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What is the name of Hanzel & Gretel's father in the 13 July 1947 section? (Answer at bottom of the page)
Just before his induction into the Army in May 1942, Will Eisner was able to write and pencil a few extra Spirit sections which could be published after he was working for the armed forces. One of these stories was published on 19 August 1942 as Crime Primer - M.U.R.D.E.R., which was finished and inked by Lou Fine.

The splash page

This is an unusual tale in that each page of the tale is full of alliteration, which when put together with the other pages spell out murder.

The second page of the section (after the splash page shown above) starts off like this:

The openining tier of the second page

Murdock was found to be a Major by The Spirit.

The next page finds Dolan questioning an unscrupulous underdog of the underworld called Umbrella Bill, who leads Dolan to find the villain Ugly Joe. Unfortunately The Spirit and Dolan come across Ugly Joe too late as he is unexpectedly shot dead!

On the following page we find Dolan returning to the scene of the crime. There, The Spirit recovers a piece of evidence: a rusty revolver, owned by Major Murdock. Heading back to Wildwood Cemetery to check his records, The Spirit finds that the revolver matches up with the shots fired at Rita Royce. Royce was renowned as a reckless blackmailer and the evidence seems to point at Murdock having shot Rita. Rita's brother was none other than Ugly Joe, whom Dolan suspects killed Murdock in revenge with a dagger.

Page five of the section sees The Spirit deciding to stage a drama whilst Dolan deduces who killed Ugly Joe.

The sixth page finds Ebony evacuating the hideout of Umbrella Bill as there seems to be evidence of a ghost:

Ohhh... some awful alliteration here!

Umbrella Bill explains that although he exterminated Ugly Joe, he had nothing to do with the murder of Murdock. Dolan reveals the cowled figure to be The Spirit.

The penultimate page finds the real Major Murdock turn up to reveal that he had been reported lost at Rowen some time ago where he suffered from a lapse of memory until recently. His rascally twin brother took his place and ruined Major Murdock's reputation. The Major, in a fit of desperation, tried to kill his twin brother first by firing the revolver at him, but unfortunately Rita took the shot for him. Trying again with the dagger, the Major succeeded in killing his brother.

The case solved, Dolan returns home to find that Ellen has made him a nice bowl of alphabet soup!

A fun story, although Eisner certainly pushes some of the alliterations (see the images with Ebony above!).

Dolan has had enough

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