Showing posts with label Bruno Fischer. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Bruno Fischer. Show all posts

Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Night Time Is Murder Time

The November, 1945 issue of New Detective Magazine featured short stories by David Crewe, Cyril Plunkett, Rex Whitechurch, and Ken Lewis among others. The story that I immediately flipped to was the lead novelette story, “Night Time is Murder Time”, a “man on the run” tale penned by legendary crime-fiction author Bruno Fischer.

Ray was medically discharged from the military after harrowing combat in WW2. After his recovery, he returns to his small hometown and moves in with his father. One night, Ray receives a call from a guy warning him that a female friend is in danger. Ray drives his father's car onto a rural route and gets halfway to his destination when the fuses in the car blow, pitching him and the vehicle into darkness. When he strikes a match, Ray discovers a dead body in the backseat.

Behaving in the most irrational method, Ray fails to warn the police (or his father who happens to be a judge). Like most of these mid-20th century crime-noir stories, Ray disposes of the body and car. He then makes a run for it to clear his name and find the real killer that set him up as the fall guy. The story weaves in and out of Ray's quest for justice while foiling the police. There's a few suspects thrown in to keep the reader guessing, and a nice touching side-story with Ray confiding in his father.

Bruno Fischer isn't capable of writing a bad story, and while this is certainly an overused plot-device, the author still packs a punch with a straight-laced whodunit. For a brisk 20-minute read, “Night Time is Murder Time” is recommended.

Friday, October 21, 2022

The Letter Death Wrote and Other Stories

Bruno Fischer (1908-1992) was another popular author of the paperback original era who honed his craft with short fiction in the pulp magazines. Our friends at the Pulp Fiction Bookstore have released a compilation of Fischer’s pulp stories from that era titled, The Letter Death Wrote and Other Stories. Here’s a review of two selections reprinted in the new eBook release.

“Murder Turns the Curve”

“Murder Turns the Curve” is an 11-page short story that originally appeared in the September 1948 issue of Popular Detective. The story opens in the aftermath of a two-vehicle car wreck with smoldering, twisted metal strewn across the road. Harry Shay is the young, rookie sheriff’s deputy dealing with the aftermath of the crash and the body of the unidentified woman killed in the accident. 

Why would anyone take that blind curve so fast? Harry wonders. It’s almost like the driver was courting death. The unfortunate accident is one of several lately with fatalities caused by an epidemic of bad decision-making by drivers. Harry becomes convinced that there is more happening here than mere chance. Is it possible that there is a serial killer of sorts who is somehow orchestrating these accidents for some sick reason?  

This is a very inventive police procedural murder mystery with a likable main character in Harry, who is fighting against the police establishment to test his unlikely theory. In short, a very satisfying quick read with a satisfying solution.

“A Grave is Waiting”

“A Grave is Waiting” is a 12-page story with origins in the September 1952 issue of Popular Detective – noteworthy because Fischer was already making a good living with paperback original novels at the time. The story begins with thoughtful private detective Ben Starke being forced into a car at gunpoint by two thugs insisting to know the location of a missing boy named George. Ben knows nothing about the kid and successfully escapes from his captors.

On the next day, Ben is hired by a woman to investigate a gang seeking to kidnap a 12 year-old boy named George. What are the odds? Ben seems to inadvertently have a jump on the case and the would-be kidnappers from his encounter the night before. The client is George’s legal guardian, and she has hidden the boy away until the kidnap gang can be neutralized. The boy’s parents are dead, and there’s a modest inheritance that the crooks want for themselves.

Ben suspects there is more to the story, but he takes the engagement since he already has some skin in the game. This leads to a violent and deadly confrontation with the adversaries where the truth of this plot is revealed. The solution is a dark and macabre treat that readers of sick crime plots will relish. Chalk this one up as another winner from this great vintage author. 

Buy a copy HERE

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Cop with Wings

In 1950, Bruno Fischer became a success story with his bestselling novel House of Flesh. Prior to that, Fischer was concentrating on writing full-length mysteries while also contributing to the dime magazines and pulps. He authored hundreds of stories in the 1930s and 1940s for magazines like Dime Mystery, Dime Detective, and Black Mask. I recently located a July, 1946 issue of Mammoth Detective and was happy to find a Bruno Fischer story inside. 

Fischer's "Cop with Wings" is a 5,600 word short story with illustrations by H.W. McCauley. In the story, Van Sheridan is the protagonist, a bold detective sergeant working in a crime-infested town. The city's town hall and most of the businesses and interworking are controlled by a savvy criminal named Peter Holland. Sheridan has butted heads with Holland before, but on this night it's over something unexpected.

Tonight, Van Sheridan and his girlfriend Emily are in Peter's house asking for his marriage blessing. Confused? Emily is Peter's daughter. Van Sheridan is forced to swallow his pride, accept a partial defeat, and ask his nemesis for a marriage blessing. Peter is outraged by the request and angrily advises Emily that she won't receive a penny of his fortune if she marries Van Sheridan. Further, Peter swears that he controls the city's police force and that Van Sheridan will be fired. After the heated argument, Emily asks Van Sheridan to leave the house and that she will discuss the affair with Peter alone.

As Van Sheridan is leaving the house, he overhears Peter telling Emily that she is "messing around with other men..." Contemplating the accusation, Van Sheridan strolls the streets and decides to go back to the house. In the drive, Van Sheridan overhears Peter yelling at someone before the booming sound of a gunshot. Racing into the house, Van Sheridan discovers Emily is standing over a dead man. Shockingly, he also sees Peter holding the smoking gun.

This was such an effective story and Fischer's writing is top-notch. I found the character development as a smooth presentation that changed the roles significantly by the story's end. Fischer's ability to transform this simple "whodunit" into a riveting mystery is reliant on the key statement of "...other men." Just that simple piece of dialogue creates a completely different narrative. The reader is aligned with Emily, but then doubt and suspicion quickly sweep in to create emotional confusion. This is just brilliant writing and I loved the way it was presented. You can read this story for free HERE.

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Fresh Fiancés for the Devil’s Daughter

Before there was a term for “Extreme Horror” or “Splatterpunk” with amplified gore and violence, a man writing as Russell Gray was shocking and revolting readers with his graphic horror stories and novellas in the pulps. Gray was a pseudonym of author Bruno Fischer, and his most famous horror work was “Fresh Fiancés for the Devil’s Daughter,” originally from the May 1940 issue of Marvel Tales.

The story begins at a crowded and drunken literary party in a Manhattan apartment. Our narrator is literary agent Lester Marlin, and he can’t keep his eyes off a woman who just entered the party. She introduces herself as Tala Mag, and Lester is somehow able to fend off her wanton advances by citing his wife’s presence at the party.

The next morning Lester receives a note from the party’s hostess (his best client) asking him to meet with Tala Mag as she is an aspiring author in search of representation. A second note from Tala requests Lester to come to her Park Avenue penthouse later that day for the meeting. Despite his misgivings, he agrees to meet with Tala to appease his client.

At the meeting, Tala is in full seduction mode demanding that he read a story she wrote. Lester reads her manuscript, and it’s dark, vile, evil and unprintable. However, Tala is not the kind of lady who takes no for an answer. As he tries to escape her apartment, Lester is subdued, rendered unconscious, and later awakens naked and bound by chains inside Tala’s “room of torment.”

Beyond that, I don’t want to give much away. However, if you’re seeking a violent and kinky fantasy gone awry, this is the story for you. The torture story becomes a revenge story with an expanded cast of victims, sizzling breasts and a “most dangerous game” gimmick. Bruno Fischer is clearly having some fun pitting an author against a literary agent in a battle sparked by the rejection of the exact kind of story that Fischer himself wrote as Russell Gray.

Was “Fresh Fiancés for the Devil’s Daughter” extreme? Most definitely. Was it scary? Not really. It was definitely suspenseful and never boring, but torture porn was never my idea of a scary time. I liked the novella mostly because Fischer was such a talented writer who could write propulsive and exciting action sequences. Even at this early stage of his career, he could deliver a compelling story. By now you know whether this is your thing or not. If it is, you’ll dig this selection plenty.

Buyer’s Guide:

The 38-page novella began its life in the May 1940 issue of Marvel Tales and has been reprinted in anthologies several times over the past 71 years. If you don’t have $300 to buy the original pulp magazine, you can find the story in any of the following books:

Radio Archives eBook Reprint

Hostesses in Hell

Pulp Fiction Megapack

Monday, March 15, 2021

Paperback Warrior Podcast - Episode 82

On Episode 82 of the Paperback Warrior Podcast, the guys discuss the repulsive horror fiction of Russell Gray. Also discussed : John Eagle, David Morrell, Garrity, Alan Nixon, Horror Book Recommendations and more! Listen on your favorite podcast app, stream it below or download directly HERE 

Donate to the show HERE

Listen to "Episode 82: The Repulsive Horror of Russell Gray" on Spreaker.

Tuesday, February 16, 2021

Paperback Warrior Unmasking - The Repulsive Horror of Russell Gray

In the late 1930s, an enigmatic author named “Russell Gray” began churning out ultra-violent and repulsive horror stories for pulp magazines including Terror Tales, Sinister Stories, and Dime Mystery Magazine. These stories were like nothing America had ever seen before, and a modern reprint publisher called Ramble House has compiled two volumes of Gray’s stories for modern readers to experience.

The first volume is titled Hostesses in Hell and the second is My Touch Brings Death. The stories in both collections were chosen by genre expert John Pelan who also provides introductions to both volumes bringing valuable context to the stories and the author.

First thing’s first: Who was Russell Gray?

Russell Gray and Harrison Storm were pseudonyms utilized by Bruno Fischer for his specific brand of graphic horror stories. Fischer went on to become a successful author of paperback original crime and suspense novels in the 1950s, but those skills were honed as a pulp magazine author who cranked out a million words per year at his peak production.

In a modern world filled with graphic “extreme” horror, I was interested in putting the Russell Gray stories to the test. Do they hold up after 80 years? Can they be shocking to a jaded modern reviewer who has seen it all? I sampled a set of stories from the Hostesses in Hell volume to see what all the fuss is about.

“Hostesses in Hell”

The opening story originally appeared in Terror Tales March-April 1939 issue. The narrator is an inexperienced recreational sailor named Jay who takes seven women on his boat for a ride up and down the ocean shoreline. A spontaneous storm disorients Captain Jay and by the time visibility is restored, the small boat and its passengers are far from the mainland with the only safety being a nearby island. Jay’s boat is paralyzed, so they head for the island in search of help and shelter.

On the island, the group is greeted by a man claiming to be a medical doctor who looks more like a wild-eyed muscleman. He claims to run a hotel of sorts on the island where Jay and the ladies can stay until they can arrange for transport back to the mainland. Upon arrival at the large colonial house, the doctor confesses that the building is actually a sanitarium for the incurably insane.

This being a short-story, things go from creepy to violent and scary rather quickly. The women are naked, lunatics have escaped, and freakishly-deformed creatures begin menacing the island’s guests. It’s legitimately scary stuff and, as promised, extremely violent and disturbing. Overall, an outstanding pulp horror story.

“The Gargoyles of Madness”

This story originally ran in the August 1939 issue of Uncanny Tales. It opens with a police patrolman shooting a purse snatcher dead in the street. Newspaper reporter Glen Kane is covering the shooting when things get weird. The mugger was a prominent local banker who apparently lost his mind and attempted to rob the lady on the street while his face was contorted like a gargoyle. Even weirder: The intended victim had a gargoyle figurine in her purse. Readers of horror fiction can connect the dots faster than the cops or Newsman Gil.

Violent crimes by upscale citizens spread through the city. All the crimes involve tiny gargoyle statues and perps driven to madness. It’s almost as if getting your hands on a gargoyle figure makes you take on the features of the creature and go nuts in the process. When Gil tries to report on this odd phenomena, his editor spikes the story.

Things escalate as Gil investigates. The story’s climax is an orgy of naked breasts, whips. saliva and blood. The punchline recalls stories from The Spider or The Shadow in which an evil villain devises a scheme to inflict madness upon a populace unless he can be stopped by the pulp hero. Bottom line: an unnerving pulp story with some good gore, but not particularly terrifying.

“School Mistress of the Mad”

This one first saw print in the January-February 1939 issue of Terror Tales. “Doom” is the name of a town nestled in the mountains populated by an inferior race of idiots looked down upon by the good people of nearby Amton. Chet is on sabbatical from his city job chilling out in sleepy Amton when he meets a beautiful woman named Linda driving through town headed into Doom. Stopping to ask directions, she discloses that she’s been hired as the new schoolteacher for the Town of Doom. As she drives deeper into the mountains, Chet can’t get her off his mind.

Chet learns that Doom was settled during the American Revolutionary War by a family named Gring who have reproduced and lived there ever since with no contact from the outside world. Generations of inbreeding have made the Gring clan into beast-like idiots.

The idea of the Grings hiring a beautiful schoolteacher in an illiterate town without a school defies logic. Meanwhile, several young women from the town of Amton have become missing lately. Could the Grings be taking some illegal measures to increase Doom’s genetic diversity? Chet sets off to Doom to investigate and maybe save Linda from the hillbillies fifteen miles away.

The author does a great job of building the dread and suspense for the reader who’s left wondering how bad it could be in Doom. I’m happy to report that the Grings clan is worse than you could imagine. This story is chilling and frightening if you enjoy satanic hillbilly stories in the vein of Deliverance or The Hills Have Eyes. It’s hard to believe that the story 82 years-old and still packs such a visceral punch.

Overall Assessment:

For fans of suspenseful horror not afraid of some bloody exploitive violence, Russell Gray is the real deal. Hostesses in Hell may be the most consistently solid single-author horror anthologies I’ve read since Stephen King’s Night Shift. It’s so good that I’ve ordered Volume 2 (My Touch Brings Death) and can’t wait for the paperback to arrive. I’m a huge fan of Bruno Fischer’s crime-fiction novels, but his extreme pulp horror may be the best stuff he ever wrote. Highest recommendation.

Buy a copy of this book HERE

Friday, January 15, 2021

Bones Will Tell

Before transitioning into full-length paperback novels in the 1950s, Bruno Fischer wrote for the pulps. Always a workhorse, the author contributed to a number of dime-magazines and pulps in the 1930s and 1940s. In 2017, Oregon publishing house Armchair Fiction chose to reprint Fischer's novella Bones Will Tell. The story was first published in the February 1945 edition of Mammoth Mystery. As a shorter work, the publisher packaged it as a two-in-one with Day Keene's 1959 full-length paperback Dead in Bed.

Bones Will Tell is a good example of the shudder-pulp writing style of the early 20th Century. Fischer cut his teeth on this sub-genre and masterfully weaves together elements of horror, mystery and intrigue. The story is about two 12-year old kids who dare to climb over the wall bordering what many consider to be the town's “old dark house.” Rumors are abound that the owner herself is a mysterious widow who lost her husband decades ago. Whether he is dead, missing or still alive somewhere in the house enhances the lore of the property. With this seemingly haunted house bordering a dreary swamp, the author's imagination runs wild when the two kids discover a dead body laying in a damp flower bed.

Like any old-fashioned horror tale, the kids report their findings to the police who fail to find any evidence of a corpse. When the kids' testimony becomes questioned, the criticism shifts to the kids' unwarranted trespassing. In order to prove their innocence, the kids jump over the wall again the next night. This second-half of the story escalates the narrative into a more frightful, murder mystery as the body count increases.

In today's more desensitized views of horror, homicide and grizzly details, Bones Will Tell will pale in comparison. In many ways this is like a Scooby-Doo or Hardy Boys installment where the murderer can be anyone under the sheet. The pretense that the old house is haunted is quickly dismissed as the true culprits are revealed. Anyone familiar with the formula won't find many surprises here. It's an early work by Fischer and his writing style reads like a juvenile mystery. It's hard to judge his true talents based on these types of stories, but there's enough meat on the bone to witness his early potential. As a bonus to Keene's Dead in Bed, this is a winning combination warranting the $12.95 sticker price.

Buy a copy of this book HERE

Saturday, March 21, 2020

So Wicked My Love

Following a prosperous writing career in the pulp magazines, Bruno Fischer became a crime-fiction success story. His novel House of Flesh sold 1.8 million copies, leading to a successful run of 10 books authored by the German-American throughout the 1950s. His 1954 novel, So Wicked My Love, was published by Fawcett Gold Medal. It originally appeared in a condensed form in the November, 1953 issue of Manhunt magazine. Crime-fiction scholars will often point to the novel as one of Fischer's best. Opening the book, I was hoping to agree.

When readers first meet Ray, he's a dejected, emotional wreck laying on Coney Island's sandy beach. His girlfriend Florence rejected his marriage proposal and ring the night before, explaining to Ray that she may still be in love with another man. As Ray ponders his life post-Florence, he spots a woman he once knew walking along the shore. Ray re-introduces himself to a beautiful vixen named Cherry and almost immediately becomes an accomplice in armed robbery and murder. Wicked love indeed.

After reading a brief newspaper headline about an armed car robbery, a mysterious woman and a band of criminals, Ray's one night out with Cherry proves to be a cornucopia of dark discoveries. He learns that Cherry has a car trunk filled with stolen cash and three violent men on her trail. Ray gives Cherry the engagement ring he bought Florence and the two decide to flee with the money together. But after a deadly, violent encounter with two of the three men, Ray drops the money at an abandoned farm house and anonymously calls the police to pick it up. Ray then reconvenes with Florence and the two become married and live happily ever after. Considering all of these riveting events happen in the book's opening pages, readers quickly sense that Bruno Fischer has an abundance of intrigue, suspense and violence left to explore.

Ray's lusty encounters with Cherry aren't explicit, but they're an enticing invitation for readers to take the journey with these ill-fated lovers. As Ray's average life becomes more complicated, readers can foresee the impending doom in Fisher's narrative. By its very definition, the idea of this average blue-collar man being trapped in a web of murder, robbery and blinding lust is crime-noir in its most rudimentary form. It's also the same ritualistic formula utilized by a mastermind crime-fiction veteran like Fischer to mesmerize readers, fans and literature scholars. From a reader's stance, it makes for an fantastic reading experience. So Wicked My Love is so wickedly good.

Buy a copy of this book HERE

Friday, March 20, 2020

Run for Your Life

Bruno Fischer was born in Germany in 1908 and emigrated to the U.S. at age five. He wrote for the pulps in the 1930s and 1940s, and transitioned seamlessly into the paperback original market of the 1950s with the majority of his output published by the Fawcett Gold Medal imprint. I’ve found his writing to be reliably excellent, so I was pleased to find a ratty paperback of 1960’s “Run for Your Life,” one of his many novels that has not yet been digitized and released as an ebook.

Our narrator Willie Farrington has lived a posh life. He grew up wealthy and avoided WW2 combat because of his influential family who made their fortune in the railroad industry. Willie estimates that he’s worth around $50 million, and modern readers should keep in mind that this was in 1960 when that was a lot of dough. Willie lives on a sprawling Arizona ranch with his spoiled, cheating wife, and is visiting New York City as the novel opens.

An unusual sequence of events finds Willie dresses like a bum in Central Park in the middle of the night without any money. Mistaking him for a vagrant ruffian, a young woman named Nina solicits Willie to break into an apartment and recover a manila envelope containing documents. Willie accepts the engagement to see if he actually has the capacity to be good at something other than writing big checks.

Willie enters the apartment while Nina waits outside, and if you’ve never read a Fawcett Gold Medal crime novel before, you’ll be surprised to learn that there is a murdered body inside the place. Willie also finds the envelope he was tasked to recover, and it’s filled with what appears to be sensitive national security documents. The cops arrive, and Willie finds himself running for his life along with Nina just like the paperback’s title promised.

If you’re thinking that this all sounds a little contrived, you’d be right. The mid-novel revelation disclosing the reason for the murder and the significance of the envelope is pretty lame and as a straight-up mystery whodunnit, “Run for Your Life” fails. However, as a pursuit and survival adventure paperback, it’s pretty darn good.

By 1960, Fischer was a pro at pacing an exciting novel that keeps the pages turning, and who doesn’t like a well-told couple-on-the-run story? The obstacles Willie and Nina are forced to navigate on their road to freedom and redemption make for some genuinely-exciting reading, and by that measure, “Run for Your Life” is worth your time. Recommended. 

Buy a copy of this book HERE

Monday, March 16, 2020

Paperback Warrior Podcast - Episode 35

It’s time for Paperback Warrior Podcast Episode 35. In this episode, we discuss the meaning of noir fiction as a jumping off point for a career retrospective on Bruno Fischer. We discuss the weird menace subgenre of pulp fiction, and Eric reviews “Crime Commadoes by Peter Cave. We are on all podcast platforms or you can stream below. Download directly HERE

Listen to "Episode 35: Bruno Fischer" on Spreaker.

Friday, October 4, 2019

The Pigskin Bag

Bruno Fischer (1908-1992) was a crime fiction author who, in a more just world, would be better known today because his books were consistently great. Case in point: “The Pigskin Bag.” The short novel began its life in 1946 when it was published in “Mercury Mystery” for 25 cents. It later achieved life as a hardcover and several iterations of paperbacks, including the 1955 Dell edition pictured here. Sadly, it has not been released legally as an eBook, so you’re stuck with paper if you want to read it.

Adam Breen, our sarcastic narrator, is a car salesman and U.S. Army vet living and working in Brooklyn. One evening, he notices a small pigskin suitcase on the backseat floor of the vehicle his wife has been driving. The bag is locked, and it’s heavy as hell as Adam lugs it inside his modest townhome. Upon arrival, his wife is acting suspicious as all hell. What the heck is going on here?

That’s the central question of the paperback. I won’t spoil the wife’s incredible story about how the pigskin bag wound up in the car, but it begs a lot more questions. Fortunately, we are in good hands with Bruno Fischer guiding us though the quickly-unfolding mysteries of the bag and it’s mysterious contents. Everyone wants the damn thing, and some are willing to kill for it.

Of course, the cops don’t buy Adam’s innocent bystander routine. They think he knows what’s inside the bag and where it’s stashed. As often happens in noir novels of this nature, it’s incumbent on Adam to solve the mystery of the pigskin bag and the murders occurring in its wake to clear his own good name and resume his life.

There’s some great violence in this book - bone crunching, close-quarters, face smashing stuff. However, there is no vintage paperback sex because it was written in 1946 before sex was invented. “The Pigskin Bag” (the novel, not the satchel) does contain way too many characters, and I needed a cheat sheet to keep all the cops, crooks, and red herrings straight.

At the novel’s conclusion, we get to learn what’s inside the McGuffin - I mean pigskin bag, - as well as who committed the murders, and what all the fuss was about. It was a satisfying ending to a satisfying mystery paperback. Perhaps it wasn’t a masterpiece of the genre - or even among Fischer’s greatest hits - but if you can find a copy cheap and want to kill a couple hours, you’ll certainly enjoy “The Pigskin Bag.”

Buy a copy of this book HERE

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Evil Days

During the 1950s, Bruno Fischer was one of the mainstays of crime fiction. His bestselling novel, “House of Flesh,” sold 1.8 million copies following its 1950 release. After 21 years of writing, followed by a 14-year hiatus from new releases, Fischer’s “The Evil Days” (1974) was his last published book at the age of 62. Stark House Mystery Classics has repackaged the novel for modern audiences as a double along with Fischer’s “The Bleeding Scissors” (1948).

“The Evil Days” was marketed as a “novel of crime and suspense in the suburbs.” The plot setup is one we’ve seen before: Caleb Dawson’s wife finds a bag of jewels that she wants to keep to supplement the family’s meager income. Caleb thinks it’s a bad idea, but acquiesces to his money-hungry wife’s ill-conceived scheme. As you may have guessed, there are unsavory people who aren’t excited to just walk away from a lost fortune and want the jewels recovered. Meanwhile, there’s a violent murder in the same suburb that serves as the basis for a satisfying mystery. Could the two events be connected?

Fischer spent much of the 1960s working as an editor for two large publishing houses, and he puts his industry knowledge to good use in “The Evil Days.” Caleb works for a respected publisher that has been acquired by a large corporation. The inside baseball treatment of the publishing world is an interesting aspect to this novel for avid readers with an interest in the way a book is brought to market, and the way that editors speak about writers when they’re not around. The snappy dialogue feels authentic because Fischer has been there.

Another interesting way to read this novel is with the knowledge that Fischer was an honest-to-goodness Socialist. His early career was spent editing leftist publications, and he ran for the U.S. Senate in 1938 as the Socialist Party Candidate (spoiler: he lost). The ideas that workers are exploited by their bosses and that lust for money invites unhappiness are recurring ideas in his books and stories. “The Evil Days” has elements of both themes.

But even if you don’t read this paperback as a Marxist allegory, it remains a helluva mystery filled with moral dilemmas, poetic intrigue, sex, and murder. His politics aside, Fischer was an outstanding writer who honed his craft writing short-stories for the pulps, and that fat-free approach to storytelling carried forward for decades to this fine tale. It’s not filled with action or violence, but the Hitchcock-style mystery is plenty tense. Fischer was a pro at this game, and this final novel was a fitting close to a remarkable body of work. Highly recommended.

Bonus Tip:

The best work by Bruno Fischer that I’ve ever read was a 40-page novella called “We Are All Dead.” It’s about a fouled-up getaway after a heist. It’s only $1.49 on your Kindle, and it’s a damn masterpiece. Thank me later.