I stumbled upon this book while keeping an eye out for Bart House mysteries. I’ve enjoyed my Bart House copy of The Devil Drives so much that I figured I’d snatch up a few books by the publisher to see how they stacked up. As a physical specimen, John Smith Hears Death Walking is a vintage paperback lovers dream – nice artwork, top notch war-time paper stock, and a cover that feels like a well worn baseball mitt.
My curiosity was piqued when I noticed that this wasn’t actually a novel, but a collection of short stories. Wyatt Blassingame was a prolific writer of pulp stories and children’s novels, with a career spanning the 1940s-70s. My Bart House edition (which is the only edition) states that a series of John Smith stories were published in the pulp magazine Detective Tales, but oddly doesn’t list individual copyright references for any of the stories (unusual for a collection).Thanks to this helpful source, I was able to track down the original dates of publication for each story, which I’ve noted in the entries below.