H. Bedford Jones was a prolific pulp writer. He’s a good read. He writes breezily like a good pulp writer should. He isn’t out to challenge assumptions. Which means his stories now read like fantastic tales from a fabled foreign country. Pre-21st Century America is as exotic as Shangri-La.

House of Skulls (spoilers) is a story about a haunted house with Indian skulls embedded in it for decoration, but its not really haunted, a local Indian made good found out about the skulls and got mad and has been pretend haunting the place to drive out the owner in revenge for desecrating the skulls. So far, so Scooby-doo.

But the Indian guy loses it at one point and tries to kill the (new) owner. At the end, wrapping things up, the Sheriff and the new owner agree not to press charges for attempted murder because the new owner has agreed to inter the skulls and the Indian guy is a successful farmer and has put up a peace bond, so no harm, no foul. It is handled quickly, breezily, because letting an attempted murderer go needs no justification. It fits with the assumptions of the times. Of course that’s how a hero would handle things.

Written sometime in the 1920s, I think.

Continue reading at the original source →