May. 16, 2019

Two stories--Two different Maxwell Grants!

The Shadow Double Novels #104 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.” The first novel in this book was written by the “other Maxwell Grant” Theodore Tinsley.

Double Death was originally published in December 1938.

A man arranges for dead men to be murdered—again!

As usual with Theodore Tinsley, the story goes beyond the street-level crime the Shadow usually tackles. Doctor Jasper Logan has an invention, a black ray device that supposedly will melt steel. Turned on human beings, the ray reduces them to a small pile of blue ash! Tinsley’s usual femme fatale appears as a series of beautiful ladies, as she is a master of disguise…

The story runs smoothly, and the characters are well rounded. The ending could perhaps be better, but the character interaction makes up for that. This one is probably a four-star story…

The Robot Master was originally published in May 1943.

What we have here is dueling inventors, each with a working robot. These are only mechanical, no AI required. The argument is which man’s brainchild can be best adapted to serve multiple tasks. An even better question is what powers the robots known as Thronzo and Superlo!

I really liked this one! The thought of the earth shaking as two metal behemoths clashing in a fight paints an image not soon forgotten! This one is a definite five-star story.

There is an added short story, The Case of the Mechanical Monster by Max Ehrlich, broadcast as a radio play January 17, 1943, and a period comic strip Iron Munro, the Astounding Man by T Sturgeon and Jack Farr.

I give the book five stars…

Quoth the Raven…

This book is currently unavailable.