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Mysterious death, suicide, and madness took uncanny toll of New York's most prominent citizens. Only the Spider sensed the presence of the criminal genius whose tentacles were strangling the city - and the Spider was next on the crime monster's death list!

Here is the second and final Spider novel penned by the mysterious R.T.M. Scott. To this day, over 80 years later, the mystery of Scott's departure remains unsolved. R.T.M. Scott was a famous byline in the 1920s and '30s, the author of a series of hardcover novels featuring sophisticated detective Aurelius Smith and his Hindu aide, Langa Doonh. They were the template for Richard Wentworth and Ram Singh.

But there were two R.T.M. Scotts, father and son. And the son worked for Popular Publications under the name Maitland Scott! So, which Scott initiated the Spider series? One of the more intriguing theories posits that R.T.M. Scott Senior penned The Spider Strikes and, having kicked off the series in grand style, handed it off to his son, who was 24 at that time. Whatever the case was, neither man was likely up to the job of writing a monthly pulp novel. Enter Norvell Page.

The Wheel of Death is a crime story set in New York City and revolves around a strange after-hours nightclub catering to the elite. Donning the disguise of a hardened gangster, Dick Wentworth, alias the Spider, penetrates this place, and allies himself with Molly Dennis, a young woman whose father sits on Death Row, awaiting execution for a crime he may not have committed. What is the secret of Grogan's Restaurant? Can he unravel a web of blackmail without revealing that Richard Wentworth is secretly the Spider?

Nick Santa Maria reads this exciting suspense story of murder, mayhem, and mystery that perfectly evokes 1933 Manhattan. Originally published in The Spider magazine, November 1933.

©1933, 1961 Popular Publications (P)2015

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  • Richard S. Swol
  • 14-12-18

The Spider returns

The Spider does indeed return in this tale of murder, blackmail and revenge. But to be honest, The Spider is not all that interesting here and some distance from the more stylized character that made him popular. With the next volume we start on the characters best known author. I will see how much things change. This volume, I can only recommend to the completist affectionado. It was okay, but not much more in my opinion.