Vintage Golden Age Mystery
Just the Facts Category: Why — Has been on your TBR list
Cloak and Dagger Challenge #13
Monthly Key Word: Road
Date Finished: January 29, 2018
Road of Crime — Two competing mob lieutenants lead bank robbing gangs. The gentlemanly one is successful, while the cowardly and low-class one is thwarted by the Shadow. Fleeing to Michigan with his gang, the gentleman crook is overwhelmed by a faction led by the thuggish leader. Tossed out of the car, he wanders into his old hometown, where he is taken in by old family friends and faces off against his scheming uncle, a man who had swindled the young crook’s father and sent him off on this road of crime. As he tries to go straight again, the Shadow intervenes and helps him out.
Crooks Go Straight — Two criminals, just pardoned by the governor, are given a new start by a philanthropist. The old criminal gang, however, is still around, and one of the supposedly reformed criminals is working with them to commit various robberies, while the Shadow and his operatives investigate.
Two long Shadow novels with slightly different styles. The earlier novel only shows the Shadow here and there as a mysterious figure, blending in mysteriously with real shadows, while much of the action involves the former crook trying to go straight. The second has the Shadow as a much more active player, appearing as Lamont Cranston, being wounded and wearied, with little of his mysterious shadow powers evident. I prefer the earlier interpretation, but the second was much more common. Walter Gibson’s writing, under the Maxwell Grant pseudonym, usually seems padded to me, but that was not as evident in either of these works, or at least I was less annoyed by it. I still had to force myself at times to keep reading, which is not a very good recommendation.