Volume two in this latest Spider series!
The Spider #2 The Wheel of Death by RTM Scott
The Spider is Richard Wentworth, a wealthy criminologist. Backed up by his manservant Ram Singh, his old war pal Jackson, and his fiancé Nita van Slone, Wentworth takes on crime at the street level.
The Spider has no scruples about killing. The criminals who cross the Spider die and their foreheads are marked with a scarlet spider.
The Spider is wanted by the police, and his friend Commissioner Kirkpatrick suspects Wentworth. Hardly surprising, as everyone seems to know the Spider’s secret. Proving it is another thing entirely…
The Wheel of Death
This story was originally published in November 1933 in The Spider Magazine.
Someone is trying to control politicians in New York using a variety of vices. From drugs to prostitution to gambling debts to even murder, the pressure is applied to assure the men have no choice but to obey.
A young woman whose father has been framed for murder and scheduled for the electric chair dares to fight back. And Richard Wentworth has vowed to see her father freed and the true killers caught.
Frankly, much of this story tends to drag. Possibly a good bit of the middle could be omitted without much damage to the plot. I also was at a loss for how the title really fitted into the story. It is my opinion that if Scott had continued with the series it, it wouldn’t have lasted as long as it did.
This early story was written before Norvell Page set the standard for writing the Spider novels. There are a number of problems that would later be retconned. For example, the Spider wears a silk mask to cover his face instead of the iconic disguise Page invented. Ram Singh is unable to speak English well, and there is something cringing about his portrayal. One must remember this story is a product of its time. Scott gets the violence ok, but not up to the series level once Page took over.
I give this story only three stars…
Quoth the Raven…
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