PULP FICTION: THE DAMES
Otto Penzler, Editor

 


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Quercus. This Edition published: June 2008
Reviewed by Sally Roddom

This is the third volume of pulp fiction short stories that have been mined from various pulp fiction magazines from the 1920s, '30s and '40s. These were the golden years of pulp fiction, where the men were men and the women were well women. The dames of pulp fiction were usually draped over the front covers wearing low-cut outfits and being menaced by some burly, scarred and tattooed ruffian. PULP FICTION: THE DAMES has short stories which dont only have women on the outside they have women inside, too. Reporters, jewel thieves, gangster molls, femme fatales and tarts with hearts are all represented within these twenty-three short stories. While there are no female PIs, these broads certainly make their presence known, stealing the scenes from the males in the stories.

The stories themselves are mixed some stand out, and others barely raise a yawn. Some of my favourites were Angel Face, which is about a stripper trying to save her little brother from the electric chair hes been found guilty of a crime he didnt commit. A Shock for the Countess is light-hearted look at the theft of a necklace, and Snowbound looks at a battle for power between Queen Sue and a drug dealer called Suds.

Overall this is a good bedside book. You can pick it up, tired and sleepy, and peruse a story or two before lights out. These are adventure stories for the most part. None of them are really dull they may not be as good as others but everyone is worth reading. There is lots of action, gunplay, devious double crossing cynical women and bodies galore. But the criminals just get on with it while the authors twist the plots, throwing in sex and violence for good measure. These are noir stories, with hardboiled detectives and even more hardboiled women.

Nov 2008 review originally published on Murder and Mayhem

 

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