Black Murder – Carl Moore (1935)


Well, I didn’t get too far into this story set in Haiti. First sentence:

Thunder rumbled and crashed, reverberated across white-topped distant mountains.

Was the author under the impression that it snows in Haiti?  John Martin isn’t thinking about the snow in them thar hills, he is more concerned about the voodoo drums, the tom-toms.

A year later John’s brother Don arrives in Haiti with John’s fiancee Wynne.   Don is searching for his older brother and is led by the police to his deserted home.  There the couple is left with two guards — Dumonnier and Manbrun — for protection.

Once inside the house, “their bodies fused, her lips restlessly on his, his arms encircling and crushing her loveliness.”  Say, isn’t she John’s fiancee?  How hard are they really looking for him?  Wynne says she just thought she loved John, but that it was really Don all the time.

That afternoon, the voodoo drums start again, or maybe it is just Bolero on the stereo. Overcome, Don carries Wynne to the bed.  It is already occupied by a naked clay figure of Wynne with a pin through it.  There is no no time for a menage-a-trois as they hear demonic laughter and find Dumonnier sprawled on the lanai, “his sightless eyes staring straight ahead, his bloodless lips grinning and mocking.  His head was split open as if from the blow of a great axe.”  Also, it is mentioned that his hat is missing.

Manbrun howls, turns on the couple, then charges into the jungle.  Don and Wynne think maybe they’ll just head out and come back when Sandals has built a walled compound in Port-au-Prince.  They run back through the jungle, their clothing slashed by thorns and sharp branches.  Don is conked on the head and he wakes up with in captivity with Wynne and his brother John.

There really is not much to the rest of the story.  There is a dance that seems to go on longer than The Matrix Reloaded rave-in-the-cave, a priest and priestess, and John Martin fakes being in a trance so he can facilitate their escape.

Later, as they are standing with police, John says, “Take me home, Don.  The spell is broken at last.”  Yeah, but I think it is going to be an uncomfortable moment when they decide who gets to ride in the back with Wynne.  John might even call shotgun.

These stories are so simplistic that they almost defy criticism.


  • Published in Spicy Adventure, April 1935.
  • Also that month:  Erich von Däniken born, paving the Naza Lines for the Ancient-Alien-Industrial Complex.  For a dose of reality, here is an awesome debunking.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.