Friday, January 30, 2015

The Pit And The Pendulum by Edgar Allan Poe

A story about the torments endured by a prisoner of the Spanish Inquisition

Harry Clarke Illustration
 The story takes place during the Spanish Inquisition. At the beginning of the story an unnamed narrator is brought to trial before various sinister judges. Before him are seven tall white candles on a table, and, as they melt, his hopes of survival also diminish. He is condemned to death and finds himself in a pitch black compartment. At first the prisoner thinks that he is locked in a tomb, but he discovers that he is in a cell. The narrator discovers that the prison is slightly illuminated and that he is bound to a wooden board by ropes. He looks up in horror to see a painted picture of Father Time on the ceiling; hanging from the figure is a gigantic pendulum with a crescent razor measuring swinging slowly back and forth. The pendulum is sliding downwards and will eventually kill him. As the pendulum reaches a point inches above his heart, the prisoner breaks free of the ropes and watches as the pendulum is drawn back to the ceiling.

Printing History
Written by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

The Gift: A Christmas and New Year's Present for 1843

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Fall of the House of Usher by Edgar Allan Poe

The story begins with the unnamed narrator arriving at the house of his friend, Roderick Usher, having received a letter from him in a distant part of the country complaining of an illness and asking for his help. As he arrives, the narrator notes a thin crack extending from the roof, down the front of the building and into the lake.

The narrator is impressed with Roderick's paintings, and thus attempts to cheer him by reading with him and listening to his improvised musical compositions on the guitar. Roderick sings a song, then tells the narrator that he believes the house he lives in to be alive. Eventually The narrator flees the house, and, as he does so, notices a flash of moonlight behind him, causing him to turn back in time to see the moon shining through the suddenly widened crack of the house. As he watches, the House of Usher splits in two and the fragments sink into the sea.

Printing History
Written by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)

Burton's Gentleman's Magazine
September 1839

Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque

Roger Corman film from 1960

Vincent Price as Roderick Usher
Mark Damon as the Narrator 
Myrna Fahey as Madeline

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Mystery of Marie Rogêt by Edgar Allan Poe

The first murder mystery based on the details of a real crime

  C. Auguste Dupin and his sidekick the unnamed narrator undertake the unsolved murder of one Marie Rogêt of Paris. The body of Rogêt, a perfume shop employee, is found in the Seine River and the media has taken a keen interest in the mystery.

 The story is based upon the actual murder of Mary Cecilia Rogers. She disappeared on October 4, 1838, in New York City and became known as the "Beautiful Cigar Girl". Only a few days later the newspapers announced her return. It was said she had eloped with a naval officer. Three years later, on July 25, 1841, she disappeared again. Her body was found floating in the Hudson River on July 28 in Hoboken, New Jersey. The details surrounding the case suggested she was murdered. The death of this well-known girl received national attention for weeks. Months later her fiancé was found dead, an act of suicide. By his side was a remorseful note and an empty bottle of poison.

Printing History
Written by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
Snowden's Ladies' Companion
William W. Snowden
November 1842

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

The Purloined Letter by Edgar Allan Poe

Featuring the fictional detective C. Auguste Dupin

The unnamed narrator is discussing with the famous Parisian amateur detective C. Auguste Dupin some of his most celebrated cases when they are joined by the Prefect of the Police. The Prefect has a case he would like to discuss with Dupin.  A letter has been stolen from the boudoir of an unnamed female by the unscrupulous Minister D. It is said to contain compromising information. D was in the room, saw the letter, and switched it for a letter of no importance. He has been blackmailing his victim.

Printing History
Written by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
The Gift for 1845
December 19844

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe

The narrator endeavors to convince the reader of his sanity, 
while describing a murder he committed.

The narrator insists he is sane but suffering from a disease which causes over-acuteness of the senses.  An old man with whom he lives has a clouded, pale, blue vulture-like eye which so distresses that the narrator plots to murder the old man, though the narrator states that he loves the old man, and hates only the eye. The narrator insists that his careful precision in committing the murder shows that he cannot possibly be insane.

Printing History
Written by Edgar Allan Poe (1809-1849)
James Russell Lowell
The Pioneer 
January 1843

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Arctic Abduction by Jack Garside

Agent N3 on a scorching search and destroy 
mission against the KGB's special forces!

Killmaster #260
The KGB has created a new breed of super spy. Abducted American children are subjected to years of brutal brainwashing and then returned to the United States as an elite force of assassins. Indistinguishable from ordinary citizens, it was a perfect plan, until one of them tried to kill Nick Carter. Now AXE's own ultra spy is out to turn the bloody tables. Nick's assignment is to impersonate a top KGB official and infiltrate the training facility where children are tuned into cold blooded killers. For anyone else, it would be a suicide mission. For Nick Carter, it's just a game. A game of Russian roulette.

Printing History
Written by Jack Garside (1924- )

Berkley Publishing Group
Jove Books
Published by arrangement with The Conde Nast Publications, Inc.
ISBN 515 10292
April 1990

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Call Me Deadly by Hal Braham

When a bride lost her laughter
met a man who lost a corpse

Cover by Walter Popp
It meant that her twice dead husband had thirteen more days n which to be murdered, again. And that ex cop Jim Dillon would have to come up with a cadaver even is was to be his own!  

Printing History
Written by Hal Braham (1911-1994)

Priory Books 

Graphic Books

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

The Tomorrow War by Mack Maloney

In a strange new world called America
The future is in danger
And the past is just beginning

Wingman #16
For ace pilot Hawk Hunter Word War II isn't over...
And World War I hasn't even begun

The Lost Squadron
Plunged into an alternate world, and the a lethal rematch with history's infamous adversaries, it's up to "the Wingman" to terminate the past once and for all. But blowing Asia to kingdom come with a tri-nuclear bomb has ignited the night sky in flames, and transformed Hunter's escape route to a new Hell on earth.....

Hurled into a brutal trench warfare in an legislated European country, Hunter is torn between two enemy forces, with one prayer for survival To operate as a mercenary warrior and blast his way back to America. But it's going to take more than guts. For locating the mysterious portal that will bring him home depends on an unlikely comrade. Now, joining forces with Victor Robotov, the world's greatest madman is Hawk Hunter's last hope for saving himself, and the only hope for surviving the future

Printing History
Written by Brian Kelleher

Kensington Publishing Corp
Pinnacle Books 
October 1999
ISBN 7860 1025

Open Road Media
 June 2013

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Too Hot To Handle by Orrie Hitt

If you wanted pleasure,
Kay would give you a fling!

Starkly reveals the tempestuous life of a wanton woman.

Printing History
Written by Orrie Edwin Hitt (1916-1975)

Beacon Books

Monday, January 12, 2015

USA Fiction Challenge: Oregon

We are rolling along in the USA Fiction Challenge. As we near the end of this one of a kind event, we will be visiting some exciting locales. The next stop is state of Oregon with J.A. Jance's Failure To Appear

Failure To Appear
by J. A. Jance

J.P. Beaumont’s teenage daughter Kelly has run off and her tracks have led the sober but struggling cop to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. But in addition to one very headstrong offspring, there is something else waiting for Beau. A case of coldblooded murder. The victim is an acquaintance, a sleazy rival private investigator brutally butchered, supposedly by the Festival’s current young Juliet, though Beau has his doubts. But the Second Act is about to open with a second corpse and a touch of kiddie porn, leaving Beau center stage in a heart-stopping tragedy of revenge, deception, and death.

Printing History
Written by Judith Ann Jance (1944- )

William Morrow and Company, Inc
copyright 1993
April 1997
March 2009

The Hearst Corporation
Avon Books, Inc
ISBN 380 75839
September 1994