Distant Voices

Distant Voices

“To The Manner Born” by Mary Braund
Published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Tales Of Terror by Galahad Books (1986) page 444

Murder By Death

You are cordially invited to dinner… and a MURDER

Dense fog, sudden storms and screams in the night… the perfect setting for a murder.  But when you add in a blind butler and five of the greatest detectives ever it’s hard to keep your diabolical plot on course.


“It just isn’t good enough. The millionth mystery I’ve read, and a damned silly, unlikely solution, just like all the other nine hundred and ninety-nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine. No. No. No! This just cannot go on.” – Lionel Twain (pages 5-6)

I read (and watch) a lot of mysteries and there have been plenty of times when I can relate to this. Either the mystery is solved by some hidden information produced right at the end or the solution is rushed and not very clever. I think that’s one of the reasons I like Neil Simon’s Murder By Death so much! It is one of my favorite movies but I also enjoy reading Henry Keating’s novelization. It’s a funny, fabulous spoof of the murder mystery genre and in particular five of the great detectives: Jessica Marbles (Miss Marple), Milo Perrier (Hercule Poirot), Sydney Wang (Charlie Chan), Dick & Dora Charleston (Nick & Nora Charles) and Sam Diamond (Sam Spade).

“The five greatest criminologists ever, assembled in one room. Someone is going to leave this house as Number One. And over somebody’s dead body, that’s going to be me.” – Miss Marbles (page 91)

murder by death

About The Book: The world’s greatest detectives have been invited to dinner. But when murder is on the menu, who will make it to dessert? The isolated mansion of eccentric millionaire Lionel Twain is the setting for the twisted puzzler. Twain informs his guests that one of them will be murdered at the stroke of midnight. The pay-off: $1 million to whoever lives through the night. Murder By Death neatly lampoons both the mystery genre and the characterizations of the instantly recognizable gumshoes. Match wits with the super sleuths, but remember, you can’t win if you end up dying from laughter!

This Edition: Paperback published by Warner books (1976)

You Might Also Like: Murder Racquet edited by Alfred Hitchcock

A Wild Ride Through The Night

October… the days are happily spent stocking up on your favorite candy and searching for the perfect costume while the nights tend to take on a more sinister atmosphere.  Ghosts and goblins lurk in the evening shadows and you’re fairly certain there’s something hiding under your bed. Nights like these, when the wind is howling outside your window and the house seems to be creaking a little more than usual, are the best nights to read a good book. Especially if that book is filled with weird creatures of its own!

If you’re looking for a good October read make sure to check out A Wild Ride Through The Night by Walter Moers!


From The Cover: In a world between legend and dream, in a time between childhood and adulthood, Walter Moers describes the exhilarating and comic adventures of 12-year-old Gustave, a boy who aspires one day to be a great artist.

But before he can achieve this, Gustave must first pit himself against mysterious giants and a Siamese Twins Tornado; he also finds himself encountering the Most Monstrous of All Monsters, rescuing a beautiful damsel from the clutches of a dragon, traversing a forest swarming with evil spirits, navigating a Galactic Gully and meeting a dream princess, a talking horse, and even his own self.

Having made a wager with death for nothing less than his life and soul, he must travel from the earth to the moon and back again in a single night.

Using twenty-one drawings from the work of Gustave Dore, the most successful illustrator of the nineteenth century, Walter Moers has created a wondrous and utterly delightful tale.

dore2The forest seemed to come alive. Branches lashed around, leaves went scudding through the air, treetops shook, bark crunched against bark. In the twinkling of an eye, Gustave found himself hemmed in by a formidable horde of forest demons of the most multifarious kinds. (page 65)

doreDeath turned his pale face in Gustave’s direction. Up here in the cold light of space he looked even more unreal than he had on earth. His tone was cold and businesslike. (page 166)

Other Books By Walter Moers: The 13 1/2 Lives Of Captain Bluebear, Rumo: And His Adventures, The Alchemaster’s Apprentice, The City Of Dreaming Books, The Labyrinth Of Dreaming Books

You Might Also Like: The Princess Bride by William Goldman

…And now you know for sure there is a little monster hiding under your bed!  The loud purring is a dead giveaway that the cat is back in its favorite hiding place.