The House of Weird Sleep – Charles R. Allen

sascoverFive wealthy young women have disappeared in Panama City (the one in Panama) and the police are stumped.   Sitting in a bar, reporter Ken Newman and cop-wannabe Nick Carson notice Doris Chamberlain, niece of banker Henry Carmody being led out by a man with a scar. Sensing trouble, and more importantly a reward, they follow the couple to a dark house.

Seeing no one inside, the two men break into the dark house.  Creeping upstairs, they find “the white body of a beautiful girl . . . Her bare jutting breasts rose and fell symmetrically in apparent sleep.”  It is not Doris and they don’t know if this girl’s uncle is also rich, so they check the room next door.  There they find another girl, clad only in silk pajama bottoms. Both girls had been drugged.

As Nick vows to get the rats behind this, the scar-face man appears.  His henchmen conk Ken on the head and take Nick to the cellar for questioning.  He is strung up with his hands tied above his head.  A henchman produces a rawhide whip tipped with steel prongs.  In a scene that would have been cut from 24 as too unrealistic [1], Nick is able to swing his legs back and belly-kick his tormentor.  Then the ropes are rotten enough that he can break free.

Armed with the cat-o-nine-nails, Nick climbs the stairs to find Scar-face.  He dodges bullets and dispatches a couple more bad guys.  Through blind luck, he discovers Doris Chamberlain. She says they took her clothes away — even though she is the most overdressed women they’ve seen that night — and plan to ship her to South America as a sex slave.

They hear footsteps and Nick actually says, “If they find me here, it’s curtains.”  The men arrive and Scar-face points a gun at Nick’s head.  He manages to distract Scar-face by throwing a pillow at him.  He then grabs his gun and caps off two henchmen. Scar-face gets off lucky with a gun butt to the noggin.

As they are looking for Ken, they see Henry Carmody who is more of an “Uncle Roy” [2] than an uncle to Doris.  In fact, he had tried to force his way into Doris’ bedroom and had ordered her brought here.  Luckily Ken jumps Scar-face from behind and saves the day.

Ken tells Nick that he is sure to be hired by the police after breaking up this gang. Maybe his first case can be to investigate why there seems to be no Panamanians in Panama City.


  • [1] It is no wonder L.A. is in a permanent drought.  Every warehouse, storeroom and basement where Jack Bauer is cuffed to a water pipe, the pipes are leaky and falling apart so badly he can pull them apart with his bare hands and escape.
  • [2] A character from the early days of SNL so offensive that he has apparently been scrubbed from YouTube.
  • First published in January 1935.
  • Also that month:  Elvis Presley is born.
  • The 2nd consecutive story to feature an article of clothing called a step-in.

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