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ERB Summary Project



Lieutenant Cecil Giles-Burton

Horace Brown

Mary Graham

Joseph Campbell (alias, Smith, alias, Joe the Pooch)

Nikolai Zubanev (alias, Peterson)

the Great Man (Benito Mussolini)

Buiroo cannibals


Lord John Ramsgate

Lady Barbara Ramsgate


Duncan Trent

Tarzan and the Jungle Murders

Summarized by
David (Nkima) Adams


This story was written by ERB in January of 1939. It was originally entitled "Murders in the Jungle." It appeared complete in one issue of Thrilling Adventures, June 1940. It can be found as the third story in the trilogy published as Tarzan and the Castaways.

I. The Hyenaís Voice

As Tarzan walks along a forest trail, a note in Dango, the hyenaís, voice causes him to investigate. He finds a crashed Italian airplane surrounded by hyenas. Tarzan quickly disperses the beasts and finds the pilot dead in the cockpit, killed by a bullet through the throat.

Footprints around the plane reveal that passengers have left the scene. Further investigations show that the pilot was shot from above, so Tarzan concludes that he was shot by someone in another plane.

Colorized by Tangor, 2000

Tarzan smells a glove and gets another clue. Footprints tell of two men who left two days ago.

Tarzan follows the two men and finds a second plane wreck, this one shot down by a machine gun. A used parachute tell him that the pilot in plane #2 has survived. He is an Englishman, Lieutenant Cecil Giles-Burton. Tarzan decides to follow him.

II. The Thread of Fate

Horace Brown has invented a device designed to disrupt the ignition system of any internal combustion engine. Mary Graham tells the secret to Joseph Campbell, who along with Nikolai Zubanev, murders Brown and steals the plans. They sell the plans to the Great Man in Italy (obviously Benito Mussolini*) but are themselves robbed by Giles-Burton before the plans can be delivered. They follow him to Capetown by air.

(* Mussolini, "Il Duce" is also mentioned on page 203 of The Lad and the Lion.)

III. Broken Wings

The villains shoot down the Englishman, but he walks into lion country with the secret plans.

IV. Jungle Call

Burton gets through the country of the savage Buiroo cannibals, but Tarzan is wounded and captured. Tied up in the village, he pretends to pray and chant, but he is really calling the elephants to his rescue. Tantor is called by Tarzanís sixth sense and chanting cries. The elephants completely level the village and rescue Tarzan.

V. The Safari

Burton wanders in the jungle for weeks, starving, eating insects, until he finds the safari of Lord and Lady Ramsgate (brother and sister) former acquaintances. This safari has been linked with a Russian Romanoff safari by chance. Two derelicts, Smith and Peterson are also there.

Burton fights Duncan Trent over Lady Barbara Ramsgate. He also argues and fights with two Russians.

VI. The Coming of Tarzan

Tarzan comes into the safari camp early in the morning to warm himself by the fire. He tells them he can smell a dead man in the camp. Ramsgate thinks he is a crazy wild man.

Burton has been murdered. They decide that Tarzan is the guilty party. Trent tries to capture him with a pistol, but Tarzan escapes into the jungle.

Around midnight Smith says that the crazy giant came back into camp and has stabbed Peterson to death.

VII. Murder Will Out

At Bangali Tarzan tells Col. Gerald Giles-Burton of his sonís death and the suspicions about himself as the murderer. He learns about the secret papers.

Ramsgate and Romanoff arrive in Bangali and the home of Col. Burton with his sonís body. Tarzan investigates and finds that Smith and Peterson are really Campbell and Zubanev. He uses clues of finger bruises on the dead manís throat, a left-handed stab wound, and a limp in footprints for evidence of the real murderer.

Tarzan takes the plans from Campbell, alias Smith, alias Joe the Pooch. He tells everyone that he really knew everything by scent without the other clues, then returns to the jungle.