skaggs felt he should leave the ranks of the employed and move up to the executive level.  The call from Crofoot would give him that chance.  Skaggs was put in charge of Frankencop above Eddie.  It didn't take Skaggs long to figure out what the problem was:  The networks ran the show.  They determined what programs would air when, and against whom.  That may be the way to run a network but it wasn't the way to run a criminal enterprise.  A criminal enterprise did not just lay back and accept what was handed to it; it blasted its way through the competition to the top.  Skaggs knew what had to be done -- eliminate the competition.

Among the sbow in the linewup of the three networks were such offerings as Johnny Wildlife, Dedicated Doctors, Boo Boo's Dilemma, Rappy Scrappy, Broad Squad, Smart Alec, Adopted Family, My Wife Next Door, Young Hudson Hawk, Blacke and Whyte, Honeymooners:  The Next Generarion, Sheriff of Mars, Sleepwalker, and Red Highway, and (of course) Miss Agatha, My Gun Has Bullets, and Frankencop.  In development were such shows as Matt Jacob (with Don Knotts as a sustance-abusing P.I.), Soft Shoe (with James Arness as a retired song-and-dance man moving in with his Broadway chorus line gay son), Energizer Bunny, The Anson Williams Show, The Two Dicks, It's All Relative!, Socially Relevant, and Sunn of a Gunn (starring Erik Estrada and Chad Everett).

What was needed was to eliminate those shows competing in Frankencop's timeslot, as well as those shows on other networks strong enough to carry their ratings over to other shows on the night that Frnikencop aired.  Easy peasy -- especially for a trained and enthusiastic killer like Delbert Skaggs.  And so the bodies begin to pile up, and Frankencop's rating soared.

One of the most popular characters on television was Boo Boo, a genuinely ugly dog featured in a heart-warming comedy.  Unfortunately, Boo was, in real life, a homicidal rapist animal with a taste for human flessh and a severe attitude problem.  Boo Boo could only get rhrough his scenes without killing someone through a constant barrage of tranquilizers darts.  Assigned by Skaggs to kill Boo Boo, Eddie hires two moronic stuntmen, Burt and Otto, to do the job.  As stuntmen, Burt and Otto did not wear seatbelts because they could not figure out how to operate them.  But that didn't matter because both had a genetic condition that left them impervious to pain.  On all their killing assignments, Burt and Otto manage to screw up royally.

All the above is just a slight glimpse at the frentic action and many plot lines woven throughout My Gun Has Bullets, a throughly enjoyable, grin-inducing, suspense romp that makes one wonder how close Goldberg's fictional Hollywood is to the real thing.

Highly recomended, as are all of Goldberg's other books.

Charlie Willis came back for an encore performance in 1997's Beyond the Beyond (also published as Dead Space).  Goldberg's latest novel, Malibu Burnig, the first in his Sharpe & Walker series, was released this month. -- be there or be square.