Earl Norman

The Earl Norman books are becoming extremely rare, and publishers don’t seem to be interested in reprinting the series. The only way some of us may ever have all the stories is for collectors to scan and type the stories into PDF to swap with other collectors. I have already completed PDFs of HANG ME IN HONG KONG and KILL ME IN ROPPONGI. I am working on KILL ME IN YOKOSUKA. If other collectors would do the same for some of the other books, we could eventually have PDFs of all ten books. Why not help? I can be contacted at fadingshadows40@gmail.com

Saturday, February 28, 2015


Jim Brodie #1: “Japantown” by Barry L. Lancet. Brodie lives in San Francisco where he owns an art shop, specializing in Japanese art and Asian artifacts. He is also half owner of Brodie Security in Tokyo, Japan, his co-owner was his father’s partner in the business, and Jim inherited his share when his father died. Jim Brodie is also a single father raising a six-year-old girl alone since his wife died in a fire.
Then one night his friend, Lieutenant Frank Renna of the San Francisco Police Department called for his assistance at a crime scene in Japantown. At the scene of the brutal murder of a Japanese family and their bodyguard, a scrap of paper with a unique character printed on it is found near the bodies. Lt. Renna hopes Brodie can identify the Japanese character and give them a clue to the killers. The same symbol had been at the scene of Brodie’s wife’s death, and this may prove that she was also murdered. Though he doesn’t know the meaning of the characters, he promises to use his detective agency in Japan to research it.
The next day he is approached by a billionaire Japanese businessman who wants to hire Brodie to investigate the killing also. He explains that the woman murdered in Japantown was his daughter. But Brodie learns the man has other reasons, as well. And before the case concludes, Brodie, his company investigators in Japan, and the San Francisco police will be up against professional killers: The Soga; a private army of assassins for hire of Japanese origin based somewhere overseas.
This was a fun and exciting read, with the action set in both America and Japan. There were a lot of similarities between Jack Seward’s Curt Stone, and Earl Norman’s Burns Bannion, but better written (maybe not the same kind of fun as Burns Bannion, though, but much better written). The Soga group reminded me of CYPHER, the organization of ex-soldiers who were also an army of hired assassins The Shadow put out of business in that series. The difference being, CYPHER was an organization made up of trained soldiers, Soga is made up of martial arts experts from all walks of life. But the ideals are the same. This thrill-a-minute action will keep the reader turning the pages.

Friday, February 6, 2015

The Inn of The Sixth Happiness

“The Inn of The Sixth Happiness” (“The Small Woman”) by Alan Burgess. Gladys Aylward, named by the Chinese, Ai-weh-deh (the Virtuous Woman), was a mere parlor-maid in London, but she had a burning desire to go to China as a missionary to preach the Word of God. She did not have the education to achieve her dream, so saved her small wages until she had enough train-fare to cross over Siberia and enter China, eventually arriving in Shansi to help the missionary there.  With Jeannie Lawson, they open The Inn of Eight Happinesses (The Inn of The Sixth Happiness must be the movie title only). Upon Jeannie’s death, Gladys continues her work, and from being a hated white devil, she wins over the respect of the locals, until she becomes beloved for her tireless efforts to help them.
This is a true story about The Small Woman who accomplished many miracles while dedicating her life to the people in China, eventually leading 100 children over the mountains to safety from the invading Japanese Army in early 1940, during their push into China. Almost fatally wounded, she is returned to England for medical treatment, and then was refused back into China. She loved China, and became fluent in the mountain dialect where she lived and taught, and had actually become a Chinese citizen. Basically, she gave up her life in England to live in her adopted country, and fell in love with a Chinese Army colonel, but never married. Unable to return to China, she taught and preached in England until finally settling in Taiwan, where she started the Gladys Aylward Orphanage. She remained there until her death, never returning to China.
This was a very interesting book, filled with action, adventure, and danger. It records the terror of the Japanese invasion in China during the late 1930s and early ‘40s. Highly recommended for history lovers, and anyone looking for an exciting read about true-life adventure and danger.