FFB: West of Guam: The Complete Cases of Jo Gar

another in my series of forgotten or seldom read books

Image courtesy of Altus Press

West of Guam: The Complete Cases of Jo Gar by Raoul Whitfield – Altus Press, May 11, 2013

(edited by the Black Mask Library series general editor Keith Alan Deutsch)

I really, really love these stories.

“In the February 1930 issue of Black Mask Magazine a new character was introduced to the American detective story. Jo Gar is both a classic “thinking” sleuth and a tough man of action who inhabits the exotic noir world of the Philippines between the two World Wars. Jo Gar faces a rogue’s gallery of colorful villains from mixed-race Chinese to high society American exiles.

In these Jo Gar stories, Whitfield creates a vivid world where typhoons threaten the harbor, criminals escape from the local prison, and the waterfront is home to cutthroats from all countries. Manila’s great international seaport is home to luxury liner travelers of all classes from all around Asia, and the world.

This new, expanded edition from Altus Press of the long out of print, very collectable 2002 anthology, contains every word written about Jo Gar, and presents every story, novella, and novel. It includes two legendary Nagasaki novelettes not seen since 1930 as well as the only Jo Gar novel, The Rainbow Murders, complete and unabridged!” – from the introduction

This volume includes two important, critical, biographical essays about Whitfield and Jo Gar by Black Mask scholar E.R. Hagemann, and a portrait of Professor Hagemann by his colleague, Dr. R.H. Miller. The new book is richly illustrated with line drawings by one of the greatest dry brush illustrator of the pulp age, Arthur Rodman Bowker.

West of Guam: The Complete Cases of Jo Gar by Raoul Whitfield contains the following stories:

  • “West of Guam”
  • “Death in the Pasig”
  • “Red Hemp”
  • “Signals of Storm”
  • “Enough Rope”
  • “Nagasaki Bound”
  • “Nagasaki Knives”
  • “The Caleso Murders”
  • “Silence House”
  • “Diamonds of Dread”
  • “The Man in White”
  • “The Blind Chinese”
  • “Red Dawn”
  • “Blue Glass”
  • “Diamonds of Death”
  • “Shooting Gallery”
  • “The Javanese Mask”
  • “China Man”
  • “The Siamese Cat”
  • “The Black Sampan”
  • “Climbing Death”
  • “The Magician Murder”
  • “The Man From Shanghai”
  • “The Amber Fan”
  • “The Mystery of the Fan-Backed Chair”
  • “The Great Black”

This one is Very Highly Recommended!

About Richard Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Books & Reading, Friday Forgotten Books. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to FFB: West of Guam: The Complete Cases of Jo Gar

  1. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I agree with you – obviously – about this series. And thanks for reminding me. I bought the ebook a few months ago, but with all the things I have on the Kindle it got pushed further and further down the list until I forgot it was on there. I will stick it on the top 3 that appear on the screen when I open the Kindle so I don’t forget it again.

    • These are wonderful stories. I was sad when I finished it, though I stretched it out as long as I could. In Kindle, if you mark it as a favorite, then you can click there and easily find it, no matter where it’s gotten placed.

  2. I have a copy of WEST OF GUAM somewhere. I need to find it and read it after enjoying your enthusiastic review. I’m a big fan of Raoul Whitfield’s work.

  3. Matt Paust says:

    Unknown to me, but I’m on my way to Amazon to download the collection!

  4. Todd Mason says:

    You’ve convinced me, Rick. I’ve read maybe one Jo Gar story in an anthology so far, and I remember it being pretty good indeed…

  5. tracybham says:

    You make these sound very appealing, Rick. I would like to try some of Whitfield’s stories.

  6. Tony says:

    I agree. I think his prose is just as tight as Hammett’s.

  7. Never heard of these, but I’m intrigued, Rick. Also: I absolutely LOVE that cover!!!

  8. Lo and behold, the book is available on Kindle Unlimited (read for free) so this book alone is worth the monthly fee. Just downloaded it.

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