cover image The Carnival of Death

The Carnival of Death

L. Ron Hubbard. Galaxy, $9.95 trade paper (136p) ISBN 978-1-59212-247-9

Fans of purple pulp prose will welcome this Hubbard novella, which first appeared in the November 1934 issue of Popular Detective magazine. The lurid opening sentence sets the tone: "Rising to a crescendo of stark horror, a scream of death hacked through the gaiety of the night." Bob Clark, carnival detective for Shreve's Mammoth Carnival but actually a covert operative for the U.S. Treasury Department, suspects someone is using the carnival as a cover for dope-trafficking. While Clark's cover is ostensibly solid, he has still been the subject of multiple attempts on his life. Against this background, the investigator must track four cannibals who escaped from their restraints and who are the logical people responsible for the decapitation murder of their barker. The climax even features a showdown in a house of mirrors. A short story, "The Death Flyer," about violence onboard a train, helps fill up this slim volume. (Mar.)