31 July 2019
Today in Mystery History: July 31
This is the third installment in my occasional stroll through the calendar. Enjoy.
July 31, 1930. The Detective Story Magazine Hour began broadcasting on radio today. This is mainly significant because of the show's announcer, a sinister presence played by an actor whose identity was kept firmly hidden. He was known only as The Shadow and proved so popular that he spawned his own show, a magazine, and tons of novels written by Walter B. Gibson. Bwaa ha ha!
July 31, 1948. The issue of Saturday Evening Post with this date featured the first installment of The D.A. Takes A Chance, the next to last novel Erle Stanley Gardner wrote about district attorney Doug Selby. Alas, the prosecutor was never as popular as that other lawyer Gardner created, the defense attorney whose clients always turned out to be innocent.
July 31, 1951. On this date Mr. and Mrs. Rackell came to Nero Wolfe to seek the murderer of their nephew. "Home to Roost" is probably the high point of Rex Stout's literary attacks on American Communists. You can find it in his collection Triple Jeopardy.
July 31, 1986. Stanley Ellin died on this date. He was one of the greatest author's of mystery short stories ever. If you don't believe me, try "The Specialty of the House," "The Payoff," or "You Can't be a Little Girl All Your Life."
July 31, 2001. This date saw the publication of Nightmare in Shining Armor, part of Tamar Myers' series about a shop called the Den of Antiquity. I haven't read it, but I'm guessing it's a cozy.