Like the consuming flames of a prairie fire the dread news spread: “The Spider has gone mad! He will massacre us all!” But Richard Wentworth, never more sane, was even then gambling life itself in one desperate effort to save the city which cursed his name—from the awful ravages of man-spread plague!
“Wings of the Black Death” is the first and one of the best of Norvell Page’s Spider novels, a stark contrast to Scott’s Spider first two entries. It was first published in December 1933.
And what’s not to like? From the first sentence, we can tell that we have something special. NY City is beset with a fast-acting bubonic plague spread by the wings of pigeons, engineered by a bad guy called Black Death. What a pulp plot!
With the death toll and corpse fires mounting, with the city under a threat of $1B blackmail, with a police order to shoot on sight the Spider, with Wentworth fleeing being accused of being the Spider, with both the Spider and Nita captured, can the Spider prevail? Well, you know the answer, but the fun is how Page brings us to the conclusion.
The story is a true page turner with each new pages revealing something novel and interesting. Page is the master of pulp thrills; “Wings of the Black Death” proves it! If you have never read a Spider novel, this is a great one to read, the true beginning of the Spider.
While it is true that R.T.M. Scott wrote the first two Spider novels, the Spider was limited to basically being Wentworth limited to working where no one can see him. He has his back-up crew in place, the Wentworth personality, and the Spider brand, but the persona and make-up of the Spider is non-existent. It is Page who brings this to us.