Jun. 14, 2019

Two adventures from the original Maxwell Grant, Walter Gibson!

The Shadow Double Novels #2 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 remarkable 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 Shadow, the weed of crime bears bitter fruit. He knows the evil that lurks in the hearts of men. The Shadow knows! The whisper of his laugh can freeze a killer in his tracks! The suggestion of moving darkness causes criminals to startle and swear. Many have tried to shoot it out with the Shadow. Few survived. Even wounded, the Shadow was a match for desperados everywhere.

Yet 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:

The Chinese Disks was originally published 11/1/1934

This is issue #65 of the Shadow Magazine. Too good to spoil, I will only say that the original Shadow villain from The Living Shadow returns! The cover of this issue is remarkably interesting…

And I really have to wonder why this book series doesn’t go in the order of publication. The reader is introduced to a returning adversary that they have no backstory for. Just saying…

Malmordo was originally published July 1, 1946

This is issue #305 of the Shadow Magazine. A dying crook gurgles out the name “Malmordo.” A banana boat on the North River disgorges a pack of rats larger than a cat! A ragged, unkempt figure like a human rat lurks in the sewers!

I do have to wonder why we jump from a story published in 1934 to one from 1946. Many things about the later stories, i.e. the identity of the Shadow may confuse readers…

Still, I judge on the stories, not on their continuity and original publishing dates. I give the stories five stars, but the book itself four stars…

Quoth the Raven…

Buy It Here from the Vintage Library>