"The Python" sounds like a corny masked menace, but it is anything but. First off, the Shadow is in MORE troiuble than I've ever seen him from the get-go. A chance automobile accident delivers the Shadow, as Cranston, in the hands of thugs---and these thugs, smarter than the usual, look in his briefcase, see his cloak and slouch hat, put two and two together, and realize this well-dressed gentlemen is the hated Shadow. The actual mastermind, called the Python (but no corny costume, that's just his nickname, like Scarface or Babyface or Pretty Boy Floyd) has the Shadow tied up and helpless at the very begining of the novel. Later he buries the Shadow in a holding cell underneath a construction project in the river, and one of his thugs increases the air pressure until it's almost unbearable, to make the Shadow talk and reveal who his agents are. I've NEVER seen the Shadow in such a hopeless situation, and the only reason the Python is keeping him alive is because he's afraid the Shadow's agents will still stop his schemes. The Shadow prevails eventually, but he's never had so tough a fight as this before. Strongly recommended.