Tuesday, June 27, 2023

Night Time Is Murder Time

The November, 1945 issue of New Detective Magazine featured short stories by David Crewe, Cyril Plunkett, Rex Whitechurch, and Ken Lewis among others. The story that I immediately flipped to was the lead novelette story, “Night Time is Murder Time”, a “man on the run” tale penned by legendary crime-fiction author Bruno Fischer.

Ray was medically discharged from the military after harrowing combat in WW2. After his recovery, he returns to his small hometown and moves in with his father. One night, Ray receives a call from a guy warning him that a female friend is in danger. Ray drives his father's car onto a rural route and gets halfway to his destination when the fuses in the car blow, pitching him and the vehicle into darkness. When he strikes a match, Ray discovers a dead body in the backseat.

Behaving in the most irrational method, Ray fails to warn the police (or his father who happens to be a judge). Like most of these mid-20th century crime-noir stories, Ray disposes of the body and car. He then makes a run for it to clear his name and find the real killer that set him up as the fall guy. The story weaves in and out of Ray's quest for justice while foiling the police. There's a few suspects thrown in to keep the reader guessing, and a nice touching side-story with Ray confiding in his father.

Bruno Fischer isn't capable of writing a bad story, and while this is certainly an overused plot-device, the author still packs a punch with a straight-laced whodunit. For a brisk 20-minute read, “Night Time is Murder Time” is recommended.

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