"Speed Saunders: "The Mystery of San José Island"": In March, 1937, Speed Saunders' old friend Arthur Bell is murdered. Bell was the foreman of a sugar plantation on San Jose Island. Speed's boss, Mr. Marr, warns him not to go to San Jose, and fires him for doing so. Saunders rents a biplane, an
- No, thank you! We intend to charm the gals of the nation in person, not on the screen! Right, Shorty?
- 1 Synopsis for Speed Saunders: "The Mystery of San José Island"
- 2 Appearing in Speed Saunders: "The Mystery of San José Island"
- 3 Synopsis for Cosmo, the Phantom of Disguise: "The Rajah's Ruby"
- 4 Appearing in Cosmo, the Phantom of Disguise: "The Rajah's Ruby"
- 5 Synopsis for Buck Marshall: "Death Message"
- 6 Appearing in Buck Marshall: "Death Message"
- 7 Synopsis for Bruce Nelson: "The Claws of the Red Dragon (Part 4)"
- 8 Appearing in Bruce Nelson: "The Claws of the Red Dragon (Part 4)"
- 9 Synopsis for "The Bumps Mystery"
- 10 Appearing in "The Bumps Mystery"
- 11 Synopsis for Bart Regan, Spy: "The Balinoff Case (Part 4)"
- 12 Appearing in Bart Regan, Spy: "The Balinoff Case (Part 4)"
- 13 Synopsis for Mr. Chang: "The Bloody Will"
- 14 Appearing in Mr. Chang: "The Bloody Will"
- 15 Synopsis for Slam Bradley: "The Hollywood Murders"
- 16 Appearing in Slam Bradley: "The Hollywood Murders"
- 17 Notes
- 18 See Also
- 19 Links and References
Synopsis for Speed Saunders: "The Mystery of San José Island"
In March, 1937, Speed Saunders' old friend Arthur Bell is murdered. Bell was the foreman of a sugar plantation on San Jose Island. Speed's boss, Mr. Marr, warns him not to go to San Jose, and fires him for doing so. Saunders rents a biplane, and flies it to San Jose Island, which is just south of Cuba. There he finds local planter Nick Del Borno, and his associate Padre Pesodo, running the local sugar industry like a racket, and killing or kidnapping whoever was in their way. Speed Saunders confronted and defeated these two in their own hideout, and wrung confessions out of them at gunpoint.
Appearing in Speed Saunders: "The Mystery of San José Island"
- Nick Del Borno (Single appearance)
- Padre Pesodo (Single appearance)
- May Adams (Single appearance)
- Mr Marr (Single appearance)
- Arthur Bell (Appears only as a corpse)
- New York City
- San Jose Island, just south of Cuba
- Allied Sugar Plantation
- Del Borno Sugar Plantation
- Padre Pesodo's old Spanish Mission
Synopsis for Cosmo, the Phantom of Disguise: "The Rajah's Ruby"
Cosmo gets called to the captain's cabin during a trip to Bombay. Captain Nelson introduces Cosmo to a famous gem merchant, Paul Hartley, who has a favor to ask. Mr. Hartley was commissioned to deliver a ruby to the Rajah Daj, but he fears he is being followed by men who want to steal the gem for themselves. Cosmo offers to deliver the ruby himself, and let Hartley carry a fake in order to throw off his pursuers.
Soon after the ship has docked, Cosmo disguises himself and buys a ride with a caravan to the Rajah. When he arrives, the Rajah welcomes him, but he claims that Paul Hartley has never arrived. Cosmo heads back into the city to find him.
Hartley is still at the hotel, getting ready for his visit to Rajah Daj. He hails a carriage to take him to the temple, but something is wrong. The carriage takes a sharp turn into an alley, then the driver and another man gag Hartley and pull him into some old ruins. He comes face to face with an English gangster, who orders him to hand over the ruby. Not knowing that it's fake, the man smiles at his prize, then orders Hartley to be killed. But before the deed can be carried out, one of the men turns their gun on the gangster and his goon. It's Cosmo in disguise! The gangster is handed over to the authorities, and Cosmo takes Hartley back to the Rajah, who rewards Cosmo with an emerald ring.
Appearing in Cosmo, the Phantom of Disguise: "The Rajah's Ruby"
- Hutchinson (Single appearance)
- Captain Nelson (Single appearance)
- Paul Hartley (Single appearance)
- Rajah Daj (Single appearance)
- an expensive ruby
- Steamship "Empress of India"
Synopsis for Buck Marshall: "Death Message"
The sheriff introduces Buck to Vanter, a rancher whose partner, Hanser, was murdered. The two ranchers owned the Diamond V range. Their borders were right next to the Rolling N ranch which often led to clashes, due to Hanser's refusal to sell the land. Buck is shown into Hanser's office, where he was shot while reading the paper. The bullet traveled upward through the victim's shoulder blade, no one outside had heard anything. On the desk, Buck notices someone had made pencil marks in the margins of the newspaper. He takes it with him. Vanter said that they had only owned the ranch for a year. Before then, Hanser was a telegraph operator. Buck rides out to the Rolling N territory, spending the night at a hotel. Inside he sees Lefty Logan, an ex-con, whom he is told by the clerk has been working for the Rolling N and had been staying at a camp up in Gopher Valley for the past few months. Buck has his next lead.
In Gopher Valley, Buck finds a cabin where Lefty was staying and stakes it out. The first day, Lefty leaves in the morning to make his rounds, and no sign of him is seen until dark. Buck becomes suspicious, so on day two he follows him at a distance. The trail eventually leads out of the woods to an open field, so Buck hangs back and watches. Logan disappears into an arroyo. Buck is about to follow when a bullet whizzes past his head. He rolls behind a boulder and fires a return shot. Waiting a few moments to ensure that his attacker is dead, Buck continues to follow Logan's trail. A camp is set up in the gully, Logan and another man are loading bags of chopped steer meat onto saddles. The bags, Buck noticed, are marked with the Diamond V symbol. He gains the high ground from a ledge just above the men and holds them up.
The sheriff gets a surprise visit later that day as Buck brings the two men into his office. Logan belongs to a gang that supplies shifty meat packers that wish to remain off the record. The sheriff tells Buck that his boys just found Vanter's body an hour ago. With a bullet in his head. Buck deduces that Vanter was the one who had shot at him before. After some pushing, Logan confirms that Vantor had hired them to rustle the steer off of Diamond V's ranch. Vanter had made a deal with Rolling N, to try to force Hanser to sell the land. Buck took out the newspaper from before. He pointed at the marks and explained that Hanser's experience as a telegraph operator helped him leave a dying message. When decoded, it read "Vanter shot me."
Appearing in Buck Marshall: "Death Message"
- Lefty Logan (Single appearance)
- Vanter (Only appearance; dies)
- Ben (Single appearance)
Synopsis for Bruce Nelson: "The Claws of the Red Dragon (Part 4)"
Bruce Nelson watches as Erick Von Holtzendorff steps out of the car. He expects to see Sigrid step out next, but instead it's two Chinamen. That's when Bruce notices that von Holtzendorff is handcuffed, forced to move by the man holding his chain. Bruce decides to wait until night before he risks another look.
Back in New York, news of the kidnapping already makes the headlines. That night, Bruce steps out of his hiding place and sneaks into the cellar of the big house. Inside he nearly trips over the body of a Chinaman who had been sliced open. He finds another body near the steps, and wonders what has happened. When Bruce enters the main hall he is almost seen, but ducks into the library and behind a folding screen. From there, he spies on Joseph Stucchi and one of the Chinese kidnappers, as they open a hidden wall safe to check its contents. When they leave, Bruce opens the safe again and takes out a small package. Inside is a red jade carving, with an image of a seven clawed dragon in its center, set into a wooden frame. The dragon is missing two of its clawed feet. A noise sends Bruce hurrying back behind the screen just in time, as another Chinese holding a blade creeps into the room. He looks into the safe, but finds the item he seeks is missing. Bruce cautiously follows as the man leaves the room, watching in horror as the sentry guarding the front door is suddenly murdered.
Appearing in Bruce Nelson: "The Claws of the Red Dragon (Part 4)"
- Joseph Stucchi
- several Chinese knife-men
- Erick von Holtzendorff
- Long Island
- Lu Gong's compound
- Lu Gong's compound
Synopsis for "The Bumps Mystery"
Old man Bumps is found dead and the police have no leads. The hire the service of the great detective Sure-Fire McGee, who concludes that there was no foul play, Bumps simply died in his sleep.
Appearing in "The Bumps Mystery"
- Sure-Fire McGee (Single appearance)
- Mortimer Quackenbush Bumps (Appears only as a corpse)
- Joe (Single appearance)
- Fred (Single appearance)
- Percy the Snake (Single appearance)
- Patrolman O'Shea (Single appearance)
Synopsis for Bart Regan, Spy: "The Balinoff Case (Part 4)"
Held at gunpoint by Olga and the false priest, Bart and Sally have only minutes to come up with a plan. On the street outside the window, Bart notices a police office strolling by. He elbows a potted plant off the sill so that it crashes on the officer's head. The policeman races up the fire escape in a rage. At the window, he pulls out his gun and tells everyone to put up their hands. But Olga, with her quick thinking, sneakily pulls out the phone cord, then puts on her best act for the officer. Her voice trembles as she tells him that Bart Regan and his female accomplice had kidnapped her, until her brave friend came in to try and save her. The officer believes her tale and, despite Bart and Sally's objections, allows her and the phony priest to leave. Because the phone wasn't working, the policeman takes Bart and Sally back to the station himself, where he learns of the blunder he's made. But fortunately, there is some good news; Bart learns that the boys down at the lab have uncovered the statues's secret.
Appearing in Bart Regan, Spy: "The Balinoff Case (Part 4)"
- Olga Balinoff
- Patrick O'Toole (Single appearance)
Synopsis for Mr. Chang: "The Bloody Will"
An old eccentric multi-millionaire, Joshua McAllister, has died and his relatives gather for the reading of his will. The majority of the inheritance goes to young Virginia, to the chagrin of some, though most are happy with their own sums. Afterward the guests retire to their rooms. That night, Virginia is accosted by a cloaked figure holding a knife! She screams, the figure flees out the window before the others rush in to see what was wrong. Gunshots are heard in the hall! The attorney is found dead! Just as the guests are beginning to worry, the housekeeper Agatha answers a knock on the front door. It is Mr. Chang and his assistant, Wu, their car has broken down and it was raining outside, so Agatha welcomes them in. She recognizes Chang from the papers and asks for his help in finding the killer. As one of the guests prepares to speak about what he saw, the lights go out, and another gunshot sounds. When the room is again lit, The witness is dead. Mr. Chang sends the rest of the guests back to their rooms and thinks of a solution.
Chang has Wu deliver a note to each guest, instructing them to meet in Chang's chambers, at exactly nine o'clock, for the identity of the killer to be revealed. Shortly before nine, the hooded killer sneaks into Chang's room and fires a few bullets into a dummy made to sit in the chair. Mr. Chang appears behind the figure, and distracts them, while Wu shoots the figure down. The guests rush in just as Chang removes the hood. The killer is Agatha the housekeeper, who was angry that McAllister's will had left her with nothing to show for her years of service.
Appearing in Mr. Chang: "The Bloody Will"
- Inspector Daniels
- Agatha (Dies)
- Joshua McAllister (Dies)
Synopsis for Slam Bradley: "The Hollywood Murders"
At a circus, in front of a crowd, Slam Bradley captures a murderous trapeze artist, in a spectacular airborne fight, which generates great publicity, which in turn leads to an offer from a Hollywood studio. Terril Desmond hires Slam and Shorty to do stunt work at Stupendous Studios.
It's a scam, Desmond has murdered his business partner Bentley, and stuffed his body in a closet in his office, and now he seeks to also murder Slam and Shorty. After an encounter with a gunman, who escapes (and who turns out to be Desmond himself in disguise), and a series of fake accidents, and a frantic racing-car chase through Beverly Hills, Desmond turns out to be behind all the chicanery, and gets punched out by Slam, and arrested.
The new studio boss tries to hire Slam and Shorty for $100,000/year, but they decline and return to Cleveland.
Appearing in Slam Bradley: "The Hollywood Murders"
- Terril Desmond (Single appearance)
- Mr. Bentley (Appears only as a corpse)
- Garry, an actor
- Bentley's receptionist
- Published by Detective Comics, Inc..
- At this time, More Fun Comics and New Adventure Comics were still being published by "Nicholson Publishing Co., Inc."
- Cosmo, the Phantom of Disguise, smokes a pipe.
- After this issue Mr. Chang drops out, to return in Detective Comics #6.
- Mr. Chang's assistant, Wu, packs a concealed six-shooter.
- "The Bumps Mystery" by Russell Cole is told in rhyme, and signed as "Alger."
- Slam Bradley's home town is identified as Cleveland, in a telegram. In Slam Bradley's version of Cleveland, the local newspaper is the "News Press" and the telegram company is called "Postal Union".
- Speed Saunders gets head-konked unconscious, with a bottle.
- Arthur Bell's body is found on March 5th.
- Speed gets fired from his old job, with the Harbor Patrol in New York City.
- It's not made clear how, or whether, Saunders is able to arrest the villains, given his ex-cop status, and his foreigner status, in San Juan.
- Also appearing in this issue of Detective Comics was:
- "The Evil Oak" (text story) by Paul Dean