"Two or Three" Book Club, Meeting 78
Today we are back in the golden arms of the Golden Age. As soon as all the vintage sounds came rushing at me through the speakers, I settled back and felt at home. So at home that I didn't even mind that this episode turned out to be not technically Horror, but Mystery. I hope everyone else is okay with that, too.
I did feel a bit of a chill in the beginning, when John had everyone in the family worried about his dreams. It was such an odd coincidence that he should dream of dying at midnight, at midnight, and that the morning after he'd get a threatening phone call hinting that he would die at midnight. That his wife Clara was also so jittery added to the atmosphere. As someone who pays attention to her own dreams, and kind of wishes that others would too (Ha!), I was properly hooked.
It soon became evident, however, that human rather than supernatural forces were at play. Whom did you suspect of wanting to kill John? I confess that I thought it was Dwight. My suspicions were raised when he wanted to take the phone away when the (supposedly) double-dealing hit man called; but having listened to the play again, I wonder if I mistrusted him because we've heard something like his initial dismissive reaction to John's dream in this "listenalong" before. When you are in a Horror story, the people who say that monsters don't exist or that intuitions should be ignored are some of your worst enemies.
But in this case, the characters are not in a Horror story. I'm guessing that the original audience for The Whistler would have known that from the outset.
With no substantial horror elements on my hands, I find myself intrigued by the references to World War II. There are some nice "vintage" details, like the Prentisses not having a maid because the latter left to work in a factory for the "war effort," but I wonder whether the story itself was inspired by the times. Was the economy of the day, which would have been linked to the war, a source of despair for many? Would audiences have recognised John as a contemporary "type"?
What are your thoughts on Death Comes at Midnight?
1) Did you find the mystery satisfying?
2) What is your favourite supernatural story from wartime?
3) Have you ever had a dream that seemed to be a premonition of something?
I did extra research to make sure that our next play would be a Horror story: "The Mask of Medusa", starring Peter Lorre, from the show Mystery in the Air. Listen to it on My Old Radio, on Relic Radio, on Vimeo, or on YouTube.