Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 211 – Molle’ Mystery Theater – Killer Come Back to Me!

Ray Bradbury One usually does not think of Ray Bradbury as a writer of crime stories, but in his early writing career when he was trying to sell stories to various pulp magazines, he gave crime fiction a chance. One such story was called “Autopsy” on his manuscript, but was published in Detective Tales magazine and the title was changed to “Killer Come Back to Me!” by the magazine. The result was an interesting but somewhat lackluster story.

With the help of a radio adaptation by Joseph Ruscoll for the Molle’ Mystery Theater, it was turned into a very good noirish play for radio. An unusually good story by the Bradbury/Ruscoll creation and starring a young Richard Widmark before he became a film star. In fact you will hear the beginnings of Tommy Udo, his character in his film career debut from Kiss of Death.

Music under is by Angelo Badalamenti called Fire Walk With Me (Theme from Twin Peaks).

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 210 – Adventures of Sam Spade

Dashiell Hammett A previously uncirculated copy of an episode from the radio series, The Adventures of Sam Spade, has surfaced. The copy appears to have been hiding right in front of most eyes but was not in general circulation. It is called “The Dead Duck Caper” from February 2, 1947 and stars Howard Duff as Spade and Lurene Tuttle as Effie. Back story about Effie comes from this episode.

I look briefly at Hammett in detective literature and the impact of the Red Scare upon the radio series.

Music under is John Coltrane performing Stardust.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 209 – Cornell Woolrich and the Avenging Angel

Cornell WoolrichOne of author Cornell Woolrich’s dominant noir themes was that of the avenging angel or “l’ange noir.” In this podcast, I look at that theme, how the author came to it and offer a selection from the radio series Suspense called “Angel Face” in which the theme emerges.

Many of Woolrich’s noir stories feature some variation of this “black angel” of death or destruction and serve as his femme fatale in many of the short stories.

Music under is called “Prowler” by Bohren & der Club of Gore.


Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 208 – The Man Who Knew How

Writer Dorothy L. Sayers Normally known for her “Lord Peter Wimsey” detective novels, Sayers was an expert in creating short stories which could touch our psyches and take a “whodunit” and find us asking ourselves, “Who Is It?” She also wrote a series of short stories about a salesman cum detective whose name is Montague Egg. These stories came after the story presented in this podcast – “The Man Who Knew How.”

This is a story about a man who is intrigued when he meets a stranger on a train who tells him about how to create the perfect murder…

Music under is Ruby performed by Yorgui Loeffler

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 207 – Escape: Confidential Agent

Ken Crossen This time we escape to another adaptation of a novel by mystery writer Ken Crossen, who takes on Graham Greene’s novel of a “between the wars” thriller – The Confidential Agent. This adaptation was for the radio program Escape and is well adapted maintaining an exciting, fast-paced ride as a man tries to meet up with his contact without being murdered. I also look briefly at the scripter, Crossen, who himself was an accomplished mystery and science fiction writer.

Music under is Palermo Snow written and performed by John Renbourn.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 206 – Fifty Candles

earl_derr_biggersThough he is known for his Charlie Chan mysteries, Biggers was a prolific writer of other mystery stories, several of which were based in Hawaii and/or San Francisco.

This time a look at one of his shorter novels involving Detective Sergeant Barnes of the San Francisco police department. This is a classic whodunit with a number of suspects. Biggers often wrote in a realist style and with a prominent minority such as Charlie Chan. This novel features a Chinese servant though the detective, unlike Chan, are Anglo. The adaptation could have been written by Ken Crossen, though we don’t know for sure.

Music under is Stardust performed by John Coltrane

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 205 – Homicide for Hannah

Dwight V. BabcockOne of Black Mask magazine’s popular writers from 1934-1939 was Dwight V. Babcock.  His stories were in keeping with the style developed by Joseph “Cap” Shaw of “hard and brittle” stories with naturalistic elements of street grit.  After his stint with Black Mask, Babcock wrote three novels involving “The Gorgeous Ghoul” Hannah Van Doren, who with her friend Joe Kirby set out to solve three crimes over three novels. Known to police and others as “Homicide Hannah” with her taste for murder and mayhem in keeping with her being a writer for the fictitious True Crime Cases magazine, Hannah was a knockout rivaling the likes of Candy Matson.  This time you’ll hear an adaptation of one of Babcock’s novels: Homicide for Hannah over the Molle’ Mystery Theatre.

Music under is Chet Baker performing “Almost Blue”

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 204 – Out of Control

Baynard Kendrick A look at a writer of detective fiction who seems on the cusp of relative obscurity. Baynard Kendrick is actually a very good story-teller of mystery fiction. His Captain Duncan Maclain series of detective stories were very popular in the forties and Kendrick’s detective was relevant even into the 1970s. What makes his detective unique is that he is blind but of keen other senses. His two guide dogs, German Shepherds, can protect him as well as guide him. Suspense performed one of his stories adapted for radio in 1946.


Music under is Night Has a Thousand Eyes performed by McCoy Tyner.

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 203 – A Passage to Benares

Paul Stewart A visit with author T.S. Stribling’s Psychologist-cum-detective, Henry Poggioli, PhD in a strangely fantastic detective melange that was meant to be the writer’s last Poggioli story. Enter into the realm of the current and after life of Poggioli as he unravels the mysterious death of a young Hindu maiden in a temple. An excellent story, and well written radio drama.

Music under is “Light Flight” by Pentangle

Thanks to Cameron!

Radio Detective Story Hour Episode 202 – The Green and Gold String

Philip MacDonald A Clairvoyant? Schemer? Detective? A look at one of British author Philip MacDonald’s (left) detectives – one of his lesser known ones – Dr. Alcazar, mentalist and sleuth. One of MacDonald’s short stories was dramatized over the radio series Suspense in 1957. I look briefly at author MacDonald, one of the thirties most popular mystery writers at the time, and one of his minor detective characters. This episode stars Vincent Price in a wonderful portrayal.

Music under is from Andre Previn’s Jazz Band – Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.

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