May. 4, 2020

The Spider #92& #93 The Devil’s Paymaster by and The Benevolent Order of Death both by Norvell Page

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 the Spider’s identity is pulpdom’s worst kept secret. Almost every issue has the bad guys using Nita against the Spider, well aware that Wentworth and the Spider are the same person.

Proving it is another thing altogether…

The Devil’s Paymaster

Silver coins that cause death are being given out. The coins have been given a radioactive charge and it takes only a short time before it causes serious injury or death. A ghost stalks the night glowing with an eerie blue haze, the ghost of a drowned man, still damp from the river.

The Benevolent Order of Death

To be fair, that isn’t the group’s name. They are the Benevolent Order of Americans or Right Men. They are followers of a man named Barnum Wright, who is a well-known rabble-rouser calling for the rights of Americans. But the Right men have ways of controlling men of power and many wealthy men suddenly die leaving their fortunes to daughters forcibly married to Right Men!

The two stories were published back to back and connected through Jackson and his wife Marianne Harcourt. Both are well written but the second one is better than the first. I give Paymaster four out of five stars and Order five out of five stars!

Quoth the Raven…