Pulps Pricings Sales Census: Confessions of a Stool Pigeon (1931)

Confessions of a Stool Pigeon (1931)
Confessions of a Stool Pigeon (1931)

The CONFESSIONS OF A STOOL PIGEON (By One of Them) sold recently on eBay for $263.89

“The Confessions of a Stool Pigeon, by One of Them, 1931.

Pyramid Publishing of Cincinnati turned out this gem at the height of the dees-dem-dose era.

It’s actually a full-length gangster novel, printed anonymously in the oversized “bedsheet” pulp format.
Illustrated with lots of great period newspaper clippings and some pretty spicy drawings.

But the best part is a gangster slang glossary. That section will save you from calling some skirt a Maggie when she might only be a Jane, or wondering how someone known to be eating snowballs could have hopped a rattler…

Note: …oversized pulp.


Front cover: Light edge wear, tiny corner chip

The Confessions of a Stool Pigeon (1931 interior)
The Confessions of a Stool Pigeon (1931 interior)

bottom right, stress marks, very faint dust shadow along the top inch or so.


Back cover: About the same condition as the front cover, maybe slightly more edge wear.

Spine: Moderate wear, complete, unfaded.

Pages: Light tan, flexible, clean. The first few pages have chipped corners at the bottom (very small chips, nowhere near the text).
One folded signature, comprising pages 25-28, wasn’t inserted correctly during binding. As a result, the staples only grazed it, without actually securing it, and it’s loose.
But it’s there and it stays in place just fine.”

Bookery says: Bedsheet – “Rare” (“Seldom offered for sale…in most cases there may be fewer than a couple dozen existing copies” (less than 24 – DLS))
$90.00 – $225.00 – $450.00

But is it “truly” a “Pulp” ? Galactic Central says: “Although listed in the Adventure House Guide, this was copyrighted as a “pamphlet” and is not really a magazine.”
It’s not a “pamphlet” that you or I would be familiar with as it’s quite a large 10 1/2” X 12 1/2” (or so). It has a thicker than normal quality of paper for it’s slick, glossy cover and flat-edged pulp paper, one (true ?) story magazine.

INTRODUCTION By the author of “The Last Mile, “The Big House,” etc.

“CONFESSIONS OF A STOOL PIGEON” is the most amazing , authentic, staggering document I have ever read.

And no one on earth has ever read more genuine and synthetic “inside stuff,” “Lowdown,” and graveyard” on crime, corruption, rackets and police methods than I have. As the author of hundreds of underworld stories such as “The Last Mile,” “The Big House,” “Put on the Spot,” “Gangster Girl,” and “Glossary of Thieves’ Slang,” as well as being the editor of a newspaper feature section with a circulation of 10,000,000 weekly which goes in considerably for crime news, I have thousands of “true” and fiction stories submitted to me. Scores of ex-convicts , as soon as they are “sprung” beta to my threshold to pour out exposés, confessions, grapevine secrets.

I have become hard-boiled on such copy and had begun to wonder weather it is worth while to read any more of it at all. Then I started glancing lackadaisically at the typed sheets of the “The Confessions of a Stool Pigeon” ! I sat far into the night to finish it.

I do not know who wrote the stuff. It was sent to me by an agent as a possible newspaper serial. And I turned it down. I couldn’t publish it in the heterogeneous newspapers of a vast syndicate. It was too good. It was too true. It was too strong.

But I, myself – fed up on the yarns of crooks and cops, hustlers and grifters and gangsters, hop-heads and dope-peddlers, bootleggers and white-slavers and scarlet madams – I read with fascinated concentration exclusive, incisive, penetrating and devastating denouement of lust and greed, larceny and oppression, bribery and brutality in the gun-in-hand and hand in glove partnership of ruthlessly rapacious officers of the law and harpies who trade on them while they use them to trade alike on the innocent and the helpless guilty.

No more terrific indictment (and conviction) of the American modern civilization could be more formulated. No more photographic evidence of community shame could be presented than this shameless rectal.

No one but a rascally rat could have written it. This must not be from observation or investigation, but from life, first-hand. So its author was not spurred by any lofty urges for helping mankind. It is no remorseful gesture for the common good. It is the last desperate sell-out of a double-crossing parasite who trades with and against criminal coppers for a share of the shakedown. But, whoever he is, he has in a cold-blooded way done a big, important, if not nobly inspired work.

It is the custom, in writing forwards for such a book, to say they “Will open the eyes of America.” Well, my eyes were pretty wide open before I read this one.

Jack Lait and ''Gus'' (of ''Gus and Gussie'')
Jack Lait and ”Gus” (of ”Gus and Gussie”)

Next page:

If there is any question in the reader’s mind about the rackets described herein, the truth of each can be verified by a reference to any metropolitan newspaper file. Every racket exposed in the book has a parallel case in the newspapers. But until we were able to induce the author, himself a racketeer, to uncover the rottenness of this business, the inside dope on how it is done under police protection has never before been exposed.

There is food for thought for every public-spirited citizen in this expose. It should make each and every one of us wonder what the future holds in store for our country unless the racketeer is stopped in his tracks.

And two pages after:
In order that no innocent guys will be put on the spot for the dope herein, I’m tipping you guys that I’ve camouflaged the monickers (as written – DLS) and places mentioned. If you spot in this your own racket, that’s okey (as written – DLS) by me. If you think you’ve got a line on the author, that’s okey with me too. But before you bump anyone off for this job, just be sure you’re giving the right guy the works. Don’t forget, we all hate the bulls.
Very truly yours,

At the very end of the story it says, “Remember !!! THE NIGHT CLUB RACKET will be on the Newsstands SOON. Watch For It ! It’s Got Them All Beat !”

The above was taken from my own pretty beat, dry-papered copy, won back in 2010.

So is it a “Pulp” ? I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

It’s a wonder this hasn’t been reprinted by now.

ENJOY PULPS – David Lee Smith

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