Jun. 14, 2019

Two novels by the Original Maxwell Grant, Walter Gibson!

The Shadow Double Novels #4 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 Murder Master was originally published February 15, 1938

This was issue 144 of the Shadow Magazine. A voice comes over the air from radio station WQJ. The voice predicts murders, giving names, locations, time of death and even the methods! He proves to be right down to the last detail. A new murder master is loose in New York…

Radio was often a part of the Shadow adventures. In the first novel, the Shadow sends messages over WNX. In the course of the show, the speaker would stress certain words. It is perhaps inevitable that one of his foes would use the same method…

This wasn’t the greatest story Gibson has written…

The Hydra was originally published December 1, 1942

This was issue 259 of the Shadow Magazine. The Hydra is a criminal organization that like the mythical beast has many heads. “When one is cut off, two take its place.” Perhaps an early version of Marvel’s evildoers, who knows?

The story is unique in that both the Shadow and the real Lamont Cranston work together in the story, which means the reader never knows when they switch places!

I will give this book three and a half stars. That first novel is meh.

Quoth the Raven…

Buy It Here from the Vintage Library>