I finished reading THE CREEPING DEATH last night. Originally published on January 15th, 1933, it's the 22nd Shadow pulp adventure. The paperback edition I read, which is pictured above, was published by Pyramid Books in May, 1977. The terrific cover is by the legendary comic book artist Jim Steranko.
I've read quite a few Shadow novels over the last few years and each and every one of them I've read aloud to my lovely wife Judy. I read while she cooks our suppers and then I clean up the kitchen after we eat. When we take any long car trips, she drives and I read aloud. We've been able to enjoy dozens of books this way. It may take a little longer to read something aloud but the pleasure we both get from the experience is well worth the effort. Besides, when I read a Shadow yarn, I get to practice my sinister Shadow voice and laugh.
THE CREEPING DEATH finds The Shadow up against an insane inventor who means to rule the world by flooding various countries economies with fake gold, a substance that he can create in his laboratory. He means to eventually own all of the real gold in the world, and replace it with the fake stuff. Sounds like a certain Bond villain, doesn't it? Lucien Partridge is the gents' name and he has operatives working in various countries to pass the counterfeit bullion. But dead men tell no tales and Partridge has begun doing away with his associates by using the Creeping Death. It's a deadly, slow acting toxin that Partridge wears on his lab gloves. When he shakes hands with someone, they are doomed to die an agonizing death in a matter of hours.
Of course, The Shadow investigates the murders and finds the trail leading to Partridge's heavily guarded upstate mansion. He's aided by secret service agent Vic Marquette, whom the Shadow must rescue from certain death more than once. Things come to an explosive climax when Partridge's hideout is bombed and a small army of gunmen invade the grounds where a deadly gunfight erupts with the Shadow and Marquette caught in the middle. There's a struggle to the death above a sheer cliff between the Shadow and Partridge and only one survives. Guess who?
THE CREEPING DEATH is a fast paced, action packed Shadow adventure that features a unique method of murder, a mad genius and plenty of gun play. That's pretty much what you expect from a pulp thriller and this one definitely delivers the goods. Judy and I both enjoyed it and if you're a pulp fan, you will too.