Monday 27 August 2012

Terrible Lady - Short story by Theodore Roscoe

This short story by Theodore Roscoe originally appeared in the American Weekly, in 1942. At the time the pulps were dying, Roscoe was looking for other markets, and he was doing a series of articles on real crimes for the American Weekly. Looks like he also managed to sell them this story.

This story of Haiti and voodoo could have been a Thibaud Corday story - it has a similar structure. There's some wartime flavor to this, too.

Download the story here.


  1. This is a very interesting question that you present. Can we really say that the pulps were dying in 1942? True ARGOSY ceased as a pulp around this period and became a sort of slick mens magazine. Many pulps decreased their page count and ceased publication because of the war time paper restrictions.

    But were they dying in 1942? I would put the date into the postwar period. After WW II I think it became obvious that the readership wasn't there in the high numbers anymore. Certainly by the early 1950's the pulps started to die off and by the end of 1955, just about all were dead except for a few like RANCH ROMANCES, TEXAS RANGERS, AND SCIENCE FICTION QUARTERLY.

    By then the digest era was in full bloom. RIP the pulps.

    1. Walker, you're right, but just by a whisker this time (I think). I just posted an update in which I estimate the decline of the pulps began in 1943.

      Roscoe must have had a crystal ball, or he was looking for a change. Either way, his timing was good.

  2. Walker is correct. The detective and science fiction pulps especially continued to fill the stands. As did the westerns and single character (hero) pulps. Adventure and Argosy were certainly slowing down with the war years, as paper shortage hit pretty hard. Plus, a lot of those involved in the pulps (writers, etc.) went off to war. After 1945 the pulps began to fade pretty fast, until the mid 1950s, and by then most of the stuff being published in pulps were reprints. Paperbacks and the digest magazines took over by the 1950s.