The Ghost With Nine Fingers", a THREE LOVE A MYSTERY radio play, is copyright 1999/2000 by Brian Christopher Misiaszek.
and Bells Effect)
Old-Time Radio presents, "Three Love A Mystery"
(Organ Theme...VALSE TRISTE)
“Three Love Mystery,” presenting latest adventures of Jack, Doc and Reggie,
specialists in Crime and Adventure, trailing a killer from beyond the grave!
(MUSIC UP TO FINISH) (TRAIN
The Ghost with Nine Fingers. A new Brian Christopher Misiaszek mystery-adventure
(Organ Theme...VALSE TRISTE)
(CLOCK STRIKES EIGHT)
It evening in room 407 of the hotel
where Lester Brown, and his assistant,
Nasha are staying, in Hollywood California.
Jack Packard, the head of the Triple A One detective agency insisted they
come here by taxi cab to recover from their misadventures early this evening
inside the Orpheum Theatre, where they had been rehearsing their magical stage
act. Jack and his two companions,
Doc Long and Reggie York (both elsewhere at the moment), had intruded on the
rehearsal, and it was a good thing they did, for they thwarted an attempt on
Nasha's life. How they arrived at
the Orpheum was a little complicated, as Jack can explain.
Yes, we were on what I thought at first was a wild goose chase.
Doc had spotted from our office window someone who appeared to be an old
and dangerous enemy of ours, a man known only as the Maestro.
The Maestro was a stage magician, one both incredibly obese and ugly, who
nonetheless controlled amazing powers of illusion and hypnotism.
His partner then was a young foreign woman named Nasha, who was
completely and utterly in his power. With
Nasha's unwilling help, the Maestro had plotted to steal twenty-five thousand
dollars of ours, and to kill myself, Reggie and Doc to obscure the crime. With
luck, we managed to turn the tables on the Maestro and have him arrested by the
authorities and sentenced with life imprisonment for the earlier murder of one
of his partners in crime.
Early this evening, however, Doc thought that he had seen the Maestro
outside a local vaudeville theatre and to placate him I called police HQ, and
learned to my surprise that the Maestro had perished some weeks before,
seemingly having starved himself to death.
Only half convinced of the necessity, I allowed Doc and Reggie to take me
along to look inside the Orpheum, where we found Nasha along with a man who
appeared to be the Maestro inside.
(Hearty laugh) That was myself, though I am known as Mephisto, certainly a
name that would conjure more mystery and glamour than my real name, Lester
Brown! I am a stage magician by trade, and after hiring the late Maestro's stage
assistant, Nasha to be my own partner, I had adopted a stage appearance very
similar to that of the late but unlamented Maestro. With Nasha's help, and with
some of the Maestro's old equipment, we came up with an impressive act which
gathered critical acclaim down in San Diego.
(Hearty laugh again) I'm only lucky that I have all 10 of
my fingers, unlike the Maestro, otherwise things could have been a little
tonight, after Mehphisto had received several threatening letters by someone who
signed themselves impossibly as the Maestro, disaster struck.
A mysterious gunman, shot at Nasha from a catwalk high in the theatre.
Luck held with the Maestro's former assistant, for the bullet only grazed
her, but the gunman himself was less lucky with the Three Comrades being on the
from the theatre, the would-be killer darted out into traffic without looking,
and was struck and killed by a passing taxi cab.
Unable to ignore this very real manifestation of threatened death,
Mephisto has tonight hired the Triple A One Detective agency to guard both
himself and Nasha and find out who is behind everything.
(Rain fall, with occasional thunder rumbling, etc.)
It's now eight o'clock. And while Doc and Reggie were attending a
previous engagement with their friend Sunny Richards and her new ward, Hermie
Richards, Jack was both acting as bodyguard and questioner to Lester Brown,
alias the Maestro.
Nasha, already bandaged by Jack, is resting in the next room, with the
adjoining door open.
(Loud roll of thunder rumbling and gobbling)
JACK: You need to think harder,
Brown. I don't know enough about
the situation we're dealing with…threatening notes supposedly signed by a dead
man…hired gunmen…What I need is some hard facts. Real information, if I am to help you and Nasha.
What kind of information would you need from me
JACK: Well, first of all, lets go back to the beginning. Just how did you get
the Opheum Theatre engagement here in Hollywood?
BROWN: (Doubtfully) I don't know
how that can help you about these death threats signed by the Maestro, or
tonight's events for that matter…
JACK: Just humour me for the moment, if you would.
BROWN: (Still doubtful) Well…if you insist…
JACK: (Firmly) I do.
BROWN: Alright then…(SIGH)…I was approached by the man who eventually became
my business partner and manager, Burt Harvey, down in San Diego, after he saw my
show there. He saw my act, loved
what he saw, and said he knew a theatre owner up here in Hollywood whose stage
would house my show beautifully, so here we are!
JACK: (Sharply) Eventually became your manager?
You mean, you didn't have a manager before this.
BROWN: Oh no. I let my former
manager, Nathan White go.
JACK: (Even sharper) May I ask why?
BROWN: Certainly. White didn't care
for the way I was restyling myself as Mephisto, and changing the act to
accommodate Nasha, and everything she taught me about the Maestro's old act. (PAUSE)…To be honest, he felt I showed bad taste in
essentially taking over the stage persona of a convicted killer.
JACK: And do YOU think you are showing bad taste?
BROWN: (Flatly) No. I believe you
can separate a man from his art. The
Maestro may have been a ice-hearted killer, but he WAS a genius at his craft.
JACK: Okay, okay…was there any other reason for dropping your old manager?
be honest, I felt he was holding me back from my true potential. He in turn thought I was being too ambitious, especially when
I learned from Burt Harvey that I had a chance for fame as an entertainer her in
Hollywood. Nonetheless, we parted
more or less amicably.
JACK: Mmm…Let's put that aside for the minute. What can you tell me about
Burt Harvey, your current manager, then?
a great deal, to be honest. He's a
tall middle-aged man, balding, with only a fringe of dark hair left. I'm afraid
I don't know much about him, since we work on a strictly business basis.
JACK: Is he an established entertainment promoter or impresario then?
BROWN: (Slowly) No…from what I gather, he is merely a Hollywood businessman,
one with interests in real-estate and automobiles.
I rather felt that by sponsoring me he was gaining a foothold into the
JACK: Hmm…What exactly is the nature of your business relationship, if I can
BROWN: Well, Burt Harvey has arranged with the theatre owner, Max Greenway, to
rent the Orpheum at a reduced rate for a two week period.
Greenway will pay for stage-hands, arrange the orchestra, hire ushers,
etc, in return for 20% of the ticket sales.
JACK: And what does Mr. Harvey contribute?
BROWN: He arranged the ticket sales, newspaper and radio advertising, sent out press
releases, paid for our hotel rooms and meals up front, and also paid for renting the Orpheum itself, in return for 40% of the
JACK: That doesn't seem like a lot left for you, Brown.
BROWN: On the contrary, it's better than I made while in San Diego.
Despite my recent popularity in San Diego, I am an unknown element here
in Hollywood, Mr. Packard. Burt
Harvey is taking a chance, even though I know I will succeed…And, as you can
see when I remove my padded suit and make-up, I am still a relatively young man.
JACK: (Slowly) Yes, you look to be in your early thirties without your
BROWN: You have a keen eye, Mr. Packard. I
am 34 years old.
Thanks, but we're getting sidetracked here…what happens if you obey
those threatening messages, and cancel
your show here?
BROWN: (Flatly) It would be an unmitigated disaster.
BROWN: My blossoming magical career would be ruined, and I would be forced back
to performing small magical tricks table to table in nightclubs, just to pay the
rent. I would be forced to realize
that my dreams of the big time would stay only that, dreams. That's why, as
scared as I am, that I'm willing to go on.
And that's why you wanted to hire Doc, Reggie and me.
BROWN: Right. I CAN'T give up this
opportunity for success, Mr. Packard. It
is only through the Burt Harvey's help have I had a chance to have such a
spacious venue to show my hard earned magical skills to the world.
If I lost this chance…I don't know what I would do.
Would you lose a great deal of money if the show was cancelled.
have no real money to lose, Mr. Packard, (Hearty laugh)
But have no fear, I have enough to pay you and your firm, at least for a
week. No, my sole contribution to
the venture was the magical act Nasha and I have come up with, along with all my
magical equipment and--
That must be my reply from Police Headquarters. (Off mike)
Let me get it,…and don’t go near that window, whatever you do!
of phone receiver)
Jack Packard here. (Pause) Why,
hello Captain Dane. Thanks for
getting back to me so promptly. (Pause)
So you have a positive ID of that man who was run over by the taxi near
the Orpheum, hey? (Pause) Only a
tentative one? (Longer
Pause)…What? You can't be
serious, can you Dane? (Pause)
I see…I can see why you are so upset, I would be too in your shoes.
(Pause) Yes, I'll be down
tomorrow morning to sign my statement. (Pause)
Judge McLarty wants me to call him, too? (Pause)
I didn't know he had retired (Pause) Stroke…I
see…Yes, I will. Good-bye, Captain Dane.
look…surprised, I suppose is the word, Mr. Packard.
(GRIMLY) That isn't the half
of it…(Pause)…Is Nasha still sleeping:
BROWN: (Surprised, lower voice) Why,
let me get up and look.
SOUND (Footsteps, and creak of door)
Yes, she's asleep.
Are you dead certain she's asleep?
BROWN: (Lower voice) Yes, I could see her lying on her side on the bed with the
covers up, breathing easily and slowly. But
what did you learn just now?
(Grimly, lower voice) Keep
your voice down, I don't want to wake her. They've identified the man, all
right. The same man who shot Nasha,
then ran out and got himself killed tonight after Doc and I chased him.
(Lower voice) Yes, go on. Who
(Lower voice) His name was Gus Norman, known as "Scar" because
of an acid scar disfiguring his face. He
was a hired thug, with a record of violent crime as long as your arm.
Mostly cowardly crimes against women…(Pause)…He was also a felon, or
(Puzzled, but still in a lower voice) Was a felon?
I don't get you, Packard.
I say WAS a felon, for he supposedly died six days ago in the very same
prison the Maestro died in…
(Thunder rumbling, then PAUSE)
fall, with occasional thunder rumbling, etc.)
It is now Nine-o-clock in the evening at Sunny Richard’s house, the very
beautiful and very rich heiress well known to the three members of the Triple
A-One Detective agency. Dining with her late this evening as promised are two of
the three members of the agency, the lanky legged and red headed Doc Long, and
the young tow-headed English Hercules, Reggie York. The two, along with their
absent partner, Jack Packard, had met the blonde heiress on a previous trip to
San Diego, where they had uncovered and destroyed a terribly conspiracy
surrounding the young woman. Later on, Sunny and the young stowaway Hermie
traveled with the boys down to Central America, where they experienced murder
and mayhem in the Temple of Vampires down in Nicaragua before finally repairing
their crashed plane and returning again to the United States.
and Reggie had arrived late for dinner, but there was good reason.
They have delayed their explanations to the curious Sunny, and her even
more impatiently curious ward Hermie until after dessert has been served.
Boy-o-boy, was that a delicious meal.
And now, Strawberry Short-cake, mmm mmm! My favorite!
And that’s my cake, too! While
Jackson’s wife prepared the rest of the meal, that cake was courtesy of myself
and Hermie here.
I helped frosted it, too, fellas!
I’m good at frosting cakes, ain’t I, Sunny?
That’s "frost" and
“aren’t I” Hermie, not "frosted" and "ain’t I".
But you did help a great deal, just like I said!
(clatter of forks against plates, etc.)
I say, (swallowing) This is delicious!
But strawberries in November? Isn’t
that a little extravagant, Sunny?
Well, they're just hot-house strawberries.
And I have to spend some of the money I finally control on the good
things in life.
And Sunny, as the only red-blooded Texan in the room, I have to say that
you’re one best of the good things in life!
(Delighted laugh) But you aren’t
the only Texan in this room, Doc. Little
Hermie here’s from Texas too, aren’t you Hermie.
I sure am! (confused) At
least, I think I am, aren’t I?
Hermie, after all you went through with us down south in Central America,
I’m sure that Texas would be proud to have you as one of her own, even if you
weren’t born in the Lone Star State!
And I agree with Doc, Young Hermie fella-me-lad!
Thank's fellas! Gee, you're a bunch of right guys!
(Laughter all around, then a pause)
(Yelp of surprise) Hey…! What
SOUND (Clatter of cutlery on
SUNNY: Doc! Doc, what
I dunno! There's something
(Exertion) under the table grabbing my pant-leg.
SOUND: (Tearing of cloth)
REGGIE: Here, let me duck under the
not human! Hurry, Reggie. It's
gnawing on my shin now!
SOUND: (Clatter of chairs being
boys! What is it?
HERMIE: (Yelling) Wait, Doc! Wait Reggie!
REGGIE: Here, wait…a second, it's
dark under here…
(Off mike) Reggie? I'm free
now! 'Kin you get a swing at it,
Oh Doc…it's only…
SOUND (A puppy
HERMIE: SCRAPS…here boy!…that's my
puppy, Scraps, Reggie! Please don't
hurt him Doc. He didn't mean to
SUNNY: (Threateningly) Hermie…
Don't worry Hermie. And
don't worry Scraps, you're safe in my arms…(AMUSED) Look here, Doc, here's
SOUND (ARF ARF!)
DOC: Was that what
was a-fightin' me?
REGGIE: Yes, that's what was chewing on your pant leg!
Funny ain't it! Scared of a
little puppy dog!
SOUND (Puppy barking happily again)
Oh, Doc, your poor pant leg is all torn… (Threatening) What did I tell
you about Scraps, Hermie?
HERMIE: (Solemn) Sunny, I'm
sorry…you're not mad at me, are you?
where did Hermie get his dog from?
SUNNY: Scraps has just
been here a few weeks. Hermie and I
were passing by the front window of a pet store, and saw him there (faltering)
and he looked so adorable and Hermie wanted him so…
REGGIE: Oh, look here, Sunny.
Don't holler at the little shaver; he was just afraid his puppy would get lonely
over dinner. You have to admit the
two of them had been awfully good
throughout the meal.
Sunny…Don't blame the kid…I was just wound up about tonight…though I
didn't know that Hermie had a new friend living here.
(Trying not to laugh) 'Course
I'm not mad at you, Hermie, but look what Scraps did to poor Doc's trousers.
You should have left Scraps down in the cellar like I told you too.
HERMIE: (Earnestly) I'm sorry, Sunny. And
I'm sorry about your clothes, Doc. Scraps is my new dog, and he still has to
learn a lot about big people.
DOC: Don't worry about that, Hermie. It
serves me right for being on edge and all. I'm just glad Jack wasn't here to
ride me, too!
And that's another thing. I know
it’s too bad that Jack couldn’t make it tonight.
Why wouldn’t you tell me until after we finished dinner, boys?
On account little pitchers have big ears, if you catch our meaning, Sunny...
Oh! (Pause, then
comprehension) I see. Hermie...Hermie!
You remember what I said earlier; as soon as dessert was over, up you’d
scoot into bed. I think with our
adventure with Scraps here tonight that you've had enough dessert for one
evening, don't you think?
Aw, gee-whiz, do I have to go to? I
want to stay up with Doc and Reggie! I
want to hear what they have to say!
No buts about it young man, up
(Reluctant) Aw, Sunny…Doc hasn’t had a chance to really see the
tricks that I've taught Scraps to do, even...
Hermie...you heard me. Doc
can see the rest of Scraps on some other visit.
It’s way past your bedtime, and I only let you stay up so late since it
wasn’t a school night.
Oh, all right…(pause, then off mike) Goodnight Doc.
Goodnight Hermie/’Night pardner.
'Night, Hermie. You march right up,
and before long I’ll be in to tuck you in.
'Kay, then. (off) Night...
(Footsteps scamper off, then a Pause)
Whew! And if you thought fighting
vampires is tough, trying being the mother to a over active eight year old
little boy and his new puppy!
(emphatically) Nursemaid to a bally infant...brrr!
Reggie! Shame on you!
You watch what you say!
Sorry (dirty laugh).
(Grimly) And I know what that dirty laugh means, too!
Oh, don’t mind Reggie, Sunny. The Kid’s barely out of the egg
And that’s something I’ll be happy to drink too, staying young,
unblemished and in the egg. Cheers,
(tinkle of glasses, gurgle of liquid, then three sighs)
Can I freshen up anyone’s drink.
Sure thing, sugar; here’s my glass.
Not for me, Sunny…I'm taking over guard duty from Jack tonight.
(pouring liquid into glass)
So Sunny; you mentioned you’re flying again?
DOC: Yeah, tell us,
sweet-stuff, about how you've been doing with your very
SUNNY: Oh no you two don’t.
(surprised) I say, whatever do you mean, Sunny?
(Firmly) It’s as plain as the nose on your face...trying to change the topic
all evening about why Jack isn’t here, why Doc and you arrived hours late, and
why Doc was soaking wet and had a skinned knuckle when he did get here with
(back-peddling furiously) I don’t know what you mean, Sunny.
Naturally I’m curious about your adopting Hermie, and how well he’s
doing at school, and the new puppy you bought him last week and...
Oh, you two are impossible. Are
you going to tell me what happened tonight, or am I going to explode with the
suspense. (pause) Well, don’t
just look there at each other like goggle-eyed fish.
You start telling me, Doc, what got the two of you excited and distracted
SOUND (Telephone ringing)
Oh bother…I forgot that I had let Jackson and his wife off for the
night (Off Mike) I'll be back in a
SOUND (Footsteps, telephone ringing, then both stop together)
REGGIE: Whew, saved by the bell
It’s like I told you before, you’re just a sucker for women...
(High-heeled footsteps returning)
That was Jack on the telephone, boys.
And he wanted me to pass on a message to the two of you.
DOC: So, why look so serious, sugar-foot? Spill what you have to say?
REGGIE: Yes, what was Jack's
SUNNY: I wrote most of it down.
(Reading) "Reggie is to leave immediately to take my place to guard
Mephisto and Nasha at room 407 of the hotel."
I say, that means an early end to our evening, Sunny.
Did Jack say why he changed his plans?
SUNNY: (Peculiar voice) No, he didn't. But that's not the end of Jack's message. He also said, (Reading) "Tell Doc to head over at once to Judge McLarty's place at 1034 West Canyon Road, I'll meet him there at ten o'clock. The Maestro's written another death threat from beyond the grave!"
SOUND (Organ Theme...VALSE TRISTE)
SOUND (WAILING LOCOMOTIVE, followed by SCREECHING CAR)
ANNCR: You have just heard the fourth chapter of "The Ghost With Nine Fingers." The further adventures of the Jack, Doc and Reggie and the A-One Detective Agency will come to you tomorrow at this same hour. Three Love A Mystery, by Brian Christopher Misiaszek comes to you Monday to Friday through the courtesy of Old Time Radio. This is the Unusual Broadcasting Company.