Wednesday, February 13, 2019

MANHUNT - October 1961

She sprawled beside him in the cockpit, letting herself lurch against him with the movement of the boat. A challenge as primitive as the sea came from the girl. - From "Sea Widow" by William P. Brothers

MANHUNT October 1961

I have only two issues of MANHUNT in my possession. This issue from October 1961, and another from June 1958. I have no idea where I picked up the 1961 issue. All I can tell you is I've had it for many years and, until now, hadn't read a single story in it.

MANHUNT is one of those digests that I wish were easier to find. Any given used bookstore will have scads of ANALOG, or EQMM, but never old issues of MANHUNT. I'll keep looking, but I'm not expecting to have much luck finding any other issues unless I resort to going online.

I'm familiar with only 5 of the writers in this issue, and each one of them delivered the goods. Talmage Powell provides an epistolary story call "Dear Sir" in an exchange of letters between a jaded defense attorney and a young woman on death row. It shifts in mood nicely from a sense of despair to almost giddiness as our beautiful young defendant sets up another fall guy while she sits on death row.

Ed Lacy provides a novelette entitled "The Death of El Indio" in which a private detective is hired by a wealthy young widow living in Mexico City to prove that her husband was murdered by a famous bullfighter known as El Indio. I liked this story a lot and was hooked as we follow P.I. Sam Eggers from Mexico City to Acapulco and back getting the goods on his suspect while dodging attempts on his life. My only complaint is that the story wraps up in a collapsed summary that seemed like Lacy was running up hard against a word count. Still, a cool story.

My favorite story in the bunch was "Sea Widow" by William P. Brothers. This one had a nice Gil Brewer style to it, as we watch a middle-aged big shot executive bastard named George Matthews start up an affair with a common, somewhat dull girl from the docks named Lola Barnes. George is pushing 40, with an ostentatious yacht he likes to take out on weekends. Lola is a 21 year old scamp who easily gets her hooks into George. Soon she's blackmailing him for money, claiming she's pregnant. George isn't about to let his reputation fall to ruins on a common slut, and plots a murder. But nothing is ever as easy as planned. I love stories like this. I'm not at all familiar with William P. Brothers, but I see there is a Gold Medal novel called Portrait of Lisa by him.

"The Deadly Affair" by Charles Carpentier is a nasty little treat about what happens when a small-time lothario gets a bit too pushy with his girlfriend, who happens to value her marriage slightly more than her boyfriend.

Other writers here include Charles Boeckman, Robert Edmond Alter, Joe Gores, with an excellent and disturbing story called "Night Out" about a sweet girl with a nasty agenda, and Bernard Epps to name a few of the contributors.

I can't say if this is a typical issue for MANHUNT. I liked every story in it, which is rare for me. Usually there is a dud in any given bunch, but not with this collection. Too bad these old issues are not easier to find.


  1. If you want to find back issues of MANHUNT, attend the pulp conventions Windy City or Pulpfest. I've found many issues. In the meantime Stark House will be publishing a big collection of the best of MANHUNT in July.

    1. You're right! I need to make it to one or both of those conventions. That's great news about Stark House Press!