Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Health Knowledge Genre Magazines Part Six: Startling Mystery Stories

by Peter Enfantino
(Part 3 of 3)

No. 13 Summer 1969
130 pages, 50 cents
cover by Richard Schmand 
(though credited to Robert Schmand)

(1) The Gray Killer – Everil Worrell
(11,000 words; from Weird Tales, November 1929)
(3) * The Scar – J. Ramsey Campbell (7000 words)
(6) *Where There’s Smoke – Donna Gould Welk (2200 words)
(5) Ancient Fires – Seabury Quinn
(16,500 words; from Weird Tales, September 1926)
(4) * The Hansom Cab – Ken Porter (3000 words)
(2) The Veil of Tanit – Eugene de Rezske
(9000 words; from Strange Tales, March 1932)

Notes: In The Editor’s Page, editor Robert A. W. Lowndes discusses Edgar Allan Poe, Murders in the Rue Morgue, and detective Auguste Dupin. J. Ramsey Campbell went on to be a big name in horror fiction, but by 1964 (at the age of 18) he’d already had a collection of his Cthulthu Mythos stories published by Arkham House, The Inhabitant of the Lake and Other Less Welcome Tenants.Campbell went on to write acclaimed novels such as The Face That Must Die, The Doll Who Ate His Mother, and Incarnate. He added “crime writer” to his resume with the excellent The One Safe Place in 1995. “Where There’s Smoke” appears to be Welk’s only published fiction (at least I find no other trace of her). RAWL mentions in Welk’s bio that the author is awaiting the return of her Air Force Lieutenant husband from Pakistan. Perhaps that ended her career? “Ancient Fires” is followed by Part One of a chronological listing of the Jules de Grandin stories. Featured are four of the Weird Tales covers that highlighted a de Grandin story. There’s also a bit of discussion of the cover and interior artists. As with Welk, I can find no further trace of Ken Porter after this appearance. In his Inquisitions column, RAWL reviews Mr. Fairlee’s Final Journey by August Derleth and The Sherlockian Doyle, published by Luther Norris. RAWL also takes a look at 3 new fanzines: The Baker Street Journal, The Armchair Detective, and The Rohmer Review. Contributing to the letters page this issue is Stuart Schiff (editor and publisher of Whispers) and author David Drake.

No. 14 Winter 1969
130 pages, 50 cents
cover by Virgil Finlay

(2) The Dogs of Doctor Dwann – Edmond Hamilton
(12,000 words; from Weird Tales, October 1932)
(5) *The Parasite – Dorothy Norman Cooke (6500 words)
(1) The Outsider – H. P. Lovecraft
(2750 words; from Weird Tales, April 1926)
The Crawler – Robert A. W. Lowndes
(verse; from New Annals of Arkya)
(3) The White Domino – Urann Thayer
(5750 words; from Ghost Stories, July 1928)
* The Case of the Doctor Who Had No Business – Richard Lupoff (4600 words)
(6) The Feline Phantom – Gilbert Draper
(3750 words; from Strange Tales, March 1932)
(4) The Consuming Flame – Paul Ernst
(14,000 words; from Weird Tales, November 1935)

Notes: In his Editor’s Page, RAWL discusses Philo Vance. “The Dogs” is illustrated by T. Wyatt Nelson. Dorothy Norman Cooke joins the League of Vanished Authors. Lupoff’s contribution chronicles a fanciful visit between Edgar Rice Burroughs and Dr. Watson. “The Consuming Flame” is a Doctor Satan story. In The Cauldron (the letters page), RAWL discusses the Lancer paperback reprintings of The Outsider. Contributing letters are future monster movie TV host John Stanley (who asks after a new Robert Bloch hardcover, not knowing at the time that in a couple decades he’d actually publish a Robert Bloch collection—Lost in Time and Space with Lefty Feep).

No. 15 Spring 1970
130 pages, 50 cents
cover by Robert Clewell

(3) Horror Insured – Paul Ernst
(14,500 words; from Weird Tales, January 1936)
(4) By Hands of the Dead – Francis Flagg
(6250 words, from Strange Tales, March 1932)
(1) The Monkey’s Paw – W. W. Jacobs
(5500 words; from Harper’s, September 1902)
(5) * Cry, Baby, Cry – Henry Slesar (4000 words)
(2) The Man Who Cast No Shadow – Seabury Quinn
(13,500 words; from Weird Tales, February 1927)

Notes: RAWL discusses Agatha Christie’s sleuth Hercule Poirot in his Editor’s Page. “Horror Insured” is another tale in the saga of Doctor Satan (the final to be run by Health Knowledge).  The story, it is noted, has been “slightly revised in order to eliminate certain inconsistencies in the original version.” This was also done to “The Consuming Flame” in the previous issue. The Flagg story is illustrated by H. W. Wesso. “The Monkey’s Paw” is illustrated by Maurice Greiffenhagen (since this illo is dated 1900, it’s questionable as to whether this accompanied the story in its original appearance). Reviewed are Who Done It? By Ordean H. Hagen, a massive study of detective, mystery, and  suspense fiction, and A Compendium of Canonical Weaponry, compiled by  Bruce Dettman and Michael Bedford. Part Two of The Cases of Jules de Grandin, a chronological listing of the stories from 1933-1951, appears following “The Man Who Cast…”. 4 more Quinn Weird Tales covers are reproduced and RAWL discusses the cover artists. Mike Ashley writes in.

No. 16 Summer 1970
130 pages, 60 cents
cover by Richard Schmand

(5) The Smell – Francis Flagg
(5000 words; from Strange Tales, January 1932)
(3) *The Temple of Death – David H. Keller, M. D. (12,000 words)
(4) The Silver Bullet – Phyllis A. Whitney
(8500 words; from Weird Tales, February 1935)
(2) *The Man Who Collected Eyes – Eddy C. Bertin (3100 words)
(1) The Devil’s Rosary – Seabury Quinn
(18,500 words; from Weird Tales, April 1929)

Notes: RAWL discusses Miss Marple and various other topics in The Editor’s Page. The unfortunately titled “The Smell” is illustrated by H. W. Wesso. “The Temple of Death,” a Taine of San Francisco tale, is a posthumous story, submitted by Keller’s widow.  “The Silver Bullet” is illustrated by Vincent Napoli. Inquisitions features reviews of Number Seven Queer Street by Margery Lawrence and The Science Fictional Sherlock Holmes, an anthology of pastiches published by Abal Books. It’s noted after “The Devil’s Rosary” (a de Grandin story) that, as this issue went to press, RAWL had just received news of the passing of Seabury Quinn on December 24, 1969.

No. 17 Fall 1970
130 pages, 60 cents
cover by Richard Schmand

The Infernal Shadow – Hugh B. Cave
(10,500 words; from Strange Tales, October 1932)
The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis – Clark Ashton Smith
(8750 words; from Weird Tales, May 1932)
*Laura – Joseph H. Bloom (4250 words)
The Vicar of Hell – Edward D. Hoch
(10,500 words; from Famous Detective, August 1956)
The Bride of Dewer – Seabury Quinn
(13,500 words; from Weird Tales, July 1930)

Notes: RAWL dissects G. K. Chesterton’s sleuth, Father Brown in The Editor’s Page. An uncredited illo accompanies “The Infernal Shadow” (it looks, to me, like H. W. Wesso’s work). T. Wyatt Nelson illustrates “The Vaults of Yoh-Vombis.”  “The Vicar of Hell” is the final Simon Ark story to be reprinted by Health Knowledge which is unfortunate since I found the stories I read from the series to be top-notch pulpish fun. C. C. Senf,, who did several sharp covers for Weird Tales in the early 1930s, illustrates the Jules de Grandin “The Bride of Dewer” (this would be the last de Grandin to be reprinted by Lowndes). In his review of A Compendium of Canonical Weaponry (in #15), Lowndes made a mistake about a revolver and fandom lets him know what they do in their spare time. Two full-holstered readers write in to rip RAWL a new one. The newest title, Bizarre Fantasy Tales, is featured in an ad on the back cover. Unfortunately, the zine would last only two issues.

No. 18 March 1971
130 pages, 75 cents
Uncredited cover

Drome of the Living Dead – John Scott Douglas
(11,000 words; from Weird Tales, August 1935)
*Conjured – Larry Eugene Meredith (2300 words)
The Golden Patio – Aubrey Feist
(6000 words; from Strange Tales, June 1932)
*The Cleaning Machine – F. Paul Wilson (2000 words)
The Storm That Had To Be Stopped – Murray Leinster
(27,000 words; from Argosy, March 1, 1930)

Notes: The final issue of SMS is the only one to be tagged with a month rather than a season.  RAWL discusses Nero Wolfe in his Editor’s Page. RAWL reviews The Secrets of Dr. Taverner by Dion Fortune, the latest issue of The Rohmer Review, and a chapbook by Jacob C. Solovay, Sherlock Holmes: Two Sonnet Sequences. An uncredited illo accompanies “The Golden Patio.” F. Paul Wilson went on to become the best-selling author of The Keep and several novels featuring hit-man Repairman Jack. “The Storm” is a follow-up to “The Darkness on Fifth Avenue” (SMS #5) and “The City of the Blind” (SMS #12). The final “Cauldron” is given a nice illustration (uncredited) and features a letter from Richard Lupoff (concerning his story in #14). RAWL notes in answer to a reader’s query that the remainder of Doctor Satan stories will be reprinted in good time. Another NRA member/SMS subscriber writes in to give RAWL a piece of his mind. As noted, this was the final issue of SMS. However, a “Next Issue” ad featured a snippet from “The Full-Moon Maniac,”  an original story written by David Charles Paskow, a frequent letter writer to the Health Knowledge digests. It’s doubtful this story was ever published (at least not in a professional magazine).



Todd Mason said...

Sic transit...actually, THE FACE THAT MUST DIE is already a crime-fiction novel, psycho suspense, from Campbell. Bloch was not thrilled, I'm given to understand, by how Stanley handled the Lefty Feep volume.

Looking forward to the Other magazines!

Walker Martin said...

A friend will be bringing a set of the 36 issues of THE MAGAZINE OF HORROR to the Windy City Pulp convention in April. He was wondering what to ask for the set in nice condition. I said $750 and others mentioned $500 and $1000.

Any ideas as to the value of a set?

Peter Enfantino said...

Good question, Walker.
The easy answer is "what the market will bring." As bad as the economy is right now, he'd do well to get the $750. I'd sell mine for $750 in a heartbeat. There's a set of Startling on abebooks for, as i recall, $900 Canadian. But that's the collectible set since it has both Kings.