Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Coffin, Coffee — What’s the Diff?

Back in March I posted (here) a Dime Detective magazine cover from 1943, promoting a story inside titled “You’re the Crime in My Coffee,” by D.L. Champion. More recently, I found the image below (from the March 1946 edition of Black Mask) in Pulp Covers, and at first glance thought its featured tale carried the same name. That was my mistake, but one that I’d argue was easy to make.

In fact, whoever wrote the original headline on Pulp Covers’ item about this issue front committed that same misreading!

(Above) Black Mask, March 1946; art by Rafael DeSoto.

The Thrilling Detective Web Site says that H.H. (Herbert Hunter) Stinson, the Illinois-born author of “You’re the Cream in My Coffin,” “was a Los Angeles police reporter and playwright, as well writing for the pulps. He was one of the original ‘Black Mask Boys’ (he’s actually one of the writers in the legendary 1936 photo), as well as one of the members of The Fictioneers.” Stinson wrote two main series of stories for the pulps: one for Black Mask, starring Ken O’Hara, “a hard-boiled reporter for the Los Angeles Tribune”; the other for Dime Detective, headlined by L.A. private eye Pete Rousseau. “You’re the Crime in My Coffin” isn’t listed as featuring either of those protagonists, so it may have been a standalone.

Mystery*File reports that Stinson was born on April 27, 1896, and died on October 9, 1969. He published at least one book, a 1925 Henry Holt & Company volume titled Fingerprints.

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