It starred a young whippersnapper named Randolph Scott. Not so young I guess, thirty-seven, but that craggy face so well known to western fans had not come about yet. He plays Leo Vincey, an American called back to the family estate in England at the behest of a dying uncle. There he hears a strange tale backed by a five hundred year old letter and painting. The painting is of an ancestor, John Vincey, to which Leo bore a striking resemblance. The letter was one dictating by a dying white woman that had staggered into a village in the far north. It told of her adventures with husband John in a fantastic world deep within a cave, a flame that conveys immortality when one bathes in it, and a mad woman that murders John when he refuses her love. Accompanying the old letter had been a gold idol and all had been preserved. Leo is the last male in the Vincey line.
A fantastic tale sure enough, but one the dying uncle and his partner, Professor Horace Holly, believe. Two scientists who have researched it most of their lives and believe the answer might be radiation. Holly is played by Nigel Bruce, Basil Rathbone’s John Watson in a long string of Sherlock Holmes films, plays Holly.
An expedition north is organized. They hook up with a guide who only becomes interested when he sees the gold statuette. Dugmore(Lumsden Hare) insists on bringing his daughter Tanya(Helen Mack) along as a cook and not wanting to leave her alone.
A series of adventures involving an avalanche, a cave, and a group of primitives follow until they eventually meet She(Helen Gahagan)(who must not be named), who thinks her long lost love John has returned. A man tempted by the thought of immortality, not noticing the withered soul of She, and a young woman who sees more clearly than all the males.
An interesting film for a Randolph Scott fan. I won’t say he looked out of place, but when one is used to that very long group of fine westerns he did later in his career, it can be a bit jarring.
Purchases to help the roll out of Brash Books. And my own pleasure of course/
A couple of late review requests:
1: Wake Up And Die – Jack Lynch: A blackmail case leads private eye Peter Bragg across the Golden Gate to Sausalito, a waterfront playground for the rich and where real estate developers are fighting a brutal war to claim every precious inch of bay view land, soaking the dirt with the blood. Bragg is the only one who can stand up against the campaign of torture, arson, and murder…and reveal who is behind all of the bloodshed…if they don’t kill him first.
2: Speak For The Dead – Jack Lynch: An escape attempt at San Quentin goes to hell, a guard is beaten into a coma, and the hard-core convicts retreat to a corner of the prison with their hostages, including two civilian women. It’s a deadly stand-off…a bloody powder-keg ready to explode into a full-scale massacre. The cornered, desperate prisoners have one demand: they want private eye Peter Bragg to clear the ringleader’s teenage brother of a murder charge in a small, northern California town. It’s a high-stakes case with a brutal ticking clock, and it pits Bragg against cops, neo-Nazis and powerful enemies who would like to see him, the convicts, and the hostages all go down in a hail of flames and gunfire that would keep their secrets from ever being revealed.
3: The Owl: Scarlet Serenade – Bob Forward: first American edition. It’s the mean-streets of L.A. in the mid-1980s. When The Owl rescues a young punk-rock starlet from being kidnapped, he considered it just a minor good deed with a few dead bodies left scattered around. But he soon discovers that she’s the target of a gangland conspiracy that has half of the city’s underworld after her. Now the only thing between her and certain death is The Owl.
4: Sleeping Dog: A Leo and Serendipity Mystery – Dick Lochte: This beloved, comedy-noir thriller teams up Leo Bloodworth, a hard-drinking, middle-aged Los Angeles PI with hypertension and a low tolerance for precious teenagers, with Serendipity Dahlquist, a bright and strong-willed roller-blading 14-year-old searching for her lost dog. But things quickly escalate, plunging the oddest of odd couples into the dark underworld of sunny Southern California and pitting them against one of the biggest, and most brutal, organized crime families in Mexico.
5: A Long Reach: A Streeter Thriller – Michael Stone: The Denver Streets Belong to Streeter. Bounty hunter Streeter is a string of ex’s… ex-linebacker, ex-accountant, ex-bouncer, and a four-time ex-husband … who excels at exacting justice… with explosive results.
6: Token of Remorse: A Streeter Thriller – Michael Stone: The Waterbed King of Denver hires Streeter to track down his missing nephew, Richie Moats, who has robbed the owner of a string of massage parlors of his weekly take and has gone on the run. The chase takes Streeter to Mexico, where he has to find Richie before the furious tycoon’s bone-breakers do. But that’s only the beginning…as Streeter becomes entangled with Richie, and his stripper girlfriend, in a drug smuggling scam that stretches from the back alleys of Mexico to the streets of the mile-high city.
7: Piano Man – Bill Crider: The piano man has one rule: Don’t get involved. Just play the songs. But can live by that rule when he witnesses a horrific crime? And what price will he pay if he breaks it?
8: Russian Dope – Steen Langstrup: set in nineties Copenhagen, it’s the story of what happens when two addicts rip off the Russian mob of two keys of heroin.
9: Homeowner With A Gun – Samuel Hawley: It’s the middle of the night. You’re awakened by a noise. Someone is in your house. What do you do?
When it happens at 148 Maple Drive, homeowner Jeff Shaw gets his gun and goes downstairs to investigate while his wife calls 9-1-1. It’s their home, after all. Jeff has to protect it. He finds two men in the kitchen and shoots them both. Dead.
This was on the Fox pre-game show today.
Actor Robert Woods became Robert Wood in the spaghetti westerns by mistake. At a screening of the first one, he noticed immediately they’d left the S off in the credits. Too late to do anything about it and he was stuck ever after as Robert Wood.
In this one, he plays a half breed named Larry Mallory, though no one ever uses Larry in the film, who’s partnered with Colonel Todd Hasper(Renato Baldini). The pair are bossing a cattle drive, the first one I ever remember in a spaghetti western. They’e carrying something more in the bed of one wagon: gold coins to buy a ranch.
The Colonel wants to foil a man named Bart Ambler(Teodoro Corrà), who’d romanced his sister while the Colonel was away during the war, got a bunch of money off her, then murdered her. Ambler had been traced to Texas and contacts had informed them he was raising the money to buy back the old Ambler family ranch. The man had told his sister Cora(Gabriella Giorgelli) it was for sentimental reasons, but it was because the railroad was coming through in a couple of years.
Ambler is a ruthless man. The family had been rich and ruled the town. He intended to get that power back. But until then, he had to move carefully. His reputation was so bad, he couldn’t kill anybody, even in self defense. That was what his gun hands were for. one in particular. Block Stone(Artemio Antonini). Yes that’s the name.He’d once ran Stone out of town, after having him beaten for making a pass at his sister. Stone had most recently been fired off the trail drive by Mallory.
After a number of men sent by Ambler to get Mallory had been killed in the attempt, Ambler isn’t above using Stone to kill Ambler> He;d promised his sister he wouldn’t kill Mallory.
The two young one were falling for each other much against each’s will. Cora hated violence and believed Mallory a ruthless gun man. Mallory didn’t quite trust Cora at first.
A decent little western that was released in some English markets under the literal translation of the Italian title, My Name Is Mallory…M Means Death.
Fat Ollie Weeks fancies himself a writer along the lines of Joseph Wambaugh that has written a sure fire bestseller. That it’s not very long shows that our boy doesn’t really understand. When his “book” is stolen from his car, he turns the city upside down frantically looking for it. You see, it’s his only copy(these were the days when carbon copies ruled).
The crook thinks it’s a report on a hidden cache of gems and starts looking for them. When no street names or businesses match up, he presumes it’s code and tries to break it.
While Ollie is trying to find his bestseller, the 87th is stuck working real crimes. The fun is watching Ollie’s single-minded hunt for the thief.
Any time I set down to read one of James Mullaney’s books, I know I’m going to have a kick-ass time. The man knows humor and how to put it into a narrative while keeping things moving. You just know Mullaney is enjoying the writing as much as you are loving reading it.
Crag Banyon is your typical P.I. Sort of. He deals with all sorts of odd creatures and cases, has an office assistant, an elf named Mannix, and a secretary, Doris Starburton every bit as flighty as one could imagine. He likes to drink. A quote from the book:
“The clear, vodka-looking liquid had the hideous indecency to be water, and I quickly spit it out before my taste buds got the legal department at Seagram’s to sue me for alienation of affection.”
His client this time around is the ex-wife. Another quote from the book:
“Ex-Mrs. Banyon was not technically the bride from Hell. She did, however, enjoy a timeshare condo there two weeks a year on a stretch of burning beachfront on a lovely lava lake.”
She’s there with her fiance, a leprechaun named Finnegan O’Fart whose pot of gold had been stolen. without which they can’t be married. Which would release Banyon from fifteen years of alimony servitude.
Taking the case loosed the hounds of bad luck on our hero, everything from black cats to ladders swinging over his head to falling safes and runaway dumpsters. Things only get worse when Banyon rides a rainbow into Leprechaun Land and finds out about Big Green and the real story.
onderful story full of laughs and action.
Highly recommended. Can be ordered here.
Hard Case Crime to Publish THIEVES FALL OUT in 2015 –
First Publication in 60 Years, First Ever Under Author’s Real Name
New York, NY; London, UK (August 14, 2014) – Hard Case Crime, the award-winning line of vintage-style crime fiction from editor Charles Ardai and publisher Titan Books, announced today that it has discovered a lost pulp crime novel by Gore Vidal, one that has been unavailable for more than 60 years and has never been published under the author’s real name. THIEVES FALL OUT, the story of an American trying to smuggle an ancient treasure out of Egypt on the eve of a bloody revolution, will be published in hardcover in April 2015.
In 1953, when he was 28 years old and already enjoying the combination of literary esteem and scandal that would mark his career as one of the major authors and intellectual figures of the 20th century, Gore Vidal wrote a pulp crime novel under the name “Cameron Kay” (the name of his great-uncle, a Texas attorney general). THIEVES FALL OUT has never been reprinted.
“This novel provides a delicious glimpse into the mind of Gore Vidal in his formative years,” said Charles Ardai. “By turns mischievous and deadly serious, Vidal tells the story of a man caught up in events bigger than he is, a down-on-his-luck American in Cairo at a time when revolution is brewing and heads are about to roll. THIEVES FALL OUT also offers a startling glimpse of Egypt in turmoil – despite having been written over half a century ago, it feels as current as the news streaming from that region today.”
Gore Vidal was one of America’s greatest and most controversial writers. The author of twenty-three novels, five plays, three memoirs, numerous screenplays and short stories, and well over two hundred essays, he received the National Book Award in 1993.
THIEVES FALL OUT will feature a new cover painting by Glen Orbik, one of Hard Case Crime’s most acclaimed painters. Orbik’s previous covers for Hard Case Crime include JOYLAND by Stephen King and BINARY by Michael Crichton (writing as John Lange).
About Hard Case Crime
Called “the best new American publisher to appear in the last decade” by Neal Pollack in The Stranger, Hard Case Crime has been nominated for and/or won numerous honors since its inception including the Edgar, the Shamus, the Anthony, the Barry, and the Spinetingler Award. The series’ books have been adapted for television and film, with two features currently in development at Universal Pictures, a TV pilot based on Max Allan Collins’ Quarry novels in development by Cinemax, and the TV series Haven going into its fifth season on SyFy. Recent Hard Case Crime titles include Stephen King’s #1 New York Times bestseller, Joyland; James M. Cain’s lost final novel, The Cocktail Waitress; a series of eight lost novels written by Michael Crichton under the pseudonym “John Lange”; and Brainquake, the final novel of writer/filmmaker Samuel Fuller. Hard Case Crime is published through a collaboration between Winterfall LLC and Titan Publishing Group. http://www.hardcasecrime.com