Upon New York fell the haunting notes of the death-dirge—and those who heard it died in raving madness! For a powerful murder-musician had conquered Manhattan with his symphony of slaughter, and before this unprecedented menace the law was whipped! Only Richard Wentworth, in the Spider’s cloak of night, knew how to battle this new master of the Underworld and switch off the sinister sonata that had brought terror to a great city!
The Severed Hand brought its grisly warning to New York. Its citizens must pay the extortioner’s price or die, their living bodies slowly, agonizingly transformed into rigid mummies! The police were helpless, and only Richard Wentworth, in the Spider’s weird garb, could wage battle—against the master murder-chemist who killed to corral a fortune!
Overnight, a bizarre crime wave had gripped New York, turning America’s First Families into criminals who, for savage lawlessness, outdid the Underworld! Society’s Four Hundred had now become a ghastly, blood-thirsting set of thieves and murderers. Embezzlements and bank frauds had terrorized Manhattan and pauperized a helpless people. In this topsy-turvy world of terror, Richard Wentworth, as the Spider, set out to save a betrayed civilization—from a mystic Hindu crime-czar who had mastered the magic necessary to turn New York’s moneyed class into inhuman monsters!
Never again would the Spider wage battle against crime—this Richard Wentworth had sworn to himself as he found sanctuary in a quiet rural retreat to nurse back to health the woman he loved. Yet, into that peaceful spot swept a whirlwind of horrible butchery like none he had ever seen—New York’s sewers pouring out the Underworld’s rabid hordes to engulf the countryside in a tidal wave of racketeer ruin! Whole towns were given their choice of paying blood money to a legion of maddened looters or being wiped out, and it was then that Richard Wentworth knew the Spider must rise again—to rid America of a criminal menace that struck at the very core of its existence, and overthrow an evil empire that men and women and children might still walk free and unafraid!
Sinisterly beckoning, the long bony finger signaled Manhattan to its mass death—slaying hundreds of helpless victims who dared sink into a sleep from which there could be no awakening this side of hell! While the Underworld’s lawless hordes looted, only Richard Wentworth, as the Spider, dared fight, die and fight again for a fear-crazed people against a murder-Morpheus whose human quarry drowsed into death—and whose grim weapon was a Slaying Sandman sworn to turn New York into a Slumberland of Slaughter!
Over New York’s Finest—the police organization without equal in the world—fell the blight of lunacy, sweeping on like wildfire until it had turned Manhattan into a chill, whimpering madhouse and released the helpless city’s wealth to a wild carnival of crooks and vandals! What was that incredible, unseen force which, in a split-second, could transform sane men into drooling maniacs? No human being could stand against that Mask of Madness, and yet Richard Wentworth, in the Spider’s strange vestments, took up the fight—to strike blow for blow against the merciless emperor of idiocy who had captured a metropolis by addling its brains!
Stillness like that of the cold tombs had descended upon America’s greatest city, and in that cheerless, ringing void, no man dared raise his voice above a whisper. For the Silencer was at work, his giant ear strained to catch the innermost secrets of every citizen, turning upon them a blackmail scourge such as the world had never seen, as he drove those helpless multitudes to wholesale suicide! Never before had Richard Wentworth been called upon to battle a crime-emperor so powerful. As he donned the Spider’s eerie armor, to take up the Silencer’s trail of faceless corpses—it meant war to the death with a monster whose reign extended clear into the sky, itself, and whose victims died whispering, in hell!
Famine marched through America’s metropolis, and the starving multitudes who sat down to eat found only the choice of empty plates—or a murder-menu! Richard Wentworth, with the whimpering chorus of unfed babies ringing in his haunted ears, picked up once more the Spider’s eerie weapons of mercy—to fight a new and awful figure in the field of crime, a criminal red Spider who, with a thousand unknown assistants, was contaminating the city’s food supply!
Ruthless, invulnerable, that Scarred Hand reached out to destroy the entire law machine of New York—blasting into merciless oblivion those juries which dared convict even a single criminal. In that twilight of terror, when empty cells yawned for the felons who never arrived, and helpless Justice hid her bloodied head—no one but Richard Wentworth could combat this invisible Juggernaut which had paralyzed five mighty boroughs. Once more, in the Spider’s weird vestments, Wentworth sets out—this time to annihilate a brain so evil that it is encased in two heads!
The Fall 2016 issue of Famous Fantastic Mysteries is dribbling with the best Weird Menace stories from the Popular Publications vault. Featuring classic stories by Paul Ernst, Arthur Leo Zagat, Hugh B. Cave, and G.T. Fleming-Roberts, this issue is headlined by an all-new story by Kimberly B. Richardson.
Welcome to another volume of Terror Trios from Altus Press. Each volume in this series will present three novels from the great weird menace pulps from Popular Publications. This series will present for the first time in book form notable works by authors such as Hugh B. Cave, Wyatt Blassingame, Wayne Rogers and others.