Wednesday, April 13, 2016


A very unusual cover design by C. Calvert for this 1935 Detective Fiction Weekly cover. I imagine it was quite daring not to show the protagonist's entire face. Prospective readers may have felt the way early moviegoers were expected to feel when early moviemakers experimented with close-ups: where's the rest of him? In case the cover isn't clear about this, Anthony Hamilton is Max Brand's Spy, the protagonist of a series of novelettes Brand started at the start of 1935. "Treason Against a King" is the fifth Spy story and the first since February. Brand would bat out three more before the end of May, take a breather, and wrap the series with a serial in December. Frederick Faust burned through characters like that; Tizzo the Firebrand (written by "George Challis") became immensely popular, to judge by how many Argosy covers he got in 1934-5, but Faust was through with him in less than a year. By comparison, Frank L. Packard's Jimmie Dale (aka the Gray Seal), whose latest serial continues in this issue, had been around since 1914, though "The Missing Hour," his last adventure, was only his second since 1922. The other series character in this number is H. H. Matteson's Hoh-Hoh Stevens, the star of "The Critter of Hell Bent Bay." Two nearly-omnipresent writers, Frank Richardson Pierce and Richard Howells Watkins, put in appearances, as do Robert H. Leitfred and old-timer Eugene P. Lyle. Every issue of DFW came with a number of non-fiction features, including "Illustrated Crimes." This week's is "The Elusive Sheik Slayer of Hoboken, New Jersey," which might well prove that truth is stranger even than pulp fiction.

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