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The Complete Ivy Frost –

The Complete Ivy Frost

Sunday , 26, May 2024 1 Comment

Last year, I wrote a post on the Fedogan & Bremer collection Frost by Donald Wandrei. That book collected the first eight stories with the plan for a second volume. Fedogan & Bremer went on hiatus with the second volume in limbo. Enter Haffner Press. Haffner Press has a history of publishing massive collections of pulp era science fiction. The books are hardback, printed on archival paper, with Smyth sewn binding.

Orders were taken in 2015, there were some delays in production with The Complete Ivy Frost arriving in 2020.

All 18 stories are reprinted, 697 pages of text. Cover by Raymond Swanland and interior illustrations by Chris Kalb. Dwayne Olson wrote an introduction on the series. Layout of text is easy for reading. All and all, a top notch production.

Story Clues Detective Stories Issue
Frost Sep-34
Green Man — Creeping Feb-35
Bride of the Rats Apr-35
The Artist of Death Jun-35
Death Descending Aug-35
Impossible Oct-35
Merry-Go-Round Dec-35
Giants in the Valley Feb-36
Bone Crusher Apr-36
Panda Jul-36
The Lunatic Plague Aug-36
Killer’s Bait Nov-36
Stolen From the Morgue Jan-36
Blood in the Golden Crystal Mar-37
A Beetle or a Fox Jun-37
Skeletons, Inc. Aug-37
Electric Devils Sep-37

The bizarre crimes continue as in the first volume. Some new elements are introduced. Prof. Frost has a bullet proof fast roadster, called The Demon by his assistant Jean Moray. I imagine the car looking something like a 1936 Chevy coup when cars were transitioning from a boxy look to a more rounded and curved look.

Frost is mentioned as using a “long automatic” to dispatch criminals in some of the stories. I imagine the pistol as a special Savage or Remington.

The later stories are shorter than the first ones. “Killer’s Bait” has a big-game hunter who is a serial killer with a “Most Dangerous Game” situation. This story could have been more suspenseful. “Electric Devils,” the last Ivy Frost story is almost in Ian Fleming territory with sinister foreign agents after new technology that would give their nation a military advantage. The main villain has a bald head and pointed ears.

Donald Wandrei is in my top 5 favorite pulp writers. The Ivy Frost series might be my second favorite pulp series. I have burned out on pulp detectives and on crime fiction in general but retain an enthusiasm for this series because it is unique. To put it in perspective, Robert E. Howard had 17 Conan stories in Weird Tales at the same period.

If you are unsure on pulling the trigger on Ivy Frost, you can sample the series either with “Bride of the Rats” reprinted in High Adventure #40 or “The Lunatic Plague” in the anthology, Tough Guys and Dangerous Dames. Wandrei would return to Clues Detective Stories with a new series in 1938. Haffner Press has plans to reprint those.  There were two non-series stories in Clues Detective Stories, six stories in Black Mask, and one story in Alibi. There might be enough text to make for a small book, especially if done as a mass market paperback size as Stark House has been doing.

One Comment
  • Will says:

    Pull the trigger! Pull the trigger! I did on Morgan’s recommendation and he was right: the book is off to a roaring good start. Any fan of Wandrei, pulp, James Bond, Sherlock Holmes, Doc Savage, Doctor Who, detective stories in general, etc., etc. will not regret it.

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