Greetings from The Raven!

Oct. 17, 2017

The Complete Adventures of the Moon Man Volume 6 by Fredrick Davis

The Moon Man again, blah, blah, blah…

I always try to give a little taste of the book to help others decide if this might be a good fit for their reading taste. Some have complained that even a taste is a spoiler, so SPOILER WARNING in effect.

This volume contains four stories from 1935-36 of Ten Detectives Magazine starring the Moon Man.

•         “Homicide Dividends” finds crooks breaking into the boiler room—right in Great City Police Department!

•         “Robe of Blood” concerns a ring of arson for profit racketeers…

•         “The Whispering Death” features crooks armed with air-guns that shoot darts poisoned with curare…

•         In “Corpse’s Plunder” crooks rob a woman’s casket just as she is being buried…

I have mentioned in previous Moon Man reviews that repetitive phrases have a tendency to clog up the story. I will also offer this opinion: Do Not Bing Read the Moon Man Stories! After a while, all you can tell about the stories is it is going to repeat the same hackneyed lines again, and again, and again…

I like the Moon Man as a character, but I wonder why the pulp writers thought that people would forget key plot points from one month to the next. People look forward to something new, and if things are repeated over and over in each successive story, the effect of anything new loses something.

I give this latest book three stars…

Quoth the Raven…

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Oct. 15, 2017

The MX Book of New Sherlock Holmes Stories Part VII: Eliminate the Impossible edited by David Marcum

My thanks go out to Steve and Timi at MX Publishing for my copy of this book.

This is the latest in this ongoing series. In this volume, the stories often will deal with things that should be impossible. As Holmes always stands solidly on science and reason, he needs to dig deep to eliminate the impossible!

I will put a ***POSSIBLE SPOILERS*** here, though I am only trying to make the readers thirst for more with the tidbits I hand out. I also will be marking best and worst story in the book according to me, along with any other pertinent information.

 

  • The book begins, as these volumes usually do, with a poem. This one I don’t really like.
  1. “The Melancholy Methodist” by Mark Mower, is a change-up for Mower whose previous novels have been written in verse. A dead man seems to be haunting a Methodist minister…
  2. “The Curious Case of the Sweated Horse” by Jon Edwards tries to discover what is riding the horses during the full moon on a rich estate…
  3. The Adventure of the Second William Wilson” by Daniel D Victor deals with the supposed son of Poe’s enigmatic William Wilson…
  4. “The Adventure of the Marchindale Stiletto” by James Lovegrove tells of the loss of a family heirloom. This story is “Best in Book!” from me…
  5. “The Case of the Cursed Clock” by Gayle Lange Puhl deals with a cursed clock and Voodoo…
  6. “The Tranquility of the Morning” by Mike Hogan is the investigation of a possible poltergeist…
  7. “A Ghost of Christmas Past” by Thomas A Turly is a story of Watson’s first wife Constance ( according to William Stuart Baring-Gould)
  8. In “The Blank Photograph” by James Moffet, Holmes takes on a Spirit Photographer…
  9. “The Adventure of a Rat by Adrian Middleton is a mixture of several mentioned in passing cases from the Holmes canon. The problem is there are too many factors to make a good story. Unfortunately, this one gets “Worst in Book”…

10.“The Adventure of Vanaprastha” by Hugh Ashton deals with a man who robbed a religious cult in India…

  1. In “The Ghost of Lincoln” by Geri Scher, John Wilkes Booth’s brother-in-law seems to be haunted by President Lincoln…

12. “The Manor House Ghost” by S Subramanian is a version of The Manor House case mentioned in GREE…

13. In “The Case of the Unquiet Grave” by Jon Hall, the Squire and Vicar of the village of Roundham have a problem in the church graveyard…

14. “The Adventure of the Mortal Combat” by Jayantika Ganguly finds Holmes challenged to a duel to the death…

15. “The Last Encore of Quintin Carol deals with a ghostly singer in an apartment house…

16. In “The Case of the Petty Curses” by Stephen Philip Jones, a man suspects his wife of placing a curse on him…

17. “The Tuttman Gallery” by Jim French is a play. I do not read plays.

18.The Second Life of Jabez Salt” by John Linwood Grant deals with a woman haunted by her recently hanged husband…

19. “The Mystery of the Scarab Earrings” by Thomas Fortenberry deals with an archeologist and a mummy’s curse…

  1. “The Adventure of the Haunted Room” deals with a woman whose house is recently haunted…

21. In “The Pharaoh’s Curse” by Robert V Stapleton, Miss Beatrice Venton comes to Baker Street about a missing mummy…

  1. In “The Vampire of the Lyceum” by Charles Veley and Anna Elliot, Bram Stoker is attacked at the Lyceum, apparently by a character from his unfinished manuscript, “Dracula”…
  2. “The Adventure of the Mind’s Eye” has one of Watson’s patients involved with a spirit medium…

These books in this series just keep getting better! I give this volume Five Stars Plus!

Quoth the Raven…

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Oct. 13, 2017

The Devil’s Rosary: The Complete Tales of Jules de Grandin Volume II by Seabury Quinn

I try to just whet the appetite with my reviews, but some want a SPOILER WARNING, so here it is!

This volume collects the next nineteen stories from Weird Tales, published in 1929 and 1930. Jules de Grandin may be the most famous occult detective of all time. He has a wealth of knowledge that comes from his world travels. He was a physician, a hypnotist, an expert in the occult, and a former member of the French Sûreté.

Unlike Carnaki the Ghost Finder or John Silence, his skills are more universal, dealing with evil of all kinds, not just ghosts. Like Sherlock Holmes and other famous detectives, de Grandin works and lives with a companion, in this case, Doctor Trowbridge of Harrisonville, New Jersey.

Doctor Trowbridge is often skeptical of the various supernatural creatures or very evil people they face. Like Doctor Watson, Trowbridge is often disparaged by his more knowledgeable partner.

In this volume alone, De Grandin and Doctor Trowbridge take on:

  • Pirate treasure guarded by ghosts
  • A half-demon woman
  • A cursed Rosary
  • White Slavery
  • Zombies
  • Reanimated dead
  • The statue of a six-toed woman
  • A disfigured young lady
  • Catlike ghouls
  • A family curse
  • Voodoo
  • An Egyptian curse
  • A sinister mesmerizer
  • A cult built around a supposed God
  • A centuries-old curse
  • A strange red-haired girl
  • A series of inexplicable murders
  • A historical werewolf (Really! Look up the name!)

There should be a note here that these stories appear just as they were published. Therefore they are sometimes politically incorrect. It isn’t a bad as it could have been, but some may find them distasteful. They are simply products of their time.

I give this latest volume five stars plus and look forward to the next volume, The Dark Angel, scheduled for release March of 2018.

Quoth the Raven…

Buy It Here>

 

Oct. 9, 2017

The Complete Adventures of the Moon Man Volume 3 by Fredrick Davis

The pulp magazines’ weirdest hero!

As this is volume three of the adventures of the Moon Man, I have to point out that there are a few things that get old about these stories. McEwen’s rants in every story, Sue McEwen’s emotional pleas with Steve Thatcher, and Angel’s attempts to dissuade the Moon Man from action begin to harm rather than help the story.

By the time the first story in this volume was originally published, thirteen previously stories had already set forth the fact that McEwen was unrelenting, Sue was emotional, and Angel was loyal to a fault. There is no reason to continue to point this out every story. Because of this, all books forward will lose one star from me.

***Possible Spoiler Alert***

Now, on to the stories:

  • “Moon Doom” A new crook in town uses snake venom as a weapon and calls himself The Rattler!
  • “Calling Car 13” crooks masquerade as cops to rob the Police Ball by diverting the police to Angel’s hideout!
  • “Fingers of Fear” When McEwen’s raids on illegal gambling houses threaten a crook’s livelihood; influence is put on Curtis Mead, president of the Police Board to bust McEwen using his failure to capture the Moon Man as an excuse.
  • “Corpse Alibi” McEwen thinks the Moon Man is a cop and goes to check the police force fingerprint file to see just who…
  • “The Sinister Snatch” The editor of the Great City Star is kidnapped, the Moon Man vows to find him and claim the reward money
  • “Badge of Blood” A man in a skull mask is a robber and learns the Moon Man’s secret; using the information for blackmail purposes…

The stories are exciting, barring the conditions mentioned above, so I give the book four stars!

Quoth the Raven…

Buy It Here>

Oct. 9, 2017

The Complete Adventures of the Moon Man Volume 4 by Fredrick Davis

The pulp magazines’ weirdest hero!

As this is volume four of the adventures of the Moon Man, I have to point out that there are a few things that get old about these stories. McEwen’s rants in every story, Sue McEwen’s emotional pleas with Steve Thatcher, and Angel’s attempts to dissuade the Moon Man from action begin to harm rather than help the story.

By the time the first story in this volume was originally published, nineteen previously stories had already set forth the fact that McEwen was unrelenting, Sue was emotional, and Angel was loyal to a fault. There is no reason to continue to point this out every story. Because of this, all books forward will lose one star from me.

***Possible Spoilers Ahead***

And now, on to the stories!

  • “Ghoul’s Gamble” “A man is kidnapped, the man’s brother is murdered, and the Moon Man is framed…
  • “The Silver Snare” Detective Keanan puts together a case to prove the identity of the Moon Man—naming Detective Lieutenant Gil McEwen!
  • “The Crimson Shrine” A crook threatens not only the Moon Man, but Detective Sergeant Steve Thatcher as well, and Sue threatens to out Steve as the Moon Man in an all-out effort to save him!
  • “Satan’s Stepson” After an armored car robbery, there’s trouble in paradise when the gang’s lookout girl learns the Moon Man’s secret identity …
  • “The Silver Spectre” Curtis Mead, president of the police board, is kidnapped and Detective Lieutenant Gil McEwen finds another clue to use on the Moon Man!

This volume was a gem, and totally worth five stars!

Quoth the Raven…

BuyItHere>