Thursday, February 22, 2018

The Shadow: The Romanoff Jewels

In the third Shadow novel I’ve read (actually heard; thanks Audible!), THE ROMANOFF JEWELS begins in the apartment full of wealthy men. Author Maxwell Grant (Walter Gibson) tells the reader who they are and why they’re there. One of those men is Lamont Cranston, otherwise known as…The Shadow.

Another one of those gentlemen is Marcus Holtmann. Unpretentious, Holtmann has a secret buried deep in his brain, a secret other men desperately want. You see, a friend of Holtmann’s casually let slip the hiding place of the Romanoff jewels, the very jewels seized by the Bolsheviks in 1917 when they overthrew—and murdered—Czar Nicholas II and his family. Priceless in value, nefarious men want to steal the jewels and return the czars to power. To bring out his knowledge, Holtmann is kidnapped and tortured by the insidious Michael Senov for the information.

Naturally the Shadow deduces Holtmann’s whereabouts and does his best to save the man’s life. But he was a few minutes too late. Holtmann was poisoned! With his dying breaths, Holtmann relates to The Shadow all that he divulged to Senov. Armed with that knowledge, The Shadow races across the Atlantic to thwart the attempt.

I won’t give away the ending here, but I’ll just say that a piece of information The Shadow relates I didn’t see coming…but it makes all the sense in the world.

This being only my third Shadow novel, I don’t know how prevalent it was for the Knight of Darkness to travel outside the confines of New York or even America, but I appreciated how, to the European adversaries he encountered, The Shadow was a complete unknown. At least the gangsters in The Big Apple are smart enough about The Shadow to be scared. In addition, I liked how The Shadow got injured at one point, so badly that he needed to be nursed back to health, once again proving he is simply a man.

Which leads to a question I hope long-time fans of The Shadow can answer: is there ever a novel in which author Walter Gibson relates The Shadow’s training?

I’m not sure what criteria Audible used to choose which Shadow novels they produced, but I think him traveling abroad might be high on the list. Or the great ending. PARTNERS IN PERIL is a good one because of how it was used in the first Batman story. THE SHADOW UNMASKS was a natural choice that The Shadow’s origin was reveal. THE ROMANOFF JEWELS not only had foreign travel but the revelation of a key aspect of The Shadow’s legacy.

I am thoroughly enjoying these books. Next up: THE BLACK FALCON.

1 comment:

Charles Gramlich said...

I did audios for half a dozen of these a couple of years ago and enjoyed them