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!
No flash of gunpowder, no sound of doom — yet fatal wounds appear as if by magic! What sinister secret is the motivating force behind this grisly series of crimes? The Phantom Detective fights his way through mystery and terror to discover the secret of The Silent Death!
Street and Smith’s The Shadow magazine paved the way for what fans today refer to as Hero Pulps, magazines featuring heroic leads who were extraordinary in some form or fashion. Not one to let the opportunity to make a dime go by, Ned Pines, the man behind Thrilling Publications, sent his own crimefighting character into the mix in February 1933, capturing the second slot of such a magazine debuting just a month prior to Street and Smith’s other juggernaut, Doc Savage. Pines’ The Phantom Detective would take on the underworld and solve the unsolvable for 170 issues, ranking third in the hero pulps for most issues published, falling right behind Pulp’s two leading men, The Shadow and Doc Savage. Due to inconsistencies in its publishing schedule, however, The Phantom Detective does hold the title for longest running Pulp magazine, its last issue published in 1953.
Although the title of the magazine was indeed The Phantom Detective, the lead character was referred to only as ‘The Phantom’ in the actual stories. The identity of this masked master sleuth was wealthy millionaire Richard Curtis Van Loan. Having served in World War One as a pilot known for his dogfighting prowess, Van Loan left the idle rich gadabout he’d been in the skies of battle and returned home seeking a mission, wanting to give something back to the city and world he lived in.
‘The Silent Death’ was originally published in the December 1936 issue of The Phantom Detective Magazine and is read with pulse pounding intensity by award winning voice actor Milton Bagby.