I’m continuing my look at Frederick C Davis’ 1930’s pulp hero the Moon Man. In reality police detective Stephen Thatcher, the Moon Man stalked the night-darkened streets of fictional Great City clad in his black costume and his helmet made of one-way Argus glass. Armed with an automatic pistol plus limitless courage and ingenuity the Moon Man captured or killed Great City’s most dangerous criminals – both white collar and blue collar – and robbed them of their ill-gotten booty. He would then distribute that money to the city’s Great Depression-ravaged poor. All this made him hunted by both the crooks AND the cops. For more on the Moon Man and other neglected pulp heroes click here: https://glitternight.com/pulp-heroes/
28. THE MASTER OF MURDER RIVER – The Moon Man’s adversary in this adventure is the titular “master” – a gangster named Lane Hynard, who runs the illegal gambling in the secret River Casino which stands on the banks of Murder River. Jim Paine, a charity manager at last wins back the charity’s money that he had gambled away on previous visits there and, shadowed by the Moon Man, Paine is killed and robbed by Hynard’s goons “Smoothy” Frisch and Ben Gilbord.
When our hero tries to recover the $10,240 of the charity’s funds from the two gunsels the cops arrive and mistakenly think the Moon Man killed and robbed Paine. Our hero and his sidekick Angel spend the rest of the story clearing MM’s name, restoring the $10,240 to the charity and bringing down Lane Hynard and his gunmen. A special underwater version of the Moon Man’s costume plays a part in the story – an item provided by Stephen Thatcher’s lady love Sue McEwen.
29. COUNTERFEIT CORPSE – This story opens up with the Moon Man carrying out a late night raid on a warehouse where counterfeit pharmaceutical drugs are being manufactured (I never realized how widespread a crime that was back then until I read the Moon Man stories). Our hero’s plan is to corral the racket’s mastermind – supposedly honest business man Martin Kyle – and turn all his ill-gotten gains over to the poor of Great City.
Police Lieutenant Gil McEwen and his boys jump the gun, ruining the raid and allowing Kyle to destroy the evidence AND to frame McEwen for falsely arresting Kyle on a murder charge: a murder where it turns out the corpse vanishes because it was a fake planted by Kyle Martin himself. Stephen Thatcher’s costumed alter ego risks life and limb to save McEwen – the Moon Man’s most relentless pursuer – from getting drummed off the force and simultaneously brings Kyle Martin to justice.
30. HOMICIDE DIVIDENDS – For a pleasant change of pace this tale starts off with Stephen Thatcher in action as part of his job as a policeman. Stephen is fighting alongside his colleagues when masked commandos raid Police Headquarters and shoot up the joint, killing two policemen in cold blood before being driven off and pursued to a dingy furnace room blocks away.
The commandos escape but leave behind another dead body – Lew Reddock, part of a gang who robbed an armored car of $200,000 in cash eight years earlier. Reddock was the only member of the gang caught and imprisoned but the loot was never recovered. Stephen dons his Moon Man costume and paraphernalia and sets out to discover the meaning of the brazen raid on Police Headquarters, the murder of Lew Reddock and, naturally, to recover the missing $200,000 to ease the suffering of Great City’s poor.
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