May. 16, 2019

The Shadow is involved in international affairs!

The Shadow Double Novels #103 by Maxwell Grant

Two novel-length stories from the Shadow Magazine…

The Shadow was a superhero that starred in both pulp magazines and Old Time Radio. The magazines were extremely popular, and the Shadow began to star as the host of a radio show. Later, the Shadow Radio Show would begin with stars like Orson Wells and Margot Stevenson.

There was a marked difference between the magazine Shadow and the radio Shadow. On the radio, the Shadow used “hypnotism to cloud men’s minds so they cannot see him.” The Shadow was Lamont Cranston, who was accompanied by his girlfriend, Margo Lane.

The Magazine Shadow was much more mysterious. He used darkness as his cover and could almost vanish due to his skill and stealth. He sometimes appeared as Lamont Cranston, but he was not Lamont Cranston. The real Cranston and the Shadow had an arrangement. Margo never appeared in the magazine until 1941, when she was introduced and sometimes was with Lamont Cranston and sometimes with the Shadow’s agent Harry Vincent.

The majority of the stories were written by Walter Gibson, under the house name “Maxwell Grant.” Gibson wrote both stories presented here.

The Romanoff Jewels was originally published in December 1932.

Fredrick Froman has plans to seize the crown jewels of the Romanoff’s, once he discovers where they are being held. Getting that information requires torturing a man, but Froman is relentless. Meanwhile, Ivan Motkin, charged with the guarding of this treasure, takes steps to ensure Froman doesn’t get his hands on it. The twist in this one is priceless!

Several times in the Shadow stories there is a mention that the Shadow used to work for the Tsar. He carries identity as an agent of the Russian throne. This sets him at odds with the Russian government and the characters in this story…

Crime Under Cover was originally published in June 1941.

Vic Marquette is in Washington trying to prevent Professor Urlich Ardlan’s latest invention from falling into the hands of foreign agents. Professor Arlan’s invention is called “the neutralizer,” a device that can detect any poisonous gas and deliver the exact chemicals to render it harmless. The bad guys here use Esperanto as a language to keep their plans secret.

Esperanto was used in other Shadow Magazine stories. The language was invented by Doctor LL Zamenhof as an international language. It was thought that it would become common usage, but not so much…

I give the book five stars…

Quoth the Raven…