Thursday, June 05, 2014

Zombies From the Pulps!: The Devil's Dowry - Ben Judson

As you'd probably expect, the Weird Menace pulps featured quite a few zombie stories, too, and the first one in this collection from a "shudder pulp" is Ben Judson's "The Devil's Dowry" from the February 1935 issue of TERROR TALES.

The narrator of this yarn is a reporter whose fiancĂ©e has fallen ill and died suddenly. But there's a sinister Jamaican witch doctor who claims that he can bring her back to life—for a price, of course—and our grief-stricken hero is desperate enough to take him up on it. However, such things hardly ever work out just the way those left behind hope they do...

But this story is from a Weird Menace pulp, remember, so when all is said and done you can expect a logical explanation for all the strange goings-on. Judson doesn't disappoint in that respect. Authors who strayed far from the formula probably didn't sell very often in the pulps, no matter what the genre. His prose is fuctional but nothing special, but like most pulpsters he had the knack of moving a story along at a breakneck pace. That makes "The Devil's Dowry" an entertaining tale.

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