Dick Tracy Stories – 1948

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Shoulders Returns (December – February)

Mr. Clark of Glance Magazine is going over the photos of the Toy Parade when he notices that the top of the park monument is missing.  He phones Tracy, and when they go to investigate, they find an Indian man named Nehur Gandh with his skull crushed in, and a paper cup, which proved to have the fingerprints of Shoulders on it.  It turns out that Shoulders had jumped out of the plane before it crashed into the fuel tank, and is now married and has a step-daughter.  The top of the monument was made of orange marble from India and it contained thousands of dollars worth in jewels that once belonged to a maharajah.  Also at the crime scene was a sample dust broom from a brush salesman’s case.  While Tracy is hunting down the stolen sample case, Shoulders’ step-daughter Honey is accidentally locked in the case while playing with it.  Tracy receives a tip from the locksmith and goes to find Shoulders.  Shoulders arrives home to find the police there and sneaks off with his jewels, but not before he is shot in the shoulder.  He goes to his fence Beardsly seeking help.  Beardsly takes the long route to the doctor, waiting for Shoulders to pass out, but when Shoulders does, he accidentally shoots Beardsly, killing him.  He ditches the body and the car in a lake, and hides out at Miss Varnish’s antique shop, until the car is discovered by a kid named Spud.  When he realizes the heat is on again, Shoulders tries to get his gems from their hiding spot in a kettle hanging from the ceiling.  Miss Varnish kicks the ladder out from beneath him and leaves him hanging until the police arrive. When they do, he fumbles for his gun in the kettle, but Tracy kicks the ladder out from under him again Shoulders accidentally shoots himself in the head.

 Mrs. Volts (February – April)
Her racket was robbing shipments of electrical supplies and selling them to large companies underground for a cheap price. To increase her business, she had some of her men go around attaching .22 shells to the lights so that they would burst. Tracy suspects this so he arrests the city electrical superintendent (and Mrs. Volts’ thug) Danny Wilts. Tracy placed a .22 shell on the interrogation lamp, and when Danny cracks, Tracy knows the score. Also at that point, a man shows up at headquarters with a dog license. It belongs to Mrs. Volts’ dog Flapsie. Apparently the man was the driver of an electrical truck that was hijacked and he had snatched it off of the dog while he was prisoner. Tracy finds out where Mrs. Volts is, and arrives there just as Mrs. Volts has escaped with an electrical truck. She arrives at Sunny Dell Acres and tries to persuade B.O. to take it off her hands. He refuses and Flapsie runs off. Mrs. Volts and her partner get to their cabin, but he tries to run off, so she kills him and buries him under the cabin. At that point, she decides to go back for Flapsie, but the Plenty’s are fond of their new dog (which they’re calling Heyyou) and so she gets a butt full of buckshot. She goes to her nephew Brier for help, who refuses, so she decides to kill the Plenty’s herself. She wrecks the car into the home and it burns down. She goes back to Brier’s when the police arrive to interrogate him. She hides under the sink, and when Brier and his wife get back, they find that she had accidentally broken the gas pipe and asphyxiated.

Brier Volts (May – June)

After arriving home from his visit to police headquarters, Brier finds his aunt dead. He and his wife decide to bury Mrs. Volts in a sandtrap at a golf course where he is a groundskeeper. They find three thousand dollars in Mrs. Volts’ pocketbook and Brier starts to celebrate. He gets drunk, slaps his wife unconscious and throws his pipe into the garbage, starting a fire. Meanwhile, Diet Smith and B.O. Plenty decided to go golfing. B.O.’s new pet, Heyyou happens to try and dig up her owner buried in the sandtrap. Tracy is called and arrives to find Mrs. Volts’ body, and a broken pipe. Tracy takes the pipe back to headquarters and finds that it matches up to a piece that had fallen off Brier’s pipe during his previous interrogation. He puts one and one together and goes after Brier just in time to find the house afire. Brier in the meantime, had slipped into the back of a pie truck and has the owner of the vehicle back it up to an apartment building window where he slips out. He bumps into Acres O’Riley, a nine-foot cab driver, and demands her car keys. When she refuses, he stabs her in the back with one of his pipes. He steals the car and drives it to a salvage yard where he hides out. In the meantime, Acres has been put in the hospital under guard. She escapes and puts on a sheet to wear which she accidentally spills luminous paint on, resulting in a city-wide panic over a large ghost. The “ghost” is sighted by a police car entering the salvage yard where Brier was hiding, and when Tracy arrived, he found Brier’s head knocked through the roof of the cab. He survived and went to jail.

 Heels & Acres (June – September)
After capturing Brier Volts, Acres O’Riley goes back to the hospital where she’s visited by an old flame, Heels Beals. Heels books her into working as an attraction at a drive-in, only to cash in her checks and give her meager portions. Tracy tries to tell Acres that she’s being ripped off, but her paycheck stub dissolves in his hands, a chemical trick of Heels’. Tracy soon learns that Heels is a known confidence man, embezzler and forger and decides to arrest him. Acres bails him out and afterwards, Tracy is almost beheaded by a fan blade in a deathtrap set up by Heels. Soon Heels is put in jail though and Acres finally sees the light.

 Brilliant is Murdered (September – December)
Big Frost was a racketeer who wanted to be rid of the worry of the TeleGuard Camera invented by Brilliant. He passes himself off as a small town police chief and sneaks into a conference for police chiefs and is let in by Chief Brandon. He learns that Brilliant alone knows the secrets of it, so Frost kills him, unaware that the entire shooting was recorded by one of Brilliant’s TeleGuard TV Cameras. Frost gets away and soon he finds himself being hounded by his daughter Flossie, who insists that he give himself up. Frost gets tired of her nagging and decides to have his men bludgeon her and abandon her. For some time she lives with the Plenty’s and is stuck with amnesia. Finally, she remembers who she is when Sparkle finds Flossie’s law book outside and she sees her name. Frost would be captured when he unwittingly retrieves one of his old cars from a garage that Tracy has installed a camera in. The police soon find his location and he is arrested. Chief Brandon felt personally responsible for Brilliant’s death and decides to retire, passing the job to Pat Patton.
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