by Frederick C. Davis
introduction by Andrew Salmon
From 1933–37 pulpsmith extraordinaire Frederick C. Davis chronicled the adventures of the classic pulp hero the Moon Man in the pages of Ten Detective Aces. One of the most unique and compelling characters in the history of the genre, the Moon Man was the Robin Hood of the pulps: He stole from those who profited from the misery of the Depression to help those in need, to balance the scales of justice.
And justice was close to the Moon Man’s heart. For the Moon Man was actually police detective Stephen Thatcher—a dedicated law officer all too familiar with the cracks in the system criminals used to avoid retribution. Donning a black robe and a globe of Argus glass, Thatcher became the Moon Man, a thief who stole from criminals the law could not touch.
Now the Moon Man is hunted by his best friend and partner, reviled by his father and fiancé who all want to see the masked thief pay the ultimate price for his crimes. Stephen Thatcher must walk the razor’s edge of his double life where, every minute, the threat of exposure could shatter his fragile world.
- Silver Death: “The Moon Man must die!” Those bitter words dropped from the lips of the Moon Man himself. For the ultimatum came down from the Board of Police Commissioners to get the notorious Moon Man—or go! Facing the disgrace of dishonorable discharge was the fine old police chief—the Moon Man’s own father. Also, facing discharge was Lt. McEwen, father of the girl the Moon Man wanted to marry. “The Moon Man must die!”
- Mark of the Moon Man: The notorious Moon Man was dead—officially. He had faked his death to save his father—the police chief—and the father of his girl from the disgrace of dishonorable discharge. But now the Moon Man had to come back. Some tremendous power was forcing him to forget the chief, forget Lieutenant McEwen, and forget the girl he loved. Some power was compelling him to play the role of the lowest of two-legged rats. And the first step of that path was marked by a dying man whose jaws were locked on a horrible secret.
- Crimson Shackles: Detective Sergeant Steve Thatcher was captured by a masked band. And Steve Thatcher’s buried secret was ruthlessly dragged from its shallow grave. For Steve Thatcher was the Moon Man—the notorious criminal who robbed the rich. Secundus, leader of the masked Red Five, fettered the Moon Man with sinister shackles. And to forever seal those shackles, Secundus brought a surprise to the Moon Man. That surprise enmeshed the Moon Man in a web from which there was no escape.
- Blood Bargain: The Moon Man was on a double spot. He not only faced disastrous exposure—but was forced to watch his sweetheart steal like a common thief. He watched Sue McEwen, daughter of a police lieutenant, take active part in an amazing robbery. But the Moon Man could do nothing. For he had been forced to lead that raid. And Secundus, master of the infamous Red Four, tightened his grip on the Moon Man.
- The Black Lash: A miasma of mystery oozed from the tarmac of Great City’s airport. The Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce had chartered a plane. He was a feverishly impatient man, and his face had a strange look—as if he were grinning at an open grave. When that plane went up, the lid blew off Great City. A maelstrom of murder engulfed Detective McEwen. And that most famous of the infamous, the Moon Man, flung the gauntlet of defiance at the dread Crimson Trio.
- The Murder Master: Sue McEwen’s gun killed a man. Her own father, Lieutenant McEwen, arrested her—for murder. Then he moved heaven and earth to prove her innocence. But he was helpless against the cleverness of the murderer. Even the man she loved, Detective Sergeant Steve Thatcher, was powerless to help her. But the Moon Man—that famous of infamous prowlers—championed her cause against the Murder Master.
For the first time in decades all 38 of the Moon Man’s exploits have been collected by Altus Press in a seven-volume set.
The Complete Adventures of the Moon Man, Volume 2: 1934 by Frederick C. Davis contains the following stories:
- “Silver Death”
- “Mark of the Moon Man”
- “Crimson Shackles”
- “Blood Bargain”
- “The Black Lash”
- “The Murder Master”