WATERFRONT LAW. First published as “The TNT Punch” in Action Stories, volume 10, number 5 January 1931. Featuring Steve Costigan. Howard got $75.00 for this story.

In a letter to Tevis Clyde Smith (letter #139, circa September 1930) Howard says:

I’ve been lazy; doing very little work. I haven’t even got anything out at present. Since seeing you I sold, “Waterfront Law” to Fiction House. Yeah, a Steve Costigan; a new and original plot: Steve engages in a bloody battle to get some money which a crooked woman gypps him out of. They offered me $70.00. I’ve got to figure some way of making these stories longer. They’ve been too short lately.

Howard also explains how the title was changed in another letter to Tevis (letter #163, May 9, 1931):

I got a laugh out of my story which appeared this month in Action Stories. They changed the name of the character — McClarney — to Steve Costigan, though the style of the tale was nothing at all like Steve. And they capped the story “by the author of ‘The TNT. Punch’.” I never wrote a story by that title in my life.

The first part refers to the story ‘The Sign of the Snake’ where they changed the name of the character.

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