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The Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories

by Otto Penzler Keith Alan Deutsch

An unstoppable anthology of crime stories culled from Black Mask magazine the legendary publication that turned a pulp phenomenon into literary mainstream. Black Mask was the apotheosis of noir. It was the magazine where the first hardboiled detective story, which was written by Carroll John Daly appeared. It was the slum in which such American literary titans like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler got their start, and it was the home of stories with titles like "Murder Is Bad Luck," "Ten Carets of Lead," and "Drop Dead Twice." Collected here is best of the best, the hardest of the hardboiled, and the darkest of the dark of America's finest crime fiction. This masterpiece collection represents a high watermark of America's underbelly. Crime writing gets no better than this. Featuring * Deadly Diamonds * Dancing Rats * A Prize Fighter Fighting for His Life * A Parrot that Wouldn't Talk Including * Dashiell Hammett's The Maltese Falcon as it was originally published * Lester Dent's Luck in print for the first timeFrom the Trade Paperback edition.

The Cold, Cold Ground

by Keith Alan Deutsch William Campbell Gault

A singer is missing, and the man looking for her is about to find troubleMortimer Jones drives a Duesenberg, a behemoth of a car that seems to come from another era. Jones is the same way. In a city of tough guys, Jones has a soft touch. In a town of loudmouths, he is the rare PI who knows how to stay mum. When Flame Harlin goes missing, her aunt trusts no one but Jones to find her. Flame is a nightclub singer, with looks to spare and a smidgen of talent, and some of the town's deadliest men are hooked on her charm. Loving Flame Harlin is dangerous--and looking for her may be too.When another PI on the same case is killed, Jones gets cautious. Whether dead or alive, Flame Harlin does not want to be found.

Dog Show Murder

by Frank Gruber Keith Alan Deutsch

A rich man is murdered at the dog show, and the Human Encyclopedia is the prime suspectOliver Quade knows how to sell an encyclopedia. First, read it cover to cover three or four times, and make sure to remember everything in it. Next, dazzle an audience with your accumulated knowledge. Put on a good enough show, and the book will sell itself.Quade, better known as the Human Encyclopedia, is performing his act at a local dog show when a dogfight breaks out. Wary of wild mutts, Quade backs away and returns to his booth to find a nasty surprise--a dead man in white flannels. When the police insist on holding Quade responsible, he and his assistant--the indefatigable Charlie Boston--are forced to solve the murder the Quade way: by always being the smartest men in the room. But is the Human Encyclopedia clever enough to prove to these dog show cops that they are barking up the wrong tree?This ebook features an introduction by Keith Alan Deutsch.

Enough Rope

by Keith Alan Deutsch Ramon Decolta

In Manila, a circus performer commits what appears to be a very strange suicideJo Gar leans over the railing and watches the rope dangle above the bay. There are forty feet of it, and at the end is a dead body, swinging from the longest noose the Island detective has ever seen. The Filipino police rule the death a suicide, but Gar is not convinced that a man would choose such a long rope to end his life.The dead man, Gar learns, was a sharpshooter, who closed each night's performance by climbing a rope and shooting targets along the way. A newlywed, he had been married only ten days on the night he died, and his widow insists he was too happy to end it all. But who would strangle a sharpshooter? Finding out will take Gar into the underbelly of a traveling circus--and may put his own neck on the line.

Gamblers Don't Win

by Keith Alan Deutsch W. T. Ballard

Lennox takes on a gang of race-fixing gamestersHorse racing has returned to Los Angeles, and the bright lights of Hollywood are flocking to the track. When a General-Consolidated studio executive buys an interest in a prime nag, studio troubleshooter Bill Lennox makes a point of keeping an eye on the horse. He smells a rat during the first race; the jockey rides the horse softly, finishing near the bottom of the pack. That night, Lennox gives the man a simple warning: Either ride the studio horses honest, or don't ride them at all.The jockey is terrified--not of Lennox, but of the gamblers who paid him to throw the race. He tries to stand up to them, but it's no more than a few hours before his newfound nerve gets him killed. Lennox has to clean up the track before more innocents die--in a race against corruption that is sure to come down to a photo finish.

Gamblers Don't Win

by Keith Alan Deutsch W. T. Ballard

Lennox takes on a gang of race-fixing gamestersHorse racing has returned to Los Angeles, and the bright lights of Hollywood are flocking to the track. When a General-Consolidated studio executive buys an interest in a prime nag, studio troubleshooter Bill Lennox makes a point of keeping an eye on the horse. He smells a rat during the first race; the jockey rides the horse softly, finishing near the bottom of the pack. That night, Lennox gives the man a simple warning: Either ride the studio horses honest, or don't ride them at all.The jockey is terrified--not of Lennox, but of the gamblers who paid him to throw the race. He tries to stand up to them, but it's no more than a few hours before his newfound nerve gets him killed. Lennox has to clean up the track before more innocents die--in a race against corruption that is sure to come down to a photo finish.

Inside Job

by Keith Alan Deutsch Raoul Whitfield

Everyone in town hates Fresney--but who would want him dead?Fresney runs the Pittsburgh Dispatch, which is at war with the Press. A hard-driving city room editor with a habit of crushing anyone who gets in his way, Fresney has made more than his share of enemies. There is the death row inmate whom the Dispatch fought to have executed. There is the woman whose suicide attempt drew days of humiliating front-page coverage. And there are the countless reporters whose lives Fresney has ruined in his endless hunt for circulation. There are dozens of people who do not like Fresney--and one of them is out for blood.When a bullet whizzes past his head on his way to the office, Fresney knows the next shot won't miss its mark, and so he starts chasing his own story, hoping the killer does not find him first. If he has to die, so be it. This is a newspaper war--and that means casualties.

Jerry Tracy, Celebrity Reporter

by Keith Alan Deutsch Boris Dralyuk Theodore A. Tinsley

Manhattan's sharpest gossip columnist tangles with brawlers, triggermen, and damesThe most important people in the world come to Broadway--to eat in restaurants, dance in nightclubs, and die in rain-slicked back alleys. Whatever the big names are doing, Jerry Tracy hears about it--and tells the world in his infamous Daily Planet column. As quick with his typewriter as he is with a .45, Tracy can break a nose as easily as he breaks a news story. But beneath his hard exterior, this columnist has a kind heart, and a sense of justice that will make him do crazy things for a woman in trouble, or a friend with a murder rap hanging over his head.Featuring every Jerry Tracy story ever published in Black Mask, this collection is an invaluable compendium of one of early noir's most original heroes. Written in machine gun prose that would make Damon Runyon proud, these stories describe a man whose words are tough--and whose fists are even tougher.This ebook features an introduction by Boris Dralyuk.

Long Live the Dead

by Keith Alan Deutsch Hugh B. Cave

Ten stories of murder and suspense from one of the all-time masters of pulp fictionAn addled ex-boxer named Tiny Tim ambles out of the shadows and complains to a beat cop that he is being followed. The officer laughs him off; everyone knows that Tiny Tim has heard footsteps behind him for years. But a few minutes later, Tim is spotted in a pool of blood, dead at the bottom of the subway steps. After years of running, the imagined footsteps have caught up to him at last.This brisk tale of deception and murder is but one of the stories in this collection from Hugh B. Cave, a master of pulp fiction whose career spanned seventy-five years. Along with Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, Cave was one of the defining authors of Black Mask magazine, and these stories are perfect examples of what set that pulp apart. Hard-boiled, fast-paced, and witty, the tales of Long Live the Dead are just as captivating now as they were on the newsstand many decades ago.

Long Live the Dead: Smashing Detective Stories

by Keith Alan Deutsch Hugh B Cave

Ten stories of murder and suspense from one of the all-time masters of pulp fictionAn addled ex-boxer named Tiny Tim ambles out of the shadows and complains to a beat cop that he is being followed. The officer laughs him off; everyone knows that Tiny Tim has heard footsteps behind him for years. But a few minutes later, Tim is spotted in a pool of blood, dead at the bottom of the subway steps. After years of running, the imagined footsteps have caught up to him at last.This brisk tale of deception and murder is but one of the stories in this collection from Hugh B. Cave, a master of pulp fiction whose career spanned seventy-five years. Along with Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, Cave was one of the defining authors of Black Mask magazine, and these stories are perfect examples of what set that pulp apart. Hard-boiled, fast-paced, and witty, the tales of Long Live the Dead are just as captivating now as they were on the newsstand many decades ago.

No Pockets in a Shroud

by Keith Alan Deutsch Richard Deming

Two gambling kingpins go to war--and Manville Moon is caught in the middleWhen an upstart gangster named Byron Wade threatens Louis Bagnell's gambling empire, Bagnell attempts to hire Manville Moon, a detective whose loss of a leg has not diminished his reputation as a tough guy. Preferring to remain neutral, Moon turns down Bagnell's offer and refuses Wade's as well. But Wade does not want another gunman. He wants a sleuth--to investigate his own murder, should the coming war leave him dead. They are negotiating over a platter of chop suey when Louis Bagnell turns up murdered.Was Wade using Moon as an alibi, or did Bagnell's killer come from within his own gang? Double-crosses come faster than bullets in this twisting novella, but even on one leg, Manville Moon will have no trouble keeping up.

Oliver Quade, the Human Encyclopedia

by Frank Gruber Keith Alan Deutsch Kevin Burton Smith

A collection of stories starring one of the most unique sleuths ever to crack a caseOliver Quade knows the record for most eggs laid by a single hen. He knows which state has the longest coastline. He knows why cats purr, who signed the Magna Carta, and who won the two-hundred-twenty-meter race in the 1896 Olympics. Oliver Quade is the Human Encyclopedia, with an answer to every question save one: "When are you going to pay the rent?"Hoping to solve this tricky problem, Quade heads to a poultry convention to sell some encyclopedias, and is just starting his sales pitch when a dead man is found in an incubator. It's a puzzle that Quade will have to solve if he wants to escape the convention--and hopefully scrounge up some rent money along the way.In this volume of stories, the Human Encyclopedia tangles with poisoned darts, dog show killers, and Civil War forgeries, but nothing proves quite so troublesome as the most dangerous villain of all: the landlord.

The Paul Cain Omnibus

by Keith Alan Deutsch Boris Dralyuk Paul Cain

Fifteen stories and one novel--hard-boiled classics by an undisputed masterFollowing gangsters, blackmailers, and gunmen through the underbelly of 1930s America on their journeys to do dark deeds, Paul Cain's stories are classics of his genre. The protagonists of ambiguous morality who populate Cain's work are portrayed with a cinematic flair for the grim hardness of their world. Fast One, Cain's only novel, was originally serialized in Black Mask in the 1930s. It introduces us to Gerry Kells, a hard-nosed criminal who still holds fast to his humanity in a Los Angeles that's crooked to the core.This collection presents Cain's classic crime writing to a contemporary audience.This ebook features an introduction by Boris Dralyuk.

Pigeon Blood

by Keith Alan Deutsch Paul Cain

A brilliant retired judge takes it upon himself to outwit a gang of thievesA beautiful woman is driving down a lonely stretch of Long Island highway when the car beside her opens fire. The bullets shred her car but leave her unharmed, and she makes it back to Manhattan with her windshield broken but her skin intact. She is Mrs. Dale Hanan, estranged wife of a millionaire, whose gambling problem has gotten her in trouble with the wrong people. She is about to find out there are certain debts that can be paid only in blood.No one can save her but Judge Druse, an ingenious scholar who uses his intellect to bring justice to those who escaped it while he was still sitting on the bench. When he meets Mrs. Hanan, she is drunk, and there is a dead man on the floor. Things can only get worse from here.This ebook features an introduction by Keith Alan Deutsch.

Red Goose

by Keith Alan Deutsch Norbert Davis

A painting has vanished from a museum, and it will take a tough guy to find itEven before the fight, the three hoodlums look out of place in the museum. Their eyes are beady, their ears are cauliflowered, and one of them is missing a finger. When they start brawling, it draws the attention of every security guard in the place. Only when the fight is over do the guards realize the Red Goose has been stolen.The museum hires Ben Shaley, a rough-and-tumble PI, to get it back, starting him down a deadly road with switchbacks at every turn. The museum may be high class, but Shaley's trip starts at the bottom--and only gets bumpier from there.Featuring an introduction by Keith Alan Deutsch, this rocket sled of a story was one of Raymond Chandler's favorites ever to be published in Black Mask.

South Wind

by Keith Alan Deutsch Theodore A. Tinsley

A Southern gent comes to New York--and drags a gossip columnist into the gutterAs the star celebrity reporter at the Daily Planet, Jerry Tracy prides himself on being as hard-boiled as they come. But there's something about Major George Fenn that makes him soften just a bit. A dying Southern gentleman, the major has come north in search of his runaway daughter. Tracy is brushing the tale off as just another sob story when the Fenn pulls out a picture of the girl--and recognition hits Tracy like a thunderbolt. The major's sweet young daughter is none other than Lola Carfax, a would-be actress who parlayed a star turn on Broadway into a career as a Park Avenue con artist. Now that he knows where she came from, Tracy has what he needs to bring her down. But Miss Lola will do anything to stay in New York--and like any good Southern belle, she's not shy about shooting yankees.

Tough as Nails

by Will Murray Keith Alan Deutsch Frederick Nebel

The complete collection of fifteen stories starring one of pulp fiction's most hardened PIs, with accompanying illustrationsIt's hot in St. Louis, and Donahue is looking for a hired gun. An ex-New York cop who got canned from the NYPD after raiding the wrong gambling joint, Donahue has spent four years on the job as a private detective--punishing work that's turned him from a tough customer into one of the most hard-boiled operatives in the country.A killer named Micky Shane has skipped New York for St. Louis, and Donahue has come to find him. When he does, it won't be good for Donahue--but it'll be a whole lot worse for Shane.In his days writing Donahue stories for Black Mask magazine, Frederick Nebel was as popular and well respected as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Although his name is no longer widely known, these classic tales of two-fisted justice have lost none of their grit or their bite.

Waiting for Rusty

by Keith Alan Deutsch William Cole

On the run from the law, a gangster's girl and two hoods stop to wait for the bossIn a forgotten café somewhere in the middle of the country, a blonde in a raincoat bursts through the door. She's got a pistol in her hand and two killers at her back, and she wants a bottle of rye. Dotty and her friends aren't going anywhere. They'll be here until Rusty shows up. Rusty the killer. Rusty the thief. Rusty the love of Dotty's young life. They'll be here until Rusty steps through the door, but Rusty might not be on his way.In this tight, explosive short story, a gun moll transforms into the heroine of a hard-boiled Greek tragedy. One of the most popular pieces of short fiction ever to appear in the pages of Black Mask magazine, "Waiting for Rusty" remains a remarkable work, as powerful and surprising as a sucker punch to the back of the skull.

West of Guam

by Keith Alan Deutsch Boris Dralyuk Raoul Whitfield E. R. Hagemann

Twenty-four stories starring one of the most unique pulp detectives of all timeIn a hot, cramped office not far from the Pasig River, an ingenious investigator waits for clients. Younger than he appears, with gray hair and squinting eyes, he is Jo Gar, the half-Filipino Island Detective whose intuition makes him one of the sharpest sleuths in either hemisphere. From the back alleys of Manila to the docks of San Francisco, he tracks killers, unmasks liars, and outwits thieves. Although he appears harmless, this tropical PI is not afraid to pull a knife or squeeze the trigger on his army-issue Colt .45.Based on Raoul Whitfield's childhood experiences in the Philippines, Jo Gar is a rarity of his era: an Asian sleuth who defies the stereotypes of Fu Manchu and Charlie Chan. Gar is one of the most brilliant creations ever to step from the pages of Black Mask.

You'll Always Remember Me

by Keith Alan Deutsch Steve Fisher

In military school, a teenager holds a secret that could save a young man from the gallowsClark's is the finest military institution on the West Coast, but pay them enough and they'll take anybody. That's how Martin Thorpe ended up there, a fourteen-year-old boy with a habit of getting thrown out of boarding schools. Too smart for his own good, Thorpe is currently obsessed with the trial of Tommy Smith--a young man who has just been sentenced to hang for murdering his father. Thorpe has been dating Tommy's sister, was at the house the night of the murder, and may know something that could save Tommy's life.The detective investigating the case has questions for Thorpe. Why were Tommy and his father fighting that night? What did Thorpe hear the old man say before he was killed? And why does Thorpe have such a blood-stained permanent record? In this chilling Black Mask classic, nothing is more terrifying than what lurks at the back of the mind of Martin Thorpe.This ebook features an introduction by Keith Alan Deutsch.

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