Thursday, November 12, 2015

Beautiful Night for Murder!

It's been quite a while since I've posted a Dick Ayers story, so todays tale is a very welcome addition to the THOIA Archive! And since everyone seemed to relish in the murderously mean-spirited nature of our last post, we have another one to gently sweep you off your frankenfeet and lull you into a deadly dreamland of doom! From the March 1954 issue of Strange Suspense Stories #17.


J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

How I love page 3, panel 3...

Mestiere said...

For some reason while I was reading I was thinking like it was a crime story rather than a horror story. I thought...

• It will turn out the killer had been apprehended before the wife's murder.


• The cop on page two would say "I know she wasn't killed by the Triangle Murderer because that's who I am".


• The wife had ordered a hit on her husband before her murder.


• That was the day Daylights saving time started and Ferdy and his wife had both forgotten to reset their watches so when Ferdy advanced the clock he was actually setting it on the correct hour.

But I guess it ended the only way it could end.

Brian Barnes said...

So great art here. These "mousey husbands" and "shrew wives" works best at the hands of talented artists, and Ayers is no exception here. The husband is drawn pathetic and mousey, and the wife is nearly a 50s mobster in a wig! The off-panel kill with the clock is a great panel.

The killer is a lot of fun.

I agree with Mestiere, it very much reads like a crime story. The "pin the murder on a serial killer" almost always ends with the real serial killer appearing. This is something straight out of the more horror-centric crime comics.

Mr. Cavin said...

I thought perhaps the wife might turn out to have been the triangle murderer him- or herself--"wow, here's some clothesline right here in my own house; here's a pen that draws triangles right here in the missus' bureau!"--and then Ferdy would have to take the fall for all of it. Although, on second thought, it is rather hard to believe that he'd have been able to convince actual forensic detectives with his knockoff triangle. Getting that properly on-model would be nearly impossible without the proper tools, or even a real reference, since I assume the figure's exact consistency is what led the cops to assume it had been stamped or stenciled all along. Imagine a n identity theft story in which Ferdy kited a bunch of checks based on a signature he saw two days before.

I feel like it is a tradition in stories like this that the very act of impersonating the real killer's routine is what attracts the killer's angry attention; but this one lets the whole situation rest on a coincidence. Meanwhile, I love how the cover presents the same story, but with instant gratification instead of a wife.

Grant said...

I couldn't help thinking of the "killer had already been apprehended" idea, but in my case it was due to a favorite BARNEY MILLER episode. A character (a recurring one whom you're meant to like not dislike) sets fire to his store for the insurance during a wave of arson, and strolls over to the police station just for a visit as his alibi, not knowing that the arsonist is sitting there in custody while he's doing that!

And of course EACH of them planning the other's murder would have been a good twist, as Mestiere says.

I can't help imagine this story as a TV episode, and wondering which character actors would be right for it. I think of Burgess Meredith and Jacqueline De Witt because of that famous TWILIGHT ZONE "Time Enough At Last," but also Henry Jones and Kathleen Freeman because they played similar parts in an ALFRED HITCHCOCK HOUR episode. And even without knowing that particular story, who could play a scary female character better than Kathleen Freeman? (Although much more often in comedies than dramas.)

J_D_La_Rue_67 said...

The girl who played Aunt Esther in "Sanford and Son"?

Grant said...

That could work too. Maybe with Whitman Mayo (who played "Grady") as the husband!