Ship of the Golden Ghoul – Lazar Levi

pulpmegabride01Bruce and Julia are threading their sailboat through a narrow channel.  Julia says another boat has been chasing them for an hour and is concerned as she believes it to be a ghostboat with a dead man for a pilot.

Earlier, they had nearly collided, and they saw no crew, only a corpse at the wheel — moldy clothes on a bony frame, and rotten flesh.  On the other hand, there is also a radiant golden siren (the breasty kind, not the police car kind).  They play cat and mouse around the islands, but Bruce runs aground and their boat is lost.

As always in these stories, there is a house in this unlikely location.  The door is opened by Jerry Dunn, wielding a gun.  Cuthbert Stapleton is not keen on letting them in, but the owner George Kober thinks it is OK.  There is another man named Slim — apparently named for his characterization — his presence is barely commented upon and he quickly ends up mysteriously slashed “from chin to navel” in Julia’s bedroom that night.

Julia did not witness the murderer, but Bruce says he saw a grotesque face at the window making an escape.  There are several accusations of jewelry smuggling and tax evasion.  Dunn quietly reveals to Bruce that he is actually a G-man on the case.  Bruce and Dunn hear a scream and find that Kober has also been killed in the same grizzly fashion. The empty safe next to the bloody corpse suggests that Stapleton has made off with the treasure.

In the mean time, Julia has disappeared.  Despite having zero reason to believe the ghostboat was involved, Bruce decides to swim — swim, I tells ya — in pursuit of the black schooner. After an hour of swimming through the wild surf, he reaches the ghostboat and, unlike the dumbbells in Adrift, is able to climb the anchor chain.  He is quickly conked on the head.

Finally we get to a story with an ape, though, sans zeppelin.

Finally we get to a story with an ape, though, sans zeppelin.

He awakens in the cabin, which is covered in tapestries.  Two sword-wielding, turbaned Arabs are flanking a golden snake-god statue.  There is also a woman with cascading hair like spun gold posed seductively on a couch wearing “a thin transparent gossamer which enshrouded, but did not conceal her voluptuous charms.”

Just in case we don’t get it, we are also subtly informed that she has “breasts like ripe melons.”

The woman, Thyra — another good Barsoom name — offers to take him away and make him emperor to her empress, but he demands to see Julia.  She orders the swordsmen to bring in Julia, who she promptly orders to be “stripped to the waist!” revealing the lack of follow-through that will prevent her from ever really being successful.

Turns out, she is just a common ho’ and Dunn is not a G-Man, he is in cahoots with her.  There is blood and killing and dismemberment.  And Thyra also being stripped to the waist — you know this Lazar Levi guy just doesn’t know how to close a deal.


  • First published in Mystery Novels and Short Stories Magazine in September 1939, the same issue as Bride of the Ape.
  • Also that month:  Germany invades Poland and conducts first air attacks on Great Britain.  FDR declares US neutral as such blood-thirsty, savage nations as New Zealand, Canada, Australia and even France declare war.
  • Archaic words:  welter, incarnadined, objurgations, flossie.  Or, at least unknown to me.

Bride of the Ape – Harold Ward

pulpmegabride0125 stories for $.99 — they must be great!

I love these covers.  Not just for the lurid, scantily-clad damsel-in-distress poses, but also for the more subtle points — the jarring noun-noun-adjective string of words at the top; the misspelled word; the doctor’s hand holding the syringe which is almost an optical illusion; the way the illustration doesn’t quite fit the story.

On an “abysmally dark” night, Bob and Betty are being stalked through the woods by an unseen, growling entity.  For a change in these stories, their car did not get stuck in mud, but is immobilized by a “broken spring.”  They have wandered for miles seeking help.

The sound of their pursuer “acted as a tonic to our jaded nerves, quickening our muscles, putting us on the qui vive.”  The Kindle dictionary defines qui vive as:

n. on the alert or lookout; duty requires the earnest liberal to spend most of his time on the qui vive for fascism.

Presumably so he can hold a fundraiser. BTW, a lot of dictionaries seem to use that example, but no one gives an attribution.

Soon they see a house surrounded by a fence, 20 feet in height, with tightly meshed wire fastened to high posts.  It reminds Bob of a prison; or a driving range.

Admiring the fence, Bob trips and falls onto a the body of a naked woman.  Bob takes no indecent liberties because she is dead and “a weird misshapen creature, her form twisted and warped.”  Also because Betty is watching.

Finally we get to a story with an ape, though, sans zeppelin.

Finally we get to a story with an ape, though, sans zeppelin.

Breaking the awkwardness, or perhaps adding to it, a gorilla bursts out of the jungle.  It grabs Betty and begins tearing at her clothes.  Bob gamely jumps in repeatedly to save his gal.  He does manage to incapacitate the gorilla long enough for them to make it to the porch of the house.  Note to owner — the prison fencing is not working.

The door is answered by Professor Bixby, “a poor scholar come to this place to work out certain theories”  IOW, a mad scientist.  Bixby seems to be skeptical of their tale until the gorilla presses his face against the window.  He summons his man-servant Jarbo, who is described a “a huge black,” and orders him to kill the beast.

Before heading out, Jarbo beings in a tray of wine and sandwiches.  The famished couple dig in, but the food has been drugged and they drift off to sleep.

Bob awakens in a pit, but can hear Betty screaming.  He is tied to an iron bed, but manages to loosen the ropes and escape.  He finds Betty nearly naked in the lab with Bixby and the gorilla.  Bixby tries to calm the gorilla telling him, “her blood will be in your veins,” and promises the gorilla’s blood will flow through Betty’s body.  “Then she will be yours.”

Bob attacks Bixby, throttling his neck, but Jarbo smacks him down.  Not that he cares about Bixby, he wants to get his hands on Betty.  Jarbo tears at Betty’s bindings and speaks.  “She is Jarbo’s!  No give to ape-man this time!”  Bixby manages to shoot Jarbo, but “the black” — it’s not me, that’s how he is constantly referenced! — is still able to kill him.  The ape-man then attacks Jarbo, but Bob blows his brains out just as the cops show up.

According to Jarbo, Bixby was “obsessed with idea of fusing the blood of lower animals with that of white women to build up the racial stamina, weakened by the artificialities of modern life.”

I have no idea what that means, but it’s a nice little read.


  • First published in Mystery Novels and Short Stories Magazine in September 1939, same issue as Ship of the Golden Ghoul.
  • Also that month:  Germany invades Poland and conducts first air attacks on Great Britain.  FDR declares US neutral as such blood-thirsty, savage nations as New Zealand, Canada, Australia and even France declare war.
  • Jarbo is described as Algerian, but repeatedly referred to as “the black.”  I tried to find a list of famous Algerians to gauge their skin-color.  Turns out, there are no famous Algerians.

Death Mates for the Lust-Lost – Hugh J. Gallagher

pulpfiction0125 stories for $.99; they must be good!  Part V of XXV.

Miriam Daly is on a launch to the island compound of Mr. Martinez.  The passengers are a diverse group including a lecturer, an aerialist, a singer, a dancer, a magician’s assistant, and a concert pianist — all female. There are clearly no rocket scientists in the group as they haven’t figured out they’re all going to the same place despite being on a small boat heading toward an island.

Martinez greets them at his mansion and pulls aside three of the women.  The other three are led to their rooms by a “half-nude” servant, although which half and which sex are not described.

Miriam is led into a bedroom and the door is locked behind her.  Soon there is a tapping at her window.  She opens the latch and lets in the aerialist, who is actually a man, man! He posed as a woman to investigate this disappearance of his sister who was last known to be heading to this island.

Hearing voices, Miriam and the aerialist Phil climb down a trellis and follow their three companions being dragged into the woods.  Turns out Martinez has brought women here to hunt for sport — the second time in five stories that this trope has been used.  To prove his seriousness, he brutally tortures and kills one of the women.

The next day, exploring the estate, Miriam and Phil (dressed as Phyllis again) discover what became of the other women, and of Phil’s sister.  Whatever torture and nastiness goes on in this collection, you can usually depend on scores being settle at the end.

A pretty straight-forward tale


  • First published in Mystery Novels and Short Stories Magazine, July 1940.
  • Also that month: The first successful helicopter flight.
  • Same publication as Mystery Novels Magazine or least original rip-off ever?  I have no idea.