Mnemo, the Mind Wizard | Simon Savant, Doctor of Criminology

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Mnemo, the Mind Wizard

A Model Death (1942). The owner of a set of toy trains in murdered, and magician detective Mnemo figures out who killed him. This is a fair-play detective story with some decent ideas. It recalls both the prose detective stories of the era, and movie whodunits.

Mnemo, the Mind Wizard was a one-shot feature in Super-Magician. - only this one story was created. Mnemo is a stage magician, who performs amazing feats of memory and deduction. Here, he is called on to solve a whodunit mystery.

The name Mnemo is probably pronounced "Nemo", the Latin word for "nobody". This recalls Jules Verne's Captain Nemo, and Winsor McCay's classic comic strip, Little Nemo in Slumberland (1905-1914, 1924-1926). The name Mnemo also suggests "mnemonic", the term for all things connected to memory - his specialty as a magician.

The MacGuffin in this tale is a radio-controlled toy train. Everything radio was high tech during this era. Remote control devices also pop up in other comic book stories, such as the Rick Masters tale, "The New Pilot" (Bang-Up Comics #2, March 1942).

Simon Savant, Doctor of Criminology

The Whirling Death (1942). A man is found murdered in this impossible crime detective story.

Super-Magician featured a very short-lived series featuring "Simon Savant, Doctor of Criminology". This series was briefly a back-up feature in the comic book. Simon Savant is a dry-looking man in his thirties. He seems to be part of an exchange program, in which he is sent out to various remote communities, that never had the services of a police lab before. Sort of like a visiting bookmobile sent out by a Public Library, with a mission to bring knowledge to remote areas of the United States.

The story opens with a strangled man found on a tennis court, and no footprints leading to the body but his own. Just like the opening of John Dickson Carr's prose mystery novel, The Problem of the Wire Cage (1939). My first thought: "oh, look, some joker has made a ripped-off version of a famous detective novel." Then... the story comes up with a completely different solution than Carr's novel!

There is a list of impossible crime stories in comic books on this web site.