Saturday, February 11, 2017


First published in April, 1933, THE SILENT DEATH was the 27th Shadow adventure and it's a good one. A mad scientist, Folcroft Urlich, plots to kill a succession of wealthy men by various means, ingenious killing devices that Urlich describes as "silent death". He's foiled by The Shadow in all but one of his attempts, a fiendishly clever death trap that claims two victims. But The Shadow gains valuable information from one of the victims before his final breath, info that leads the crime fighter to Urlich's hidden laboratory on Long Island.

Urlich's redoubt is a fantastic, pyramidal type structure, with the three levels rounded rather than angular. Within the fortress is a laboratory and a sunken pit which houses a gigantic device that has the capability of electrocuting everyone within the building and those without inside a prescribed perimeter. A mad scientist! A fantastic laboratory! An immense death machine! These are the elements that make pulp fiction so much fun.

The edition I read (finished it last night) was published in March1978. Once again, artist extraordinaire Jim Steranko does the honors on the cover art and this time, the image is not entirely inaccurate. There is a giant test tube of death in the story, two of them in fact, but rather than containing a damsel in distress, the tubes imprison two of The Shadow's agents: Clyde Burke and Cliff Marsland. But hey, Steranko's image captures the spirit if not the letter of the yarn and that's fine by me.

This one's a winner!

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