You've heard of Paul Cain. He's known for the ultra-tough novel Fast One and 14 detective pulp stories (most for Black Mask). He also worked in Hollywood, turning out screen stories and/or screenplays for the films pictured below, under the name Peter Ruric. Curiously, neither of those names was his own. His real name, it's believed, was George Sims.
As you may know, several of his Black Mask stories are still unreprinted, and I've offered to email scans of two of them, "Dutch Treat" and "Chinaman's Chance," plus "555" from Detective Fiction Weekly, to all comers. (That offer still stands. If you don't have yours already, email me here: email@example.com.)
But Cain/Ruric/Sims also wrote one later short story, as Peter Ruric, for Gourmet magazine. The 5,900 word tale, "The Tasting Machine," appeared in two parts in the November and December 1949 issues. I'd been on the lookout for that sucker for a long time, but struck out until just a couple of months ago, when Almanack reader Jeremy Burwell kindly sent me a copy.
"The Tasting Machine" is a strange story. Sort of a fantasy, I guess, and a far cry from his hardboiled stuff. But it's interesting reading, and provides more insight into the mind of the guy who gave us Fast One and those other great hardboiled tales.
You can read it right here this Friday, as Friday's Forgotten Story. Come on back, ya'll.