2012-06-08 12:22:56 UTC
The Shadow is working out of town, in "Dorchester", where a
blackmailer known as Intimidation, Inc., is killing folks, and taking
in big ill-gotten gains.
This is one of the real mystery plots. Clue piles upon clue, the
Shadow has his pick of different suspects, and winnows them down until
he finds the correct one. As I was heading towards the halfway mark,
I was just amazed that Gibson could pull off stuff like this, two
times a month, for years at a time. More characters than you can
shake a stick at, some of whom are lying and covering up -- how do you
ever keept the plot straight?
In many cases, he didn't. The opening chapter murders involve two
thugs who are never tied to the actual mastermind. There's a Japanese
valet who could be working for the Shadow, against the Shadow, or
independent of the Shadow. Much of the time it isn't clear whether
the Shadow is running a master plan or working a master bluff. The
pace is fast, and enough plot threads come together in the end to wrap
things up. and you have to figure Gibson is AVERAGING 4000 words per
day during this time period, so it's really amazing it hangs together
as well as it does -- over 75 years later.
A couple of very un-Shadowy moments in this one. The Shadow reveals
his Lamont Cranston identity to a local judge. And he ships off two
crooks to a Doc Savage-esque "colony for criminals" he's running.