1938-03 Devil On The Moon

Cover Date: March 1938
Volume 11 # 1
Copyright Date: February 18, 1938
Author: Lester Dent
Editor: John Nanovic
Story Length: 37,047 words
WHMC: The collection contains seven folders for this story, f. 469-475
Recurring Characters. The entire Iron Crew are all present in this story. Pat Savage also appears.

Devil on the Moon by Lester Dent
The Dead Dive Deep by Kenneth MacNichol
Skyline Murders by Wallace Brooker
Orchids of Death by Alan Hathway

Test Your Wits
Doc Savage Club
Science in its Stride
From Our Readers

This story seems to be a rehash of “The Sea Angel” which appeared in the November 1937 issue. People are being kidnapped and taken to a strange location. Doc and his men end up victims of the kidnappers and are imprisoned at this location at the stories climax. The mastermind of the gang is introduced at the start of the story and is portrayed very dishonestly as not being aware of what is happening. The narrative portrays his actions as genuine rather than as an act. It does a great job of throwing suspicion off the character, but it is very illogical.

COVER – I had to do a double-take. I read the title but when I looked at the cover, Lo Lar from “The Feathered Octopus” (September 1937) sprang to mind. To my eye, the woman in this cover meets my expectation of Lo Lar rather than Lin Pretti.

The Devil on the Moon Cover Mystery

The story begins at the Spanish Plantation outside Washington, D. C. in Virginia. This may be a tip to the French Lick Springs Hotel in French Lick, Indiana. This location was the source of the popular laxative “Pluto Water.” It is of interest due to the portrayal of the devil on the label. This may have provided some inspiration for the medallion mentioned in the story.

Pluto Water French Lick, IN

Crater’s disappearance created a national sensation and was in the news for years thereafter. Lester Dent gave a tip of the hat to Judge Crater in the March 1938 story, “The Devil on the Moon.” Crater was a New York State Supreme Court Justice who disappeared on August 6, 1930. He was a prominent figure whose disappearance was never solved.

“The next prisoner was a prominent judge from the City of New York, who had vanished unexpectedly, and for no reason that anyone had ever been able to discover. There had been many false rumors of this judge being discovered, but he had never been found, of course. The judge happened to be an expert on American law.”