Deal Me In Story #2: Angelfish by Lester Dent
Sam Spade, Philip Marlowe, The Continental Op, these are the hardboiled detectives. Tough and no-nonsense, they fought crime in the pages of pulp magazines like Black Mask, Dime Detective and Detective Fiction Weekly. Some of their stories are collected in The Hardboiled Dicks, edited by Ron Goulart, where this week’s Deal Me In story comes from.
Card Drawn: Q♥
Anthology: The Hardboiled Dicks edited by Ron Goulart
Story: “Angelfish” by Lester Dent, 1936
When I was choosing and organizing my short stories for this year’s Deal Me In Challenge, I was excited there was a story by Lester Dent on my list. Lester Dent is the author of one of pulp fiction’s greatest heroes, Doc Savage, the Man of Bronze. In the 1990’s I had a great time collecting and reading the Doc Savage Bantam paperbacks, so I really looked forward to reading his hardboiled story, “Angelfish.”
The story features Oscar Sail, “a long brown man, dressed in black–black polo shirt, black trousers, and black tennis shoes.” This is the second of two stories Dent wrote about Sail, who lives on his boat, aptly named Sail. In this story he finds himself embroiled in a deception that soon turns deadly. Like most hardboiled fiction, “Angelfish” is gritty, violent, and action-packed, but it didn’t grab me liked I hoped it would. There were a few unexpected twists, however, and I liked Dent’s tough-guy writing style. So, while I think Dent’s Doc Savage stories are better, “Angelfish” was still a decent read.
“Angelfish” was originally published in Black Mask in December, 1936
My Rating: ⭑⭑⭑✩✩