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“Soft Thunder” by Frederick C Painton

Link - Posted by David on August 31, 2012 @ 8:00 am in

The Strange Enemy of our new book Captain Philip Strange: Strange Enemies, Fraulein Doktor, pops up in the oddest places. Here she is causing trouble in Frederick C Painton’s “Soft Thunder” a year and a half before her first appearance in Donald Keyhoe’s Philip Strange stories.

We’ve posted a number of Frederick C. Painton’s stories in this space already including a few of his Dirty Dozen-esque Squadron of the Dead stories. He’s a great writer with a background in newspapers as this short autobiography from the April 1942 issue of Blue Book Magazine attests:


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Unfortunately he died of a heart attack on a Guam airfield while covering the Pacific war.

He was just a kid who played Tennis to those two hard-boiled soldiers—but there was stuff in his make-up that kept him battling in the flaming skies. It was a grim game they played—they stuck to the rules and played like sports, but they knew that the loser would find flying death. And then into their game kited a kid who seemed soft—but there is lightning with even soft thunder.

The Strange Story of Fraulein Doktor

Link - Posted by David on August 24, 2012 @ 8:00 am in

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The latest volume of our Captain Philip Strange series collects the eight stories featuring Philip Strange’s strangest enemy—Fraulein Doktor. The good Doktor is Germany’s loveliest spy and an instructor of spies in Antwerp. But they had a history together—a history from before the war. For before she had become Fraulein Doktor, she was Karol von Marlow—a slender, dark-eyed girl on a small Mecklenberg estate on a fragrant June night where a young Philip Strange had been given refuge…

    Strange did not hear the rest. He was back in the year before the war—a frightened youngster, pursued from Berlin by a money-grubbing uncle. A scene in Mecklenburg, a hideout from the police inspired by the uncle’s posted reward. An injury to his ankle, and a German who had taken him in at his small estate. A kindly man, Herr von Marlow, and his lovely French wife. And there had been a daughter, a slender, dark-eyed girl, his one bright memory of those unhappy days.

    There had been a bond between them. She, too, spoke several languages, but it had been more than that, this bond. They had written frequently—and then the war had come. He had not forgotten. In his desk at his Chaumont retreat was a small picture of a dark-eyed girl, smiling. On the back, words had been written by a feminine hand:

    “To Philip, in memory of happy days—Karol von Marlow.”

    Fate had played them a scurvy trick. By a hideous mistake, the parents of Karol von Marlow had been shot as spies by the French. Fired by desire for vengeance, she had offered herself as an agent. The flame of revenge had died, he knew, but not until she had become the famous Fraulein Doktor, noted alike for her daring and her skill as a teacher of spies.

    That same mocking Fate had made him an enemy, cursed by the Boche as the “Brain-Devil of G-2,” with a price of twenty-five thousand gold marks upon his head.

Somehow the “Brain-Devil of G-2″ and Fraulein Doktor manage to help one another avoid death or capture and still fulfill their respective missions while keeping just this side of treason. In one of the stories, Strange is Court Martialed for his perceived assistance of the enemy! They both still hold their love for one another in their hearts, even though this may be in conflict with their loyalty to their countries.

    A bloody war lay between them—but some day, when it was over, they would meet again…