Wednesday, January 18, 2017

"And We All Played Ring-Around-a-Rosy Until Right Now"

"EDWARD RONNS" is probably not a name you might be familiar with, but if you ever spent much time in any now-defunct used book stores (a respectful moment of silence, please) then you probably couldn't help seeing a shelf or two bulging with copies of his CIA spy Sam Durell "Assignment" series published under his real name, Edward S. Aarons. Before he hit the Big Time with Durell, though, he served an apprenticeship toiling in the pulps, learning how to keep a narrative moving, always moving . . .
"Doom Offshore."
By Edward Ronns (Edward S. Aarons, 1916-75).
First appearance: Popular Detective, October 1941.
Short story (10 pages).
Online at Pulpgen (HERE).
"Death Stalks in the Wake of a Northeaster As Toby Waters Pilots Killers to a Fatal Trap!"
Kidnapping a fellow's girlfriend is one thing, but stealing a tugboat and a bunch of barges, that's something else . . .

Comment: Good descriptive writing with plenty of atmospherics, set during the Neutrality Acts days just before Pearl Harbor.
Typos: "a crash from behind as is the first"; "every lime a northeaster blows"
~ ~ ~
"Case of the Promiscuous Corpses."
By Edward Ronns (Edward S. Aarons, 1916-75).
First appearance: Detective Short Stories, November 1941.
Short story (11 pages).
Online at Comic Book Plus (HERE; select page 40).
(Caution: Violence against animals as well as people.)
"Johnson straightened with a deep sigh from his examination of the two corpses on the floor—the man and the gamecock. Johnson wiped his mouth and said: 'It's plain as the nose on your face, Bill. Potassium cyanide. Both of them'."
A double murder—one a man, the other a domestic fowl—but the same motive killed them both . . .
Comment: The title makes no sense.
Typos: "Seputy-Sheriff Dooly"; "Morton's voice came cauitously"; "he laughed, bareing even"; "Since Lassiter nad Morton"; "Claney did the spur"; "but Carig was"
~ ~ ~
"Murder Buys a Hat."
By Edward Ronns (Edward S. Aarons, 1916-75).
First appearance: Thrilling Detective, July 1942.
Short short story (7 pages).
Online at Pulpgen.
"Rookie Crown Gets the Lowdown on a 'Suicide' When Georgie Puts Her Wits to Work for Him!"
We featured this story once before (HERE).
~ ~ ~
"Death on the Meter."
By Edward Ronns (Edward S. Aarons, 1916-75).
First appearance: Thrilling Detective, January 1945.
Novelette (19 pages).
Online at Pulpgen (HERE).
"Detective Dolliver of Homicide Runs a Chase With Doom on the Trail of a Killer—and Learns That the Female of the Gun Racket Species Can Be More Deadly Than the Male!"
Chapter I: "Big Man in the Shadows"
Chapter II: "Letters and Pearls"
Chapter III: "Fatal Rendezvous"
Chapter IV: "Two Shots"
Chapter V: "Gun Woman"

Juicy love letters revealing an illicit affair and a couple of missing pearls kickstart 
a trifecta of mayhem and murder, with only a clear-thinking police lieutenant and 
a felonious Scandinavian standing in the killer's way . . .
Comment: The Chandler influence is evident in this one, with shiftiness, shenanigans, and slayings amongst the hoi oligoi and a plot that's been "borrowed" many times since for TV crime shows.
Typo: "Did you ever head of"

- Edward S. Aarons is still popular, so if you experience an information overload consulting these sources don't blame us: Wikipedia (HERE), the GAD Wiki (HERE), Mystery*File (HERE) and (HERE); about the Sam Durell spy series: Mystery*File (HERE), Stop You're Killing Me (HERE), Spy Guys and Gals (HERE), Goodreads (HERE), and Existential Ennui (HERE).

The bottom line: "He who would search for pearls must dive below."
John Dryden

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