I grew up enjoying the old science fiction, fantasy, and thriller pulp magazines, but in my teens I didn’t pay a lot of attention to the authors unless they really caught my attention. I was familiar with the name – Hugh B. Cave – but I couldn’t tell you much about his writing. Long Live the Dead is a collection of Cave’s writing from the pages of the fantastic pulp Black Mask.
These stories reflect seventy years of Hugh B. Cave’s writing career. Think about that for a moment. Seven decades! That’s a long time to be writing a high level.
The stories here are all outstanding. They all have a noir-ish sense about them, bringing to mind authors better known in the genre – Chandler, Hammett, Cain, or Spillane. But Cave shows here that he rightfully belongs in the same pages or on the same shelves as these other mystery writers.
I’m not sure that I had a favorite among these gems. “Too Many Women” had me by the title alone, which seemed very ’40’s (meaning it was ahead of its time since the story was published in 1934). The story worked nicely and I knew I was going to enjoy this book since this was the opening piece.
“Lost – And Found”, “The Missing Mr. Lee”, “Stranger in Town” – each of these were stories that stuck out as being particularly engaging. I really enjoyed the format for “The Missing Mr. Lee.” The reader takes the point of view of a detective interviewing six different people about the missing Mr. Lee. The story unfolds as we get the different points of view and learn a little more with each witness.
In addition to the stories, I enjoyed Cave’s comments before each piece. These anecdotal bits are quite interesting and give us a nice insight into the author who clearly enjoyed his work.
If you enjoy reading mysteries, and especially if you enjoy the classic, noir style of mystery, then you really should read this collection – you will feel as though you’ve ‘discovered’ a new author (even though he had seventy years worth of material).
This collection contains the following:
Introduction: Hugh B. Cave on His Ninetieth Birthday – Keith Alan Deutsch
The Black Mask Interview
“Too Many Women”
“Long Live the Dead”
“Smoke Gets in Your Eyes”
“Lost — And Found”
“The Missing Mr. Lee”
“Stranger in Town”
Looking for a good book? Hugh B. Cave’s collection of mystery stories, Long Live the Dead, are fantastic stories pulled from the pages of a classic pulp magazine “Black Mask” and are sure to please fans of the genre.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
* * * * * *
Long Live the Dead: Smashing Detective Stories
author: Hugh B. Cave
publisher: Mysteriouspress.com/Open Road
paperback, 294 pages