Both mysteries feature jewel theft on a grand scale!
The Shadow #98: Gems of Doom and The Teardrops of Buddha by Maxwell Grant
I am going to assume that anyone that is likely to read this review knows the Shadow’s back-story. The really great thing about the Shadow novels is that the back-story isn’t repeated over and over ad infinitum throughout the series, unlike other pulp heroes.
To the underworld, the Shadow is a creature to be feared. He appears out of the night wrapped in a cape, with a large slouch-hat on his head. Usually, only his eyes and nose peep out to the dark. His two .45’s spell death to crooks everywhere, always punctuated by a shivering laugh. Perhaps he will deliver an explosive snap of the fingers he calls “The Devil’s Whisper.” One thing for certain—seeing the Shadow can be fatal for wrong-doers…
Without the cape and hat, the Shadow might be any number of people. A master of disguise, he often fools people who have known the person he imitates for many years! To fans of the radio show, sorry, but while Lamont Cranston is the Shadow, the Shadow is NOT Lamont Cranston! Cranston is a real person, often in far-flung corners of the globe, so he makes a convenient face for the Shadow—with the real Cranston’s full knowledge and permission!
The true name of the Shadow is not revealed until issue 131 The Shadow Unmasks. And yet at times, even this identity is questionable. Perhaps the Shadow, like the Joker, prefers his life to be multiple choice!
As for these stories:
Gems of Doom was published 7/15/1940
Diamonds of every kind, raw uncut stones to highly polished faceted jewels all dance through this tale in a seemingly endless circle. Three men have plans for making millions in the business: Alfred Blendon, Jan Traal, and Donald Krell. Traal will provide raw stones through a South African syndicate. The gems will be cut and polished at Blendon’s shop. Krell is planning a chain of stores and will buy his jewels from Blendon at a wholesale discount. Yet someone is after the jewels, and it seems that the thief is—The Shadow?
The Teardrops of Buddha published May 1, 1945
The gems known as the Teardrops of Buddha are priceless. There are 12 stones in all—four diamonds, four rubies, and four emeralds. The jewels were taken from the Rajah of Bidipore, who apparently lost everything in WWII.
Mysterious characters weave in and out of the story, Count Bela Zurich, young Ted Trent, Niles Naseby, Cecil Crenshaw—who is in hiding; and a mysterious woman known as Mata Safi. Everyone seems to want the stones! It turns out that Naseby is in possession of the jewels in question. Moves are made by both the Shadow and the crooks to seize the stones—and it seems the crooks were first.
Of note is a scene on page 69. “Somehow, Cranston had a way of not being noticed when he so chose.” Like maybe “the ability to cloud men’s minds so that they cannot see him.” This could be a nod by Gibson to the Radio character, and Moe Shrevitz, radio’s Shrevvy the cab driver, appears in the story.
Both stories read rather well, so I give this volume 5 stars!
Quoth the Raven…
You will probably have to search for this one. It is unavailable at either Amazon or ABE Books…