Strange Detective Mysteries January 1941 (Norvell W. Page, Bruno Fischer, Stewart Sterling, Henry Kuttner, R.S. Lerch) Review
I purchased this Strange Detective Mysteries pulp from 1941 because of the cover story by my favorite writer, Norvell W. Page (The Spider, But Without Horns, etc.), but his convoluted tale of suburban yellow peril wound up being the least compelling of the bunch (and loaded with a ton of forced exposition at its conclusion). Still, all NWP tales that I've read have value, and this one did feature a character named "Chichester" and some very memorable head injuries.
Henry Kuttner supplies a short dreamy tale like something Paul Ernst might have supplied to Weird Tales, and R.S. Lerch provides a paranoiac and smelly tale that is a bit too condensed and contrived for its duration, though it is decent.
Although judging a book or pulp by its cover is not advisable, with this issue, you can certainly judge a story by its title--the two highlights are very well named...
"Case of the Growing Corpse" (Stewart Sterling) is equally puzzling and disgusting and seems a bit like a precursor to 80s splatterpunks like Shaun Hutson. Ever read a story with a severed arm that is slowly growing in size? Read this...and be ready for gross bewilderment.
"Beware the Blind Killer!" is by Bruno Fischer (writing as Russell Gray). Like pretty much everything I've read by this talented guy, it is intense, surprising, dark, and exciting, and has both a nasty edge and some interesting and morally gray internal conflicts for the protagonist (especially for a borderline shudder/horror pulp). In this story, the main character is a cop whose wife may be a murderer. The title describes the weirder aspect of the tale and is quite deserving of its exclamation point. Oddly, this story best delivered the darkness, mania, and intensity I was expecting from NWP and alongside Sterling's story, makes the issue worth seeking out, especially since everything is engaging at some level.