Friday, January 28, 2011

The Complete Guide to Manhunt Part 18

 by Peter Enfantino

Vol. 2 No. 11            December 25th, 1954

Crime of Passion by Richard S. Prather
(3500 words) **   illo: Dick Sheldon
            Shell Scott goes to a beach party where the host’s later found on a spit, cooking like a pig. Unpleasant off day for Shell.

The Purple Collar by Jonathan Craig
(6000 words) *   illo: Tom O’Sullivan
            An 18th Precinct short mystery starring Pete Selby and his partner, Ben Muller. This time, the boys must solve the riddle of a hanged man who didn’t die by hanging. Various characters are introduced, but the story never seems to be populated by real people. Again, this just seems to be a knockoff of DRAGNET, and though the 18th Precinct stories and the 87th Precinct tales of Ed McBain ran concurrently, the Craig stories come off as nothing more than weak imitations.

Flowers to the Fair by Craig Rice
(6000 words) **   illo: Houlihan
            John J. Malone’s latest client is a mousy accountant who’s been embezzling money from his boss. The boss offers to loan the mouse enough money to pay him back and the next day the accountant is found dead. Smelling something fishy, John J. investigates the killing. Not a very entertaining read. John J. seems to be able to take many of his cases on for little or no money (because the client is a sympathetic character), much like the good guy PIs of TV like MANNIX or BARNABY JONES.

The Scarlet King by Evan Hunter
(3500 words) ***   illo: “GH”
            Our narrator has a problem with his temper. Whenever somthing irritates him, he thinks of the King of Hearts (from a deadly poker game he played in the Korean War) and dispatches anyone unlucky enough to nearby. Another minor Hunter gem with a trademark kick at the climax.

The Pickpocket by Mickey Spillane
(1000 words) * ½   illo: Houlihan
            Willie’s worried that his past will come back to haunt him.

Big Steal by Frank Kane
(8000 words) **   illo: Tom O’Sullivan
            Johnny Liddell becomes involved in a stolen diamond racket when a woman asks him to hold a small package for her. When the woman ends up dead, her throat cut, and thugs rough up Johnny, Liddell enlists the aid of Inspector Herlihy to catch the “big man.” You can find a complete list of Frank Kane's "Johnny Liddell novels and stories here.

Dead Issue by Harold Q. Masur
(4000 words) *
            Scott Jordan (in his 10th Manhunt appearance), the lawyer who thinks he’s a PI, investigates the murder of a nice old woman. The case involves the upcoming reading of a multi-million dollar will, a will that has mysteriously disappeared. A judge, admonishing Jordan in our opener, says “The Assistant District Attorney tells me you have a tendency to take the law into your own hands.” Indeed.

Death Sentence by Richard Deming
(4000 words) **   illo: Tom O’Sullivan
            Isobel Banner has a strange substance she wants analyzed strictly on the q.t., so she hires Manville Moon to take the “strange white powder” from her. When he arrives at the party she’s invited hi to, he finds her dead. What was the curious substance and why did she feel the need to keep it a secret? Moon never likes it when a potential client ends up dead before he’s paid so he takes it upon himself to find out what the mystery is. This brings up a problem with several of these PI stories – why do so many of Moon’s, Jordan’s, Liddell’s (etc) clients seem to end up on a slab by the third page? Yet they’re known throughout their respective towns as guys who get the job done. Nice twist ending though!

Precise Moment by Henry Kane
(11,000 words) ** ½   illo: Houlihan
            Peter Chambers becomes the target of repeated gunfire after he takes part in a midnight graveyard delivery of $750,000 in ransom money. The kidnapee, the newly wed husband of a multi-millionaire Florence Fleetwood Reed, may have had something to do with his own kidnapping.

Six Fingers by Hal Ellson
(2000 words) **
            The appropriately named “Six Fingers” is a very shy boy but his friends want him to grow up fast so they involve him with a girl named Cissie.

This issue’s Mugged and Printed features bios of Mickey Spillane, Henry Kane, Craig Rice, and Frank Kane.

Also featured this issue are Vincent H. Gaddis’ Crime Cavalcade, What’s Your Verdict? #6: The Young Lovebirds by Sam Ross, and Portrait of a Killer #17: Arthur Eggers by Dan Sontup.

A new feature, “You, Detective” debuts. A very short story is presented without a climax. The readers are invited to finish the story in less than 200 words. The winner of the contest wins $50 and will have their name and winning climax published in a later issue. Richard H. Gaynes won the first contest and his wrap-up of Wilson Harman’s “The Bathing Beauty” appeared in the June 1955 issue.


Confession by John M. Sitan (July)
The Man Who Found the Money by James E. Cronin (February)
And Share Alike by Charles Williams (August)
Comeback by R. Van Taylor (February)
The Beatings by Evan Hunter (October)
Hit and Run by Richard Deming (December)
Pattern for Panic by Richard S. Prather (January)
A Moment’s Notice by Jerome Weidman (September)
The Choice by Richard Deming (June)
Tin Can by B. Traven (September)

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