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The Moment of Darkness

Suspense

The Moment of Darkness

Apr 20 1943



CAST:

ANNOUNCER (1 line)


NARRATOR, elegantly creepy

GUARD, French

1ST PASSENGER (1 line)

2ND PASSENGER (1 line)

MARJORIE, worried British niece

BLAKE, smooth-talking American diplomat

STEVENS, smart British lawyer

HESTER, Marjorie's flighty British aunt

RAVEL, mysterious, slightly sinister, and Continental

2ND GUARD, French (2 lines)




MUSIC: THEME ... KNIFE CHORD ... THEN IN BG--


NARRATOR: "Suspense."


MUSIC: THEME ... FILLS A PAUSE ... THEN BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: This is "The Man in Black," here again to introduce once again Columbia's program "Suspense." In our starring Hollywood cast this evening is Mr. Peter Lorre, who appears as a mysterious gentleman called Georges Ravel; Miss Wendy Barrie plays our worried heroine Marjorie; Mr. George Zucco is the lawyer Alex Stevens. The story, called "The Moment of Darkness," is tonight's tale of suspense. If you have been with us on these Tuesday nights, you will know that "Suspense" is compounded of mystery, and suspicion, and dangerous adventure. In this series are tales calculated to intrigue you, stir your nerves; to offer you a precarious situation, and then withhold the solution - until the last possible moment. And so, with "The Moment of Darkness," and with the performances of Peter Lorre, Wendy Barrie, George Zucco, and our other players, we again hope to keep you in--


MUSIC: KNIFE CHORD 


NARRATOR: --suspense.


MUSIC: UP BIG, FOR AN INTRODUCTION ... THEN IN BG


SOUND: TRAIN STATION BACKGROUND


NARRATOR: Le Train Bleu, crack express train from Paris to the French Riviera, which, in these carefree days before the war, used to make the journey from Paris to Nice overnight. At the Gare du Sud, on this particular mild spring evening, the train, with its glistening "Wagon-Lits," or sleeping-cars, waits in the station filled with smoke and the iron coughing of engines. You can hear the excited crowd and the slamming of compartment doors. You can see the guard standing by with his watch in hand, with his horn ready to blow as a signal. 


GUARD: (SHOUTS) En voiture, Messieurs les voyageurs! En voiture!                                      


SOUND: CLAMOR OF PASSENGERS' VOICES BRIEFLY DURING FOLLOWING--


1ST PASSENGER: À bientôt!


2ND PASSENGER: You'd better get in, Emily, the train's just about ready to start. 


NARRATOR: A commotion there. At the last moment, just before the signal, a girl in a light summer dress, carrying a small suitcase, hurries along the platform towards Car Number Ten. The girl is blonde and evidently English, and as she hurries towards the guard--


GUARD: (SHOUTS) En voiture! (TO MARJORIE) Dépêchez-vous, Mademoiselle. Hurry up, Miss.


MARJORIE: Yes, yes, of course. Is this carriage number ten?


GUARD: Oui, Mademoiselle, numero dix. Hurry, please.


MARJORIE: Thank you. I'll get in.


SOUND: TRAIN DOOR SHUTS


GUARD: Et maintenant--! 


SOUND: HORN BLOWS TWICE


MUSIC: FOR TRAIN LEAVING STATION, CHUGGING SLOWLY AT FIRST, THEN PICKING UP SPEED ... BRIDGE


SOUND: MOVING TRAIN INTERIOR BACKGROUND


MARJORIE: (TO HERSELF) This corridor must be at least a mile long. Car ten. Compartment number six. Compartment number six. Compartment-- Oh, here it is. 


SOUND: KNOCKING ON COMPARTMENT DOOR


BLAKE: (BEHIND DOOR) Yes? Come in!


SOUND: COMPARTMENT DOOR OPENS


MARJORIE: (URGENT) Mr. Stevens, I--! (SURPRISED) Oh. Oh, I beg your pardon.


BLAKE: That's quite all right. Won't you come in?


MARJORIE: I, er-- I thought this was Mr. Stevens' compartment.


BLAKE: It is his compartment. I'm sharing it with him.


MARJORIE: He, uh-- He is on the train, isn't he?


BLAKE: Oh, yes, yes. He's gone to look for some luggage that failed to turn up. In the meantime, won't you come in and sit down? 


MARJORIE: Thank you.


SOUND: COMPARTMENT DOOR SHUTS


BLAKE: As an old friend of Toby Stevens-- (BEAT) Why do you smile?


MARJORIE: Nothing. It's just odd to hear a dignified man like Mr. Stevens called Toby, that's all.


BLAKE: Well, it suits him. As an old friend of his, anyway, may I introduce myself? I'm Ken Blake, on vacation from the American consulate in London. 


MARJORIE: How do you do? My name is Grey; Marjorie Grey. I, er-- I most particularly wanted to have a word with Mr. Stevens.


BLAKE: Miss Grey, will you pardon my impertinence if I ask--


MARJORIE: Ask what? 


BLAKE: --whether it's about your Aunt Hester at Monte Carlo? And the man who seems so determined to - scare her to death?


SOUND: TRAIN WHISTLE SCREAMS, OFF


MARJORIE: (SUSPICIOUS) You know about that? 


BLAKE: Yes, a little. After all, that's why Toby's left his law practice and come all the way from London. He said--


SOUND: COMPARTMENT DOOR OPENS


MARJORIE: Mr. Stevens! 


STEVENS: Marjorie! Great Scott! What're you doing here?  


SOUND: COMPARTMENT DOOR CLOSES


MARJORIE: I came up from Monte Carlo especially to see you. I thought I'd find you in Paris, but when I got to your hotel, they told me you'd gone. Cook's said they'd reserved a compartment on this train for you. So-- Well, here I am.


STEVENS: But why? 


MARJORIE: (GRAVE) Before you see Aunt Hester, Mr. Stevens, I want to know what you meant by that letter you wrote to me.


STEVENS: I meant exactly what I said, Marjorie. I'm going to expose this faker, Georges Ravel. 


BLAKE: (CLEARS THROAT POLITELY) Excuse me. If you two want to talk, I'll just clear out of here. 


STEVENS: Oh, no, Ken, stay where you are.


MARJORIE: (INDIGNANT) Really, Mr. Stevens!


STEVENS: (AMUSED) You've made an impression on her, Ken. When a girl suddenly becomes thoroughly British, after spending half her life on the Riviera-- Well, you've made an impression. 


BLAKE: (DRY) Don't talk like that, Toby. She won't get annoyed with you for saying it; she'll just get annoyed with me. 


STEVENS: Marjorie, this is Ken Blake.


MARJORIE: (UNFRIENDLY) We've met, thanks.


STEVENS: I asked him to come along with me, and for a very good reason. 


MARJORIE: Indeed?


STEVENS: Ken was for years at the American consulate in Paris. He knows all the heads of the Sûreté Générale -- that's the Scotland Yard of France -- and in particular he knows the great detective Flamande who's the Chef de Sûreté. I thought Ken might be very useful when we nab Ravel.


MARJORIE: But I tell you, Ravel is dangerous! 


STEVENS: Dangerous, my eye!


MARJORIE: Something's going to happen. I know something dreadful's going to happen!


STEVENS: Now let's face the situation, Marjorie. Your Aunt Hester is middle-aged, wealthy and, er--


MARJORIE: Oh, if only Uncle Paul hadn't died! He was the decentest person I ever knew. 


STEVENS: But he did die, my dear, and Hester can't be consoled. She can't eat; she can't sleep; she can't think of anything except getting in touch with his spirit. Along comes this faker Ravel to gives séances--


MARJORIE: I wonder if he is a faker.


BLAKE: You're not falling for this tommyrot, surely? 


MARJORIE: (ANNOYED) Really, Mr. Blake. If I'd asked for your advice in this matter--


BLAKE: (DRY) I beg your pardon, Miss Grey. When we get to Nice, I'll take the first train back to Paris.


MARJORIE: (CONTRITE) No. No, wait, please. I - I didn't mean to be rude. It's nice of you to help us, but it's the whole atmosphere of Monte Carlo--


STEVENS: (SYMPATHETIC) Well, that's quite all right, my dear, we understand.


BLAKE: Of course.


MARJORIE: There's Aunt Hester and that villa over the Mediterranean. There's Ravel, all thin, and quiet, and swarthy, with those somber-looking eyes of his. He - he seems to dominate her. Just as Mr. Stevens used to.


STEVENS: Dominate her, my dear? That's rather a strong word for an easy-going old duffer like me. 


MARJORIE: The things Ravel does at those séances are terrifying. I don't know whether he's an impostor or not. But I am sure nobody else can do what he does. 


STEVENS: Now there, Marjorie, is where you're wrong. I can!


MARJORIE: You can?


STEVENS: Yes. I promise to duplicate in front of your aunt every single trick Ravel ever performed. 


MARJORIE: That's impossible!


STEVENS: Is it? Wait and see.


MARJORIE: I'll put it up to Mr. Blake. It isn't merely that Ravel is tied up -- tied hand and foot in a chair -- while these horrible things are going on. I know there are people who can get out of ropes and back into them again. But Ravel let's you take one precaution that shows there can't be any trickery. 


BLAKE: Oh? And what is that precaution?


MARJORIE: Just before the lights go out, he takes a piece of white paper--

  

BLAKE: Well?


MARJORIE: He puts one under each foot. They take a pencil and draw an outline around the shoe on the paper. If he moved the millionth fraction of an inch, it would show on the outline later. But it never does.


STEVENS: (LAUGHS SKEPTICALLY)


BLAKE: Well, look here, Toby, that's a bad one. Why does it strike you as being so funny?


STEVENS: Because I can do it, too. Just give me a moment of darkness, that's all.


BLAKE: You mean, he gets out of his shoes or something like that?


STEVENS: No, he could hardly get out of his shoes and back into them without disturbing the outline. 


BLAKE: Then he doesn't leave his chair after all.


STEVENS: On the contrary, he can be all over the room.


BLAKE: Well, how in Satan's name does he do it?


STEVENS: My dear fellow, there's nothing simpler.


SOUND: TRAIN WHISTLE FOR PUNCTUATION ... THEN OUT


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... THEN BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: The Villa Bijou, Monte Carlo, the next evening. On the lighted terrace of that white villa, overlooking the olive groves and the sea, three people are seated at their ease, enjoying the night air. Below glitters the town; a white palm garden. But even its lamps are dimmed by the firework illuminations from the Promenade des Anglais. When the principality of Monaco celebrates its ruler's birthday, great rockets go hissing upwards, to burst and bloom in colored fires against a black sky.  


MUSIC: UP, FOR ROCKETING FIREWORKS ... THEN OUT WITH--


SOUND: WHOOSH! OF ROCKET ... THEN FIREWORKS EXPLODE ... THEN CRICKETS, IN BG


HESTER: Dear Mr. Stevens, I don't like those fireworks! The noise upsets me. I wish they'd stop.


STEVENS: Never mind the fireworks, Hester. You've heard my proposition. Give me an answer.


HESTER: Oh, what's more, you spilled broth on your jacket at dinner. You're the clumsiest eater I ever saw. Here - here. Let me take a handkerchief to it.


MARJORIE: Please, Aunt Hester, won't you answer Mr. Stevens?


HESTER: Why don't you two let me alone? Both of you.


MARJORIE: We're only trying to help you. Don't you believe that?


HESTER: Yes, I - I - I believe it, but I'm happy. I talked with my husband twice last week.


STEVENS: Now, look here, Hester, this has got to stop.


HESTER: Why?


STEVENS: Ravel's a fraud and I can prove it. 


HESTER: If Monsieur Ravel is a fraud, what does he gain by this? Has he asked for money?


STEVENS: I don't know; has he?


HESTER: No! Not a penny. 


STEVENS: You haven't changed your will, by any chance? People do queer things sometimes that even their solicitors don't know about. 


HESTER: (CHUCKLES) No, dear, I haven't changed my will. When I die, Marjorie inherits everything. I am a lonely woman, and getting old. I haven't got much to look forward to. Why don't you go your way and let me go mine? 


STEVENS: Suppose Ravel is a fraud. Just suppose it.


HESTER: Well, all right, have your way.


STEVENS: You wouldn't like to think you'd been deliberately tricked and imposed on, now, would you?


HESTER: Well, no. No, of course not.


STEVENS: Now, listen, Hester. If I prove to you these so-called miracles are really tricks that I can do myself--


HESTER: Oh, don't be ridiculous, Alex Stevens--


STEVENS: I offer to prove that here and now. Would that shake your faith a little? 


HESTER: Mm, yes, I - I suppose it would, I-- But how did you become so clever all of a sudden? 


STEVENS: How did you become so gullible all of a sudden? You used to scoff at this sort of thing. You used to be gay and lively and go to the casino.


HESTER: Well, that was before Paul died. (BEAT) You're shivering, Marjorie. If you feel cold, put on a wrap.


MARJORIE: I'm - I'm not cold. It's - it's only--


HESTER: Only what?


MARJORIE: I've got a kind of presentiment that there's something dreadful hanging over us. I can't tell what direction it's taking, or who's in danger, but I'm sure it's going to burst, just as sure as a--                                                 


SOUND: WHOOSH! OF ROCKET ... THEN FIREWORKS EXPLODE THUNDEROUSLY ... CRICKETS CONTINUE IN BG


STEVENS: (IMPRESSED) By George! Look at that rocket! 


MARJORIE: (WITH DREAD) Yes. Red and gold stars -- and a deathly white blaze -- like the life we're living. You can see every leaf in the garden, every blade of grass.


STEVENS: And we can also see-- Look there! Ravel and Ken Blake coming up the path.


MARJORIE: (SUSPICIOUS) This - this Ken Blake, Mr. Stevens. Are you sure he's quite honest? 


STEVENS: My dear Marjorie! Ken's all right. I've known him for years. 


MARJORIE: I thought he came here to help expose Ravel. But he and Ravel are as thick as thieves. What sort of game is going on here?


MUSIC: BIG OMINOUS ACCENT


RAVEL: Game, Mademoiselle? You spoke of a game?


MARJORIE: Yes, Monsieur Ravel, I did.


STEVENS: So did I, friend Ravel. Are you ready for my demonstration tonight?


RAVEL: Demonstration?


STEVENS: In the séance room upstairs. You claim you can bring back the dead.


RAVEL: Pardon me, Monsieur, I claim nothing. When I'm in "trance," I cannot tell what happens. 


STEVENS: But I can. I'm going to make ghosts walk by perfectly natural means.


RAVEL: You know, Monsieur Stevens, I - I don't understand your logic.


STEVENS: Logic? 


RAVEL: Yes, you wish to -- er, how do you put it? -- expose me. But how will you expose me by these childish tricks? If I show you a counterfeit ten-pound note, does that prove there's no Bank of England? 


STEVENS: I'm not going to argue subtleties with you. You can always beat me there. 


RAVEL: (CHUCKLES)


STEVENS: I'm a plain, ordinary man with a little common sense to back me up.


RAVEL: Now-now-now, come on, my friend. Not an ordinary man, surely.


STEVENS: Just exactly what are you hinting at?


HESTER: Yes, I - I'd like to know that, too.


RAVEL: (OBSEQUIOUS) Oh, Madame Hester, believe me, I didn't mean to upset you. I wouldn't upset you for anything. 


MARJORIE: (WHISPERS) No, I'll bet you wouldn't!


RAVEL: I kiss your hand, Madame; I'm all apologies. (DARKLY) Well, let this gentleman do what he likes. But I warn him. It is dangerous.                                  


SOUND: WHOOSH! OF ROCKET ... THEN FIREWORKS EXPLODE THUNDEROUSLY ... CRICKETS CONTINUE IN BG


BLAKE: Dangerous? How is it dangerous?


MARJORIE: That's the first time you've spoken, Mr. Blake. Why have you been so quiet?


HESTER: Please, Marjorie. Please, now. Be a good girl and stop interrupting.


MARJORIE: Oh, I'm sorry, Aunt Hester, but he's been muttering to himself, and moving from one foot to the other, and - and looking guilty. 


BLAKE: Confound it, I'm not looking guilty!


MARJORIE: Aren't you?


BLAKE: No, it's the hot night. I don't like this business at all. (TO RAVEL) Why will a séance be dangerous?


RAVEL: Why? Because we shall be tampering with evil forces.


STEVENS: Evil forces, my foot! 


RAVEL: Oh, you doubt it?


STEVENS: Yes! 


RAVEL: This brave Monsieur Stevens is challenging the unseen world. He's mocking at forces he does not understand. Believe me, Monsieur, they are not mocked without danger. 


STEVENS: I'll risk that, thanks.


RAVEL: Well, up in the séance room, with the door bolted on the inside, we shall be at their mercy. The evil forces, the elementals, will wax and grow strong. They can take us in their grip, as I take this walking stick, and--


SOUND: CRACK! OF WOODEN STICK BROKEN IN TWO


STEVENS: You've got strong hands, Monsieur Ravel. 


RAVEL: The hands of evil spirits are stronger. Much stronger.


MARJORIE: (BEAT, QUIETLY TENSE) I'm afraid. I wonder if we ought to do this!


BLAKE: I've been wondering the same thing. What does your aunt say?


HESTER: (FLUSTERED, STAMMERS) I don't know what to say. I - I'm so confused that I want to break down and cry. I-- (MORE DECISIVE) But I suppose we'd better do it, or Alex Stevens will never let me hear the end of it. 


RAVEL: (TO STEVENS) For the last time, Monsieur -- will you be warned of danger?


STEVENS: No!


RAVEL: Very well. Oh, Madame Hester--?


HESTER: Yes, Monsieur Ravel?


RAVEL: Do you believe that I am an impostor?


HESTER: Why, no. No, dear, of course not, but, er--


RAVEL: But, in your heart, you're not yet convinced. 


HESTER: Well, I-- I - I don't-- I don't know. I-- You know, I'm not such a fool as some people seem to think.


RAVEL: But if something did happen -- something to show there are living forces beyond this world -- it would convince you utterly?


HESTER: Oh, yes, I - I-- I suppose it would. 


RAVEL: (A PLEASED CHUCKLE) Then, uh, shall we allow Monsieur Stevens to go on with his demonstration?


MUSIC: SNEAKS IN ... BUILDS EERILY TO BRIDGE


MARJORIE: (WHISPERS, HALF TO HERSELF) I have a feeling we shouldn't do this. Oh, I'm afraid!


MUSIC: UP, FOR BRIDGE ... THEN BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: Upstairs at the Villa Bijou, there is a small, bare, deeply carpeted room. Its only furniture consists of a round table, five chairs, and a large cabinet phonograph. There is only one door, and there are no windows. In one chair, a little way back from the table, sits Mr. Alexander Stevens. He is tied hand and foot, the outline of his shoes drawn with pencil on pieces of paper so that he cannot move. 


STEVENS: Now then, friend Ravel. Have you quite finished tying me up?


RAVEL: Oh, yes. Yes, and I bet you you won't get out of these knots, sir.


STEVENS: Well, we'll see about that. Are the rest of you ready? 


MARJORIE: (RELUCTANT) Yes. Yes, all right.


HESTER: Oh, dear. I wish I'd put some smelling salts in my handbag!  


BLAKE: (TO STEVENS) Well, what do you want us to do now? 


STEVENS: We'll have conditions exactly as they are for Mr. Ravel. I'll sit in this chair back from the table. You four sit 'round the table, clasping hands to form a circle. 


BLAKE: All right, let's get on with it.


STEVENS: Ken, will you start the gramophone? (CHUCKLES) I believe it's customary, Mr. Ravel, to have hymns played at the beginning of a séance -- to establish the proper frame of mind?


RAVEL: Yes, Monsieur, that's true. (MUTTERS) You fool!


STEVENS: What did you say? 


RAVEL: Oh, uh, nothing, Monsieur. Please continue. 


STEVENS: Start the gramophone, Ken. When you've done that, turn out the lights from that switch by the door. Then join the circle. Clasp each others' hands tightly and don't let go unless--


MARJORIE: Unless what? 


STEVENS: (LIGHTLY) Well, unless something gets me!


RAVEL: (SERIOUS) Be careful, Monsieur. 


STEVENS: Go on, please. Start the gramophone.


BLAKE: (SLIGHTLY OFF) All right, here goes!


MUSIC: SCRATCHY RECORD PLAYS INSTRUMENTAL VERSION OF HYMN, WHICH CONTINUES IN BG


STEVENS: Now the lights, Ken. Switch off the lights.


BLAKE: (SLIGHTLY OFF) Lights? Yes. Yes, yes. There you are. (BEAT) It's pitch dark, I can't see my way back to the table.


MARJORIE: Here, Ken. Here's my hand.


BLAKE: (BEAT, CLOSER) Thank you.


HESTER: And mine on the other side, Mr. Blake.


BLAKE: Thank you. I've got my bearings now. 


STEVENS: Are all of you clasping the hands of the next person? (NO ANSWER) Then quiet, and wait for what's going to happen.


MUSIC: FILLS A PAUSE, THEN IN BG


MARJORIE: (LOUD WHISPER) Ken! Look!


BLAKE: Look where?


MARJORIE: Over there. Where Mr. Stevens is sitting.


BLAKE: What about it?


MARJORIE: There's a luminous spot in the dark. About the size of a shilling.


HESTER: Ssh! Quiet. Quiet, please!


MUSIC: FILLS A PAUSE, THEN IN BG


MARJORIE: (TENSE) Did anything touch the back of your neck?


BLAKE: No.


HESTER: (SCREAMS, LOW AND GUTTURAL, LIKE A MAN)


MARJORIE: What was that?!


HESTER: (HER NORMAL VOICE, TENSE) It's Alex Stevens; I know it!


RAVEL: (TAKING CHARGE) This was not in the program, Madame. Break the circle and get those lights on!


MARJORIE: The luminous spot is still there. Oh, hurry, Ken!


BLAKE: (MOVING OFF) I can't see my way in the dark. I don't know which direction the lights are. (SLIGHTLY OFF) Wait a minute! Here's the wall. If I grope along here, I ought to find the switch-- Yes! Yes, here it is! Lights! 


SOUND: CLICK! OF SWITCH


MARJORIE: (SCREAMS IN HORROR)


RAVEL: Quiet! Quiet! Silence, Mademoiselle, if you please! 


MARJORIE: What's wrong with Mr. Stevens? What's that sticking out of his chest? 


RAVEL: The handle of a dagger. And a good deal of blood has soaked through his coat, too. (QUIET CHUCKLE) Oh, Monsieur Blake, will you turn off this gramophone?


BLAKE: (SLIGHTLY OFF) Yes, certainly.


MUSIC: STOPS AS RECORD PLAYER IS SHUT OFF


BLAKE: But-- You're not saying that Toby Stevens is dead?


RAVEL: I'm afraid he is, my friend. That's a direct heart wound. Perhaps ten seconds of intense agony, and then the end. Oh, is the door still bolted from the inside? 


BLAKE: Yes.


RAVEL: Then we are all alone. Here. The four of us. This rash gentleman, one imagines, did not kill himself. He's too well tied up.


MARJORIE: (FIRMLY) I know who killed him. Mr. Georges Ravel, you did! With luminous paint!


RAVEL: (AMUSED) I killed him, Mademoiselle? With luminous paint? 


MARJORIE: I mean-- That was part of the trick. You tied him up. You were the only one who touched him.


RAVEL: And--? What of that, Mademoiselle?


MARJORIE: Luminous paint doesn't show up in the light. You smeared a little of it on his coat. 


RAVEL: (CHUCKLES)


MARJORIE: That showed you exactly where to strike in the dark! 


RAVEL: I commend your good sense, Mademoiselle. But there are two excellent reasons why I had nothing to do with this. The first reason I - I must keep to myself, but the second reason can easily be proved. 


MARJORIE: Well, what is it?


RAVEL: Well, up to the time that man screamed, you yourself were holding my right hand and Madame Hester was holding my left hand. Did either of you let go at any time?  


MARJORIE: No. No, that is, I didn't. What about you, Aunt Hester?


HESTER: No, no, Marjorie dear, I didn't let go either. He never moved.


BLAKE: Hold on, wait a minute.


RAVEL: (BEAT) Well, Monsieur, speak up!


BLAKE: I was holding Marjorie's hand on one side, and her aunt's on the other. And they didn't move, either! Nobody let go or left the circle!


HESTER: That's true.


BLAKE: Consequently, none of us could have killed Toby Stevens!


MARJORIE: Yes, it is true!


BLAKE: Somebody must have sneaked in here--


RAVEL: Oh, no! As you said yourself, the door is bolted on the inside.


BLAKE: Then who the devil did kill him?!


RAVEL: Well, that's the question. Has anybody ever seen that dagger before? 


MARJORIE: No. It looks like one of those curio things you buy in the shops. 


RAVEL: (MUSES THOUGHTFULLY) Yes, and with a design of wooden scroll work on the handle. No fingerprints will show. Nothing else -- except some musical instruments. (QUIET CHUCKLE) A tambourine, an accordion, and a speaking trumpet. You know, I - I blame myself for this. 


MARJORIE: You ought to!


RAVEL: Why?


MARJORIE: Because you killed him! Don't ask me how, but I know why!


RAVEL: Indeed, Mademoiselle? (LIGHTLY) You've found my motive?  


MARJORIE: Yes. Yes, I have. You've got Aunt Hester fully believing in you now, haven't you?!


BLAKE: Easy, Marjorie.


MARJORIE: In another minute, you'll be talking about forces and elementals and heaven knows what! 


RAVEL: (CHUCKLES)


MARJORIE: You'll be saying it was a spirit hand that killed Mr. Stevens because nobody else could've!


BLAKE: Please, Marjorie, brace up. Someone's got to send for the police.


MARJORIE: (SARCASTIC) Why don't you send for the police, Ken? Couldn't you help us there? 


BLAKE: Help you? How? 


MARJORIE: Mr. Stevens said you knew the heads of the Sûreté. He said you knew this man Flamande, who's supposed to be the greatest detective in France. 


RAVEL: Oh, but this isn't French territory. Monte Carlo is in the independent state of Monaco. 


BLAKE: I'm sorry, Marjorie. Ordinarily, I might have helped. 


MARJORIE: You mean you won't help us?


BLAKE: I'm sorry, Marjorie. I can't. 


MARJORIE: (DECISIVE) Then I've got to help myself. (SAVAGELY) Georges Ravel, you killed Mr. Stevens! But how?!


RAVEL: (QUIETLY THOUGHTFUL) Yes, how?


MUSIC: BRIDGE ... THEN BEHIND NARRATOR--


NARRATOR: Twenty-four hours later. Twenty-four hours of blind puzzling. In the railway station at Nice, nine miles from Monte Carlo, the night express for Paris is already underway. The guard has blown his signal, and the great wheels grind. 


SOUND: HORN BLOWS TWICE AS TRAIN SLOWLY STARTS AND PULLS AWAY DURING FOLLOWING --


NARRATOR: A young man, hatless and worried, pushes through the crowd past the already moving train. 


2ND GUARD: Non, Monsieur! C'est defendu! Vous êtes trop tard! 


BLAKE: Too late, nothing! I'm getting aboard this train!


SOUND: BLAKE JUMPS ON TRAIN


2ND GUARD: Prenez garde, Monsieur! Prenez garde!


SOUND: TRAIN DOOR CLOSES ... MOVING TRAIN INTERIOR BACKGROUND


BLAKE: I'm sorry to have caused you any trouble, guard. But do you happen to know whether-- (STOPS SHORT, BEAT) Marjorie! 


MARJORIE: (SURPRISED) Ken Blake! What are you doing on this train?


BLAKE: Exactly the question I wanted to ask you. (LOW) Walk along the corridor with me, will ya?


MARJORIE: (LOW) All right. 


SOUND: TRAIN INTERIOR BACKGROUND FILLS A PAUSE, AS THEY WALK AWAY FROM GUARD ... THEN THEY SPEAK QUIETLY


BLAKE: Marjorie, you little idiot, what's the idea of running away?


MARJORIE: If it's any of your business, Mr. Blake, I'm not running away. I'm merely going to Paris.


BLAKE: You were told to stay in Monte Carlo. Don't you know you can land in jail for this?


MARJORIE: They'll put you in jail, too, won't they?


BLAKE: Yes, I suppose so. But what's the idea of going to Paris? 


MARJORIE: First of all, I had to get Aunt Hester away from that man Ravel. She really thinks he can call up ghosts now.


BLAKE: (SURPRISED) Is your aunt on this train?


MARJORIE: Yes, in that compartment there. Second, I'm going to Paris for some real help. I'm going to the Sûreté. I'm going to see this man Flamande. 


BLAKE: You won't find Flamande in Paris, Marjorie. And you'll certainly never get him to arrest Georges Ravel. 


MARJORIE: Oh? And why not?


BLAKE: Because, my dear idiot, Georges Ravel is Flamande!             


MUSIC: BIG ACCENT


MARJORIE: What are you saying?!


BLAKE: The man who calls himself Ravel is really Flamande, the head of the whole French detective bureau. He made me promise not to tell anybody. 


MARJORIE: Oh. Then that's why you've been looking so guilty for two days. 


BLAKE: Yes, I tried to tip you off today, but the police were with us all the time. 


MARJORIE: So he is a fake spiritual medium! Mr. Stevens was right about that. And I still say I'm right about the other thing. Whoever he is, Ravel killed Mr. Stevens!


BLAKE: But how and why?


MARJORIE: Oh, I don't know. This alleged detective -- did he tell you why he was masquerading as a medium in Monte Carlo? 


BLAKE: No. All I know is that we're in one sweet mess. We've left town without permission. They'll probably stop the train and send us back in a patrol wagon.


RAVEL: Oh, no, no, no, my friend. That won't be at all necessary. 


MARJORIE: (SHOCKED) Ravel!


RAVEL: Yes, Mademoiselle, Ravel or -- Flamande. (CHUCKLES) Well, since you know me as Ravel, call me that.


MARJORIE: You - you knew that I was on this train?


RAVEL: Well, naturally. 


BLAKE: Look here, old man. I kept quiet about you because you swore it was a matter of life and death, but will you answer a couple of questions now?


RAVEL: Oh, with pleasure.


BLAKE: Why did you pose as a medium?


RAVEL: Because the Monacan government employed me to trap a murderer. So I had to work -- how do you say? -- "under cover."

 

BLAKE: All right. Why was Toby Stevens killed?


RAVEL: Stevens was killed because he was a blackmailer. 


MARJORIE: A blackmailer?!


RAVEL: Yes, Mademoiselle. Does that surprise you?


MARJORIE: Yes. Oh, yes, of course. Very much.


RAVEL: I tried to warn Stevens, but the fool wouldn't listen. And then-- Well, I wasn't quick enough. Stevens was murdered, of course, by one of us four in the séance room. 


BLAKE: But - that's impossible!


RAVEL: Hm? Impossible? Oh, no. The trick was baffling because of its simplicity. 


MARJORIE: I'm sure you killed him!


RAVEL: (AMUSED) One moment, Mademoiselle. Let me show you what I mean by a trick baffling because it is so simple. Take, for example, the pencil outline drawn on a paper 'round the medium's shoes. Did Stevens tell you how I did that? 


MARJORIE: No. On this train two nights ago, he - he started to tell us, but--


BLAKE: --then he just stopped in the middle of it and left. 


RAVEL: (CHUCKLES) You see, the medium leaves his chair. Well, he makes tambourines rattle and ghost forms appear. Yet the pencil outline is not disturbed. How does he manage it? 


BLAKE: (BEAT) Well, how does he manage it?


RAVEL: Well, quite easily. He returns to his chair; he turns over the two pieces of paper; he takes another pencil, and draws an outline of his shoes on the reverse side of the paper. You look at it--


BLAKE: (REALIZES) --and imagine it's the same outline we drew! 


RAVEL: Precisely. So easily are people misled. And it was the same way with the murder. 


BLAKE: But there couldn't have been any trick about the murder. None of us left the circle. We were all clasping hands when we heard that scream. Don't you agree?


RAVEL: Hm? Oh, yes, I agree. 


MARJORIE: I can't stand this any longer. When we heard Mr. Stevens utter that horrible scream--


RAVEL: What makes you think it was Stevens who uttered that scream?  


SOUND: TRAIN WHISTLE SCREAMS, OFF


MARJORIE: I - I beg your pardon?


RAVEL: What makes you think it was Stevens who screamed? 


MARJORIE: Well, wasn't it?


RAVEL: Oh, you assumed it, yes. We all assumed it. But, up to that time, Stevens wasn't even hurt. 


MARJORIE: Wasn't hurt? 


RAVEL: You see, the source of sound cannot be located in the dark. It was the murderer who uttered that appalling cry. In the few seconds of darkness before the lights went on, the killer simply leaned across and drove that dagger into Stevens' chest. 


BLAKE: Can you prove that?


RAVEL: Yes. If Stevens had been hit at the time of the scream, blood would have blotted out the spot of luminous paint. Yet Marjorie Grey saw the paint shining after the scream. 


BLAKE: That's true, Marjorie. I heard you say so.


MARJORIE: You put the luminous paint there, Ravel! You were the only person who touched him! 


RAVEL: Oh, no. There was one other person who touched him.


BLAKE: Who was it? 


RAVEL: Another person, in full sight of you, said Stevens had spilled broth on his coat and swabbed at his chest with a handkerchief.


MARJORIE: You mean--?


RAVEL: I mean, of course, the real murderer. Your Aunt Hester!


MUSIC: BIG ACCENT


HESTER: (NO LONGER FLIGHTY; VERY HARD) Yes, Marjorie! Your Aunt Hester!


MARJORIE: Aunt Hester! 


HESTER: Keep back, all of you!


RAVEL: Oh. So you managed to find a revolver. 


HESTER: Marjorie, I poisoned your Uncle Paul. I poisoned my husband -- and Alex Stevens knew it! 


RAVEL: You can't get away, Madame! Keep away from that door!


HESTER: I never believed in spiritualism. I let myself be influenced by a medium because Alex Stevens would try to stop it. He was getting money out of me. He wanted no other influence. 


RAVEL: Don't open that door, Madame!


HESTER: But I am opening it!


SOUND: TRAIN DOOR OPENS


MARJORIE: Oh, Aunt Hester, don't!


HESTER: I told you I wasn't a fool as I looked! I had the knife in my handbag!


MARJORIE: Stop her, Ken! Stop her!


HESTER: (SCREAMS LIKE A WOMAN AS SHE LEAPS FROM TRAIN)


SOUND: TRAIN DOOR SWINGS SHUT


RAVEL: (BEAT, SOMBER) Well, Mademoiselle -- (QUIET CHUCKLE) -- she has committed many crimes, but now she has paid for them all. 


MUSIC: CURTAIN

 

NARRATOR: And so closes "The Moment of Darkness," starring Peter Lorre, Wendy Barrie, with George Zucco -- tonight's tale of--


MUSIC: KNIFE CHORD ... THEN THEME, IN BG ... UNTIL END


NARRATOR: --"Suspense." This is your narrator, The Man in Black, who conveys to you Columbia's invitation to spend this half hour in suspense with us again next Tuesday when Agnes Moorehead and Ray Collins will star in a study in terror titled "The Diary of Sophronia Winters." The producer of these broadcasts is William Spier, who with Ted Bliss, the director; Wilbur Hatch and Lucien Moraweck, conductor and composer; and John Dickson Carr, the author, collaborated on tonight's "Suspense."


ANNOUNCER: This is the Columbia Broadcasting System.


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