Bitter winter. Midnight. You're driving as fast as you can to an urgent appointment. On your right you see a wide frozen lake gleaming in the moonlight. A bit further on you see an amusement park that is closed for the season, everything shiny with ice. But as you come upon it you hear an impossible clamor--the thunderous sound of the ferris wheel starting up. Then comes the sound of a woman screaming. You stop the car to watch in disbelief as the ferris wheel car holding the woman begins its climb up the tracks, tracks covered in ice that will certainly hurl the car to the ground when it reaches the top.
Now is that a hook or is that a hook? We're trapped in an ice-snow-rain storm out here so I spent my free time checking out websites I'd hadn't read for a long time. One of them ran a long piece on the career of Hugh B. Cave, a man who made his mark in horror and fantasy but who also did some exotic crime work for the detective pulps. The piece made me grab a collection of his called Bottled in Blonde about (get this) a private eye who is always half-drunk while working on a case. The above opens one of nine adventures that appeared in Dime Detective in the Thirties.
Cave's work as a crime writer compels because of the unsettling horrific aspects of the stories, a Weird Tales star picking up some of the small time money the tec boys are chasing.
Cave had a long run in the slicks as well as the pulps and in the Fifties Cave had three NY Times bestsellers. He wrote and sold fiction well into his nineties.