Miriam Daly is on a launch to the island compound of Mr. Martinez. The passengers are a diverse group including a lecturer, an aerialist, a singer, a dancer, a magician’s assistant, and a concert pianist — all female. There are clearly no rocket scientists in the group as they haven’t figured out they’re all going to the same place despite being on a small boat heading toward an island.
Martinez greets them at his mansion and pulls aside three of the women. The other three are led to their rooms by a “half-nude” servant, although which half and which sex are not described.
Miriam is led into a bedroom and the door is locked behind her. Soon there is a tapping at her window. She opens the latch and lets in the aerialist, who is actually a man, man! He posed as a woman to investigate this disappearance of his sister who was last known to be heading to this island.
Hearing voices, Miriam and the aerialist Phil climb down a trellis and follow their three companions being dragged into the woods. Turns out Martinez has brought women here to hunt for sport — the second time in five stories that this trope has been used. To prove his seriousness, he brutally tortures and kills one of the women.
The next day, exploring the estate, Miriam and Phil (dressed as Phyllis again) discover what became of the other women, and of Phil’s sister. Whatever torture and nastiness goes on in this collection, you can usually depend on scores being settle at the end.
A pretty straight-forward tale
- First published in Mystery Novels and Short Stories Magazine, July 1940.
- Also that month: The first successful helicopter flight.
- Same publication as Mystery Novels Magazine or least original rip-off ever? I have no idea.