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Louis L’Amour Crime Stories: Part 1 –

Louis L’Amour Crime Stories: Part 1

Sunday , 16, July 2023 Leave a comment

Before Louis L’Amour became the biggest selling paperback writer of westerns, he divided his time in the pulp mgazines between westerns, adventure, and crime fiction. This may be a surprise to some of you but he had a respectable run in the detective pulps in the 1940s.

The Collected Short Stories of Louis L’Amour: Crime Stories Part 1 contains eighteen stories in the crime and also boxing genres.


Story Original Appearance
Unguarded Moment Popular Detective, March 1952
Police Band
Time of Terror Off the Mangrove Coast
The Gravel Pit Beyond the Great Snow Mountains
The Hand of Kuan-yin Star Weekly Magazine, Sept. 1960
Sand Trap
Under The Hanging Wall Thrilling Detective, June 1949
Too Tough to Kill Detective Short Stories, Oct. 1938
Anything for a Pal True Gang Life, October 1935
Fighter’s Fiasco Ace Sports Monthly, Jan. 1938
Sideshow Champion Beyond the Great Snow Mountains
Fighters Should Be Hungry Popular Sports, Feb. 1949
The Money Punch Beyond the Great Snow Mountains
Making It the Hard Way
The Rounds Don’t Matter Thrilling Adventures, Feb. 1942
Fighters Don’t Dive Popular Sports, Summer 1946
Gloves for a Tiger Thrilling Adventures, Jan. 1938
The Ghost Fighter Popular Sports, June 1938

The first nine stories are a mix. “Too Tough to Kill” and “Anything for a Pal” are 1930s hard-boiled yards. The others are more like 1950s crime fiction. Stories like “Police Band” and “The Gravel Pit” are L’Amour’s attempt to do a Manhunt magazine type of story. The characters never quite plumb the depths as what I read in The Best of Manhunt. There is a deceny within L’Amour’s characters that they sometimes come out intact on the other side of a bad situation. Or they face up to what they have done.

The second group of nine stories revolve around boxing. These are among the best boxing stories I have ever read. There is a plot of corruption, organized crime, and fixed fights facing the fighter in addition to getting into the ring. L’Amour did some boxing and it shows. The fight scenes are great. I spaced these stories out about one per week. I like boxing, I just don’t want to read one boxing story after another.

The contents of this paperback were originally in a big hardback which has been broken up. I remember seeing a stack of these at a grocery store but passed at the time picking it up. Luckily the mass market paperbacks are in print. Bantam is keeping the price at $6.99 which is at the lower end of paperback retail cost.

The second paperback derived from the hardback is devoted to more traditional hard-boiled detective story. Stay tuned on that as it is in the “to be read” pile.

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