Notice: Undefined offset: 1 in /home/linweb28/c/ on line 31
The Curse of the Harcourts –

The Curse of the Harcourts

Sunday , 21, January 2024 1 Comment

Chandler H. Whipple (1905-1977) was a pulp writer who started in the westerns pulps in 1932, mostly under the name “Robert Enders Allen.” He co-wrote “Boot Hill Payoff” with Robert E. Howard for Western Aces, Oct. 1935. Howard’s agent, Otis Adelbert Kline had arranged to have Howard rewrite a story unsold by Whipple.

Whipple wrote mostly westerns but he worked for Popular Publications and produced some stories for the weird menace titles Dime Mystery and Terror Tales. He produced a series that ran in Dime Mystery in 1935.

Title Issue of Dime Mystery
The Son of Darkness Feb-35
Curse of the Harcourts Mar-35
Shadow of the Plague Apr-35
White Lady of Hell Jun-35
A Child for Satan Sep-35
The Last Harcourt Oct-35

The first story takes place in Normandy in the early 11th Century. Signor Pirelli of Florence seeks shelter at Baron d’ Harcourt’s castle. Pirelli is discovered attempting to ravish the baron’s daughter. The baron scourges Pirelli while driving him from the castle. Pirelli curses the baron and his descendents. Members of the baron’s family begin dying. Finally there is a supernatural showdown. Pirelli claims to be the son of Satan. Generally, weird menace magazines had rational explanations for supernatural looking situations. Not in this case. There is some action including some sword-slinging. This story could be designated sword & sorcery.

“Curse of the Harcourts” takes place in the 12rh Century in Wales. There is a Welsh uprising, Baron Henry d’ Harcourt is holding a castle against them. His wife is abducted by Druids. Henry travels to the pagan Welsh underworld and does battle with Pirelli. This story is definitely sword & sorcery.

“Shadow of the Plague” takes place in England in the 14th Century during the Black Death. Robert d’ Harcourt battle Pirelli who is spreading the plague to kill off the family.

“”White Lady of Hell” takes place in Florence in the 16th Century. Pirelli is looking more grotesque after being defeated over the centuries. The torture scale is amped on in this one.

“A Chile for Satan” is Masschussetts colony in the late 17th Century during the witch trials. Pirelli has returned taking shape of people. Elizabeth Harcourt defends her baby against Pirelli.

“The Last Harcourt”has Lionel Harcourt battling Pirelli attempt to take over his body. Harcourt’s ancestors return to do battle with the Devil’s Son. This was the shortest story in the serie. It also has a possible rational explanation by an alienist at the end. This last story did not quite sit right.

The prose is hyperemotional, it reminded me of Cornell Woolrich in his pulp days. I took James Reasoner’s advice and spaced reading the stories about a week apart. The surprise was finding two stories that were pulp sword & sorcery.

Altus Press collected the stories together as a trade paperback with introduction by the late John Pelan.

One Comment
  • deuce says:

    Whoa! Great detective work, Morgan.

  • Please give us your valuable comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *