160k 11/41 The Invisible-Box Murders

Chuck Welch
November 9, 2001 - 1941 / Bantam 157-168 / clark / larkin / nanovic / novel / pulp

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Four men have mysteriously died after receiving an innocuous box that vanishes within minutes of the murder! Doc and his crew race to crack the case — because Doc is suspect number one!

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  1. Thomas Fortenberry says:

    The Invisible-Box Murders is one of those coulda-shoulda been novels in the series. Kind of intriguing with some very nice scenes of mystery and suspense, but yet somehow overall not quite living up to what it could or should have been.

    There are some good Doc fight scenes that show his phenomenal speed, discpline, and power in an understated matter-of-fact way: Doc Savage came out of the adjacent shadows at that point! A stool, a three-legged wooden stool, actually preceded him out of the shadows. He threw it with care, accuracy. It turned over twice in the air, struck Blosser’s gun hand. Blosser lost the gun. Doc came not quite, but almost, as fast as the thrown stool. He struck the man with the rifle, Nick, with the edge of his hand at the throat. He grabbed the rifle out of Nick’s hands. Nick staggered sounding like a toy balloon with the air leaving it. Doc hit him. Nick became silent. Blosser was fumbling for his service revolver with his left hand. His right-hand thumb was sprained, and one finger was back in a shape it should not have been, out of joint. Doc came toward him. Blosser stopped fumbling for his gun, tried to square off…. Blosser hit the floor like three or four sticks of loose wood. (Bantam Omnibus #8, pp. 69-70)

    There is also a very nice bit of Monk psychology, with Monk scaring a person with his strength and explsoive personality (even better because the guy is an agressive cop): Monk ignored him. Blosser took a step forward, grabbed Monk’s arm, and rasped, “Look here! If you fellows know –” Monk brought his arm slowly down and around and twisted out of Blosser’s fingers. “You put your hands on me again,” Monk told him, “and I’ll pull them off and stuff them in your ears.” Blosser retreated hastily. In Blosser’s private opinion, Monk Mayfair was about as safe as a can of nitro-glycerin. Which was what Monk wanted him to think. (p 102)

    I can’t discuss the “invisible-box” device that is the namesake of the plot, without giving it away, except to say that while it is over-played a bit at first, it is very feasible as always.

    Thomas Fortenberry

  2. Todd Pence says:

    During this novel, Doc instructs his aides to place ads in several newspapers in an attempt to smoke out the villians. One of the papers listed is the Daily Planet! Is this evidence that Doc and Superman co-exist in the same universe?

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