When the Underworld united in one compact army of crime, the Spider—his prestige gone—faced the most vicious collection of criminals and degenerate killers ever assembled under one dark banner of bloody social war! How can Richard Wentworth, robbed of Kirkpatrick and Nita, renew the Spider-fear which alone can bring him victory from a menace that is making casualty columns of our daily papers and filling our institutions with driveling victims of the new madness?
Love the cover picture of the Spider fighting the giant serpent! “The Serpent of Destruction” is the seventh Spider novel and was originally published in April 1934.
The gangs of New York City are joining together to push the narcotics trade and appear to have connections elsewhere. So, Wentworth travels to Washington DC to discuss the situation with the narcotics division of the Department of Justice, where he has “special powers” with the department.
Despite the spelling of his name, it seems compelling that head of the division is named Jim Hendricks even though Jimi will not be born until 1942.
Through this interaction, the Spider learns that there is a burst of narcotics everywhere across the US from coast to coast and border to border. Even as the Spider is getting started on resolving this super-crime wave over a hundred narcotic agents have been murdered, cutting the US narcotics agents in half. The Bloody Serpent is the lead who organized all the gangs into “one vast lonesome army.”
After the usual frantic escapades, the Spider brings down the criminal empire that is driving the narcotics trade and murders. As with “The Citadel of Death,” the organization of merged gangs would necessarily have to be huge. At best, the Spider/Wentworth brings down its head and the NY chapter, but according to this tale, it is sufficient to destroy the national-wide group. Again, though, Norvell Page’s strong dialogue constantly presses the story forward so that it is enjoyable even if bits of logic are missing from it.
Note: The Spider’s venom is developed in Chapter 9 as an agent for torture and terrorizing of the underworld.
Also, this is the second novel in a row where a super-criminal amalgamates all the gangs of New York City, or the country, or even the world under his control. When the Spider reveals and destroys the chief villain, the organization, however large it is, implodes.
I must admit to being slightly disappointed that there was no giant snake in this story!