17 February 2012

Remembering the Woman Who Couldn't Die

Arthur Stringer's The Woman Who Couldn't Die might not be one for the ages, but it does linger. The novel has stayed with me these past couple of years, due largely to the mystery surrounding heroine Thera. A Viking Princess and true ice queen, it's never quite clear that she isn't dead. I don't see that anyone has really tried to tackle this question; but then The Woman Who Couldn't Die isn't exactly a well-known work. The 1929 Bobbs-Merrill first edition was printed only once. How the novel came to be resurrected in this October 1950 edition Famous Fantastic Mysteries I do not know.

I probably make too much of the fact that Stringer died in September 1950, but I'm hoping that he might have seen the magazine before the end came. Rafael de Soto's cover image may be garish, silly and nonsensical, but the interior illustrations by the great Virgil Finlay are worthy of applause.

(Cliquez pour agrandir.)

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  1. They don't write stories like this anymore! Love the cover artwork!

  2. I have that FFM issue! A long time ago I was collecting Stringer's books and I still have nearly all of them. Like Arthur B Reeve he was obsessed with the telegraph and radio and many of his crime plots involve those forms of communication used and abused for nefarious means. I'll have to dig up one of his early books for my next round of the Vintage Mystery Reading Challenge as a representive of the early 20th century.

  3. George, what I like most about the cover is the very bold declaration: MATCHLESS AMONG GREAT FANTASY CLASSICS. Can't say I agree, but I do like his writing.

    John, please tell me that one of the books you have is Without Warning. I've been hoping that someone, somewhere would write about that odd novel.

  4. As luck would have it - YES! I was going to choose THE DOOR OF DREAD first (w/ Sadie Wimpel, a crooked fortune teller, in the lead role), but then there was the other and now that I know what to expect how could I resist? And so it is added to the TBR pile. Look for my Stringer celebration in March.

  5. I'm looking forward to the celebration, John. Now, if only we could find a copy of the film.