Forged in war, The Phantom Detective wages a one-man battle on crime! Solving impossible mysteries and delivering his own justice, he is the underworld’s masked nightmare!
Unleashed by a sinister oriental menace, a mysterious death ray wreaks grim havoc and takes grisly toll! Follow the Phantom on a baffling trail of crime as he flirts with Death itself!
Even though he was indeed a one-man army against crime, The Phantom Detective did not live in the world alone, nor could he completely carry on his crusade by himself. The crimefighter’s identity was known to one man. A friend of his father’s and a man influential in Richard Curtis Van Loan’s raising, Frank Havens was not only the powerful publisher of The Clarion, the city’s newspaper. He was also the only person who knew the Phantom Detective’s identity and he had also suggested Van Loan take on a case to solve that had the police baffled. Havens’ suggestion not only led his young charge to solve the case, but also to become The Phantom Detective!
The connection with Havens would also provide The Phantom Detective with a love interest and, in some stories, somewhat of a partner. Muriel Havens, Frank’s daughter, proved to be a capable ally and much more than a damsel in distress. Another character that Havens provides the connection for is tough guy and sometimes hardboiled Clarion reporter Steve Huston, who proved himself a hero as well.
By 1939, comic books had begun influencing Pulp magazine heroes to a degree and in the case of The Phantom Detective, this meant he acquired a sidekick, a boy named Chip Dorlan. Chip would go on to grow into a young man and join Army Intelligence after The United States entered World War II. Another ally that appeared several times was Jerry Lannigan, once Van Loan’s personal mechanic and pilot.
‘Murder Empire’ was originally published in the December 1935 issue of The Phantom Detective Magazine and is read with pulse pounding intensity by award winning voice actor Milton Bagby.