INQUIRY. (Oct 18) In my bibliography of Helen Reilly’s mystery fiction, there are some questions about her short fiction that so far I haven’t been able to answer. Your assistance is requested, if you can.
The stories “Dark Exit” and “Black Reminder” appeared in Mystery Book Magazine in the late 1940s. Were either of these lengthened into one of her novels? Her primary series character was Inspector McKee. Did he appear in either story?
“Perilous Journey” appeared in Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, May 1962. Was Inspector McKee in this one? Her last novel was The Day She Died, which also came out in 1962. Could this have been an expanded version of the Mike Shayne story?
PETER ENFANTINO -
I skimmed the story “Perilous Journey” and saw no mention of McKee, but at the beginning of the story, it’s noted that it’s is a retitling of “Perilous Escort,” copyright 1948 by Short Stories Magazine. Hope this helps. If you ever have any questions concerning The Saint, AHMM, Manhunt, EQMMM, or Shayne, feel free to ask. I have full sets of these.
Thanks, Peter. This closes one door fairly conclusively, but slightly opens another. Presumably the story appeared in Short Stories, but when? What month? I believe there are people working on an index to Short Stories, and if so, maybe we can close up this portion of the question fairly quickly.
RICHARD HALL -
I have the issue, Short Stories, October 25, 1948.
PHIL STEPHENSEN-PAYNE -
As a matter of detail, do you know if it appeared as “Perilous Journey” (as per your note) or “The Perilous Journey” (as listed in Monthly Murders)?
My record for the story does not include the “The,” but checking with Peter Enfantino, he confirms that you are correct. I’ve made the changes in the bibliography accordingly. Incidentally, for what it’s worth, his unofficial word count for the story is 16,800, so I am also going to call it a novelette.
Thanks, Rick, for the information from Short Stories. I believe that you are one of the people working on the index I mentioned. Would you care to tell us something about the progress you’ve made so far?
RICHARD HALL -
Larry Estep got copies of Len Robbins’ data, and I am helping with the data entry. ALL of the info is on disk for 1890-1929, and 1950-1959. I am waiting for copies of Len’s data about interior artists and series characters for 1930-1949. Since I have most of those issue I’ve done the basic work for 1930-1935 & 1940-1949. I’ll finish 1936- 1939 by mid-November.Once I get Len’s info I will finish the 30s and 40s. (I also am missing 70-odd issues from these two decades. I need all of Len’s data for those issues.) I would like to be done with data entry by January 2006. With so many issues, I would like to have a Short Stories cover gallery as part of the index on CD.
As a short aside (no pun intended) the stories in Short Stories were primarily westerns and adventure yarns, with a small but sizable percentage being crime and/or detective tales. The magazine was unfairly neglected by pulp magazine collectors for quite a while, but in the last couple of years, it has started to gain the “respect” that it should have had all along, especially the issues prior to World War II. An excellent article on Short Stories can be found in the Spring 2005 issue of Ed Hulse’s Blood 'n' Thunder magazine, an issue which I believe is still in print.
Which is getting us far afield from Helen Reilly, but it is interesting that such a straight-forward pulp adventure magazine would find her stories of interest, especially in 1948, when her novels were becoming more closely identified with Had-I-But-Known characteristics.
On the other hand, of course, in his article on her, Mike Grost did spot a Black Mask influence on her early writing. To me, this makes an investigation into her 1948-49 short fiction all the more worth doing.
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