Thursday, March 3, 2016

The Day He Died: Review

The Day He Died by Lewis Padgett (pen name of Henry Kuttner and CL Moore; 1947) features the story of Caroline Hale, a mystery author, who finds herself terrorized by someone who can enter her apartment at will--avoiding all the traps she lays from strings across passageways to flour sprinkled on the floor. Her mysterious visitor inserts plagiarized excerpts into her manuscripts which cause her publishers to want nothing to do with her. Her nerves are on edge and she finds herself not only terrified, but losing her memory and her ability to think straight. The obvious culprit is her ex-husband, Ray Kerry. Kerry never wanted to give her up and he's determined to get her back. Caroline is convinced that Ray is behind the visits, that somehow, in his twisted logic, he thinks it will drive her back into his arms. But then Ray and two other men wind up dead. And yet still she feels like she's being stalked by an invisible "Incubus" (as she names it). Not to mention that she finds herself in the middle of a maze of spiritualism, narcotics, and missing money.

This is a suspense-driven story. Caroline never knows quiet where she stands or whom she can trust. There are plenty of men in her life who are willing to help, but what if one of them is her "Incubus?" The authors create a good sense of Caroline confusion and building terror--which we find out is caused by the substitution of a stronger dose of her sleeping pills. It all provides a mounting sense of dread while working its way to murder and mayhem. There are several plot twists to keep both Caroline and the reader guessing, a lightly-handled supernatural element, and a few red herrings. An enjoyable suspense-mystery that carries a distinct flavor of a 40s suspense film. ★★

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This fulfills the "Two People" category on the Golden Vintage Scavenger Hunt card. It is also my first entry for Rich's March Crimes of the Century year--1947. Got any 1947 mysteries on tap? Come join us!

4 comments:

noirencyclopedia said...

Sounds tremendous! Many thanks.

fredamans said...

Sounds fascinating. I do like heavy suspense, so I may like it.

BookPlease said...

Didn't she change the lock? Sounds good, though!

Bev Hankins said...

Margaret...she did change the locks. It still happened.