Shadow Beware was the third Shadow paperback published by Belmont Books. It was published on January 1, 1965. Dennis Lynds authored the book and used the Maxwell Grant pen-name on the cover.
Compared with The Shadow Strikes, this was a much better story. It's story-line was full of great twists, and it was written in a similar style to the pulp stories. When I got to the last 60 pages or so, I couldn't put it down until I finished it.
Let me give a spoiler alert before I get into a brief review of the story. I'm going to reveal information about the characters and the ending, so if you don't want to know them until after you read the book yourself, you may want to skip the next section!
The story begins in London - a bad part of London - and the murder of an American Peace Corps worker. George Paulson was a field supervisor with the Peace Corps stationed in New Guinea, so why was he murdered in an alley in the east end of London? And why would NY Police Commissioner Weston, Lamont Cranston and The Shadow be involved? The murdered Peace Corps worker is George Paulson. We soon learn that he was one of Commissioner Weston's homicide detectives, so Scotland Yard asks Weston to come and assist in the investigation. Weston invites his friend and amateur criminologist, Lamont Cranston, to assist as well.
When Paulson was murdered, he was carrying a briefcase that had been stolen from his body. He was found in an alley, smelling of booze, armed with a pistol in a waist holster, and had been shot once at point-blank range. Paulson's Peace Corps supervisors knew nothing of his trip to London, and the US Embassy gets involved in the investigation as well when Embassy worker Jeff Byrd meets with Weston, Cranston and the investigators from Scotland Yard.
The Shadow's investigation leads him to travel to New Guinea, Australia, and Paris (disguised as Kent Allard). And as Lamont Cranston/The Shadow he travels to Scotland where the mystery is solved and untangled.
We discover that George Paulson was actually working for the CIA undercover as a Peace Corps worker. He uncovered a hi-jacking ring that substituted real drugs for watered down or fake drugs. These were huge pallets of medicinal supplies used by the Peace Corps to help the people in New Guinea and various countries. The fake/watered down drugs had caused the death of many people. Paulson had found a clew on one of the last pallets and that is what lead him to London. He was murdered by US Embassy worker Jeff Byrd, who was also a CIA agent working undercover in the Embassy. Byrd murdered Paulson because he was in on the hi-jacking ring. The mastermind behind the hi-jacking ring was Jasper Lorring, a Scottish businessman who once had a business deal with Lamont Cranston when he met him in the Cobalt Club in the past.
The Shadow deals death to the gang - using his bare hands and borrowed weapons. In the end, The Shadow triumphs. The Shadow says, "Evil begets evil and dies of its own horror."
In this book we learn that Lamont Cranston has an apartment and business office in London located on the top floor of a private hotel named The Lancaster. It is in Kensington (west London). In this office, in a secret room, is The Shadow's London sanctum. It is described as "a room where a deep bluish light glowed from an unseen source..." (page 51). In this sanctum he communicates with Burbank via a communication device activated by his girasol ring. We also learn that when disguised as Kent Allard, he has an apartment in Paris on St. Germaine-Des-Pres. It's also revealed that Lamont Cranston always takes a daily swim and he also smokes cigarettes (which was quite fashionable for James Bond type spies in the 60s!).
Cobalt Club - mentioned as the place Lamont Cranston previously met the villain Jasper Lorring.
The Burgoyne Club - Lamont Cranston visits this club to take a steam bath and his daily swim.
The Lancaster - Cranston's apartment and business office in London.
Lamont Cranston is chauffeured by Stanley in a Rolls Royce with a special engine.
|1965 Rolls Royce|
Lamont Cranston drives an Austin-Healy.
Margo Lane. We learn that Margo has blue eyes. She does some investigative work and is kidnapped by Jasper Lorring and rescued by The Shadow.
Burbank. Burbank does his usual role of facilitating communication between The Shadow and his agents. He also spearheads investigative work in New York while The Shadow is in London.
Stanley. Stanley chauffers Lamont Cranston around London in his Rolls Royce. We learn he carries a .45 automatic. Interestingly, Stanley disguises himself as Lamont Cranston so The Shadow can continue his investigation outside of London!
Bombardier Bill Mace. Bombardier is Shadow agent #109 and this is the first time he's mentioned. He's a British army veteran and former English middle-weight boxing champion. As The Shadow's agent, he portrays himself as a shady, punch-drunk former boxer.
Marcel Guyot. Marcel is one of The Shadow's agents in Paris, this is his first appearance. He is a taxi driver and his cab is equipped with a secret radio for communicating with The Shadow.
This story reveals that The Shadow has a network of agents worldwide. Another interesting aspect of the story is his agents wear an opal ring that lights up and acts as a homing device to meet face to face with The Shadow.
We learn a few new things about The Shadow. We learn that he has the ability to see in darkness and through fog. Even while sleeping he can detect the slightest disturbance in the air or hint of danger. He can avoid detection from dogs. He has extensive martial arts training and can kill with his bare hands. He can use the power of his mind to open electronic locks, and to deaden the feelings of pain. He uses his famous line, "The weed of crime bears bitter fruit" (page 154). His voice and laugh are described as eerie, chilling and hard. One of the best descriptions of The Shadow is on page 88, "Two burning eyes turned toward him and the girasol ring glowed red in the dark with enough light to show a sharp, hawk nose beneath the slouch hat of The Shadow."
In this story The Shadow uses the disguises of Lamont Cranston, Kent Allard and Phineas Twambly. In his London sanctum, Cranston accesses a file on Kent Allard that tracks Allard's whereabouts!
Shadow Beware was an exciting adventure that I enjoyed reading. It introduces us to some new Shadow agents and reveals a few new things about The Shadow and his alter-ego, Lamont Cranston. I hope you've enjoyed this brief review of the book!