Thursday, March 10, 2016


This 1935 issue of Short Stories is available at, which means I've actually read a good amount of it. Unfortunately I read what I did of this issue long enough ago that I don't remember anything that vividly. The highlight, of course, is L. Patrick Greene's "Decoy," the latest adventure of Aubrey St. John Major and Jim the Hottentot in Africa. I've read some of the earliest Major stories but the later ones from this period are better because the Major doesn't lay the fake-fop act on so thick so often and Jim has developed more of a heroic personality in his own right. This particular issue has what are arguably the magazine's two most popular series in it: not only the Major but James B. Hendryx's series about the denizens of Halfaday Creek in the Yukon, where outlaws can find a safe haven if they behave themselves but the really bad people find themselves outwitted and cleaned out by Black John. As the cover advertises, Eustace L. Adams has a novelette in this issue, but as I recall, "The Jaguar's Cub," about a father-son reunion in the middle of a Central American uprising, isn't on the level of the stuff Adams was selling to Argosy at this time. Another writer I like, Frank Richardson Pierce, has a short story in this number, but I must confess that the .pdf of "Snatchers" sits on my e-reader unread to date, though now that I've let this date go by I'll rectify the error as soon as possible. Berton E. Cook contributes a decent sea story while Carl N. Taylor, whose career ended abruptly with his murder in 1936 -- the cult film Lash of the Penitentes was inspired by the case -- writes a premonitory tale of Japanese up to mischief in the Philippines. There's also a dangerous-job story by Carmony Grove, a comic western by Ellis Parker Butler, and a serial chapter by a real old timer, septuagenarian Frank H. Spearman. While the Adams story is a disappointment, this issue is a pretty good sampler of the kind of settings and subject matter Short Stories could offer. You can download individual stories from the issue by following this link.

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