Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Pigeon Blood

George Sims (1902-1966) wrote screenplays as Peter Ruric and pulp fiction as Paul Cain. Seven of his 1930s works from Black Mask Magazine were compiled into the book Seven Slayers in 1946, including his most famous tale, “Pigeon Blood”, from 1933.

The novella opens with Mrs. Catherine Hannan driving from Long Island to Manhattan as thugs fire shots at her car. She’s the wife of oil millionaire Dale Hannan, and she got herself in some trouble with her own gambling debts. In order to cover her losses, Catherine partnered with a mobster to orchestrate the theft of her own rubies in an insurance fraud scheme. It now appears that the racketeer has double-crossed her and wants the socialite dead.

Her wealthy husband intervenes to save his pain-in-the-ass wife by hiring a resourceful fixer named Druse to recover the rubies and neutralize the threat on Catherine’s life. Druse is a great character who effectively takes control of the situation and determines that maybe this whole affair is not what it seems.

There are some plot twists in “Pigeon Blood” that I didn’t see coming and Cain’s writing is never boring. However, I had some issues with the convoluted conclusion that detracted from the story’s otherwise fun ride. Overall, I give “Pigeon Blood” a passing grade, but I’m not particularly inspired to dig deeper into Cain’s other stories. 

Buy a copy of this book HERE.

1 comment:

  1. You should give Fast One a try. It reads quickly, and is only a few bucks on Kindle.