Suspense - "The Devil's Saint" starring Peter Lorre

Saturday, 13 June 2015 16:00 Dave Truesdale

Suspense (1942-1962) aired John Dickson Carr's story "The Devil's Saint" on January 19, 1943 as its 25th episode of what would come to be nearly one thousand. This original radio play was one of twenty-two Carr would write for Suspense. Set in 1927, it involves a Hungarian Count (played by Peter Lorre), his American niece Ilona, and the young British Lord Edward Whiteford who seeks Ilona's hand. On a visit to the Count's chateau just outside of Paris, the sinister Count offers Whiteford a proposition. The chateau contains what is known as the tapestry room, where in the past there was an unsolved murder. Legend has it that whoever stays the night in this room dies before the night is out. If Lord Whiteford stays the night in the room and survives, the Count will approve Edward's marriage to Ilona. Whiteford readily agrees. What transpires that night forms the bulk of the story and is a tense, creepy series of events to say the least, with Lorre at his sinister best.

John Dickson Carr (1906-1977) wrote many a novel and short story during the 1930s and 1940s, and was regarded as one of the best of the so-called Golden Age mystery writers, where complex plots were deemed of primary importance. A master of the locked-room mystery, in 1981 (according to Wikipedia, but one of my sources) a panel of seventeen mystery authors and reviewers voted Carr's 1935 novel The Hollow Man as the greatest locked-room mystery of all time. Carr suffered a stroke in 1963, paralyzing his left side. He continued to write with one hand, however, contributing book reviews for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine in a column titled "The Jury Box." He would die of lung cancer in 1977 at his home in Greenville, South Carolina.

Play Time: 29:38

{After listening to this John Dickson Carr story, one of the older boys in the neighborhood gang became interested in mysteries and decided to try a mystery magazine, while yet another, following his lead, chose a detective magazine. Keying on the eerieness of "The Devil's Saint," however, a third chose a more tried and true route and picked up his favorite supernatural horror magazine at the corner newsstand. Their choices in the cold month of January 1943 are shown below.}

[Left: EQMM, Jan. 1943 - Center: Private Detective Stories, Jan. 1943 - Right: Weird Tales, Jan. 1943]


To view the entire list of weekly Old Time Radio episodes at Tangent Online, click here.