Monday, January 30, 2017

Shell Scott Searches for a Vanished Beauty in This Classic Pulp Novel from Gold Medal

First published in 1950, this short novel introduced Shell Scott, a private investigator in the old, classic pulp mold. He's a man's man who is also, naturally, irresistible to women--the kind of a guy who eats a two-inch-thick steak for breakfast, who keeps a bottle of whiskey in the office desk drawer, who's quick on his feet and who's a tough guy to fight against.

The book opens when a (naturally) beautiful woman named Georgia Martin appears in Scott's office and hires him to accompany her to a night club. She won't say why she wants Scott to escort her, but he learns pretty quickly that Georgia is looking for her younger sister, Tracy, who is missing. 

The floor show at the club involves a knife-throwing act. The target is a very sexy Latin woman who is (naturally) immediately attracted to our intrepid hero. There are also some gangsters lurking about and the woman who runs the place is an interesting piece of work.

Things happen, as they must in a book like this, and soon the game is on. The whole thing is pretty preposterous, but a fair amount of fun just the same. The book reflects the attitudes of the post-World War II era, and so if you're uncomfortable with a book in which women are often treated like "dames," and where the racial assumptions of the era were different than those of our own, then this might not be the book for you. If, on the other hand, you enjoy the occasional stroll down memory lane back to a time when pulp novels like this could be found on the spinning racks of virtually any drugstore or news stand, this can be a very enjoyable way to waste a couple of hours some evening.

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