Generic Radio Workshop Script Library (BACK)

Series: Suspense
Show: The ABC Murders
Date: May 18 1943

FX:

Suspense intro music ? continue under Announcer

ANNCR:

Suspense,

FX:

Music

ANNCR:

Now here is the Man in Black, for the Roma Wine Company from Fresno, California, to introduce this weekly half-hour of...Suspense.

MIB:

Our distinguished stars tonight are two of the world's acknowledged masters of the art of suspense. They are Mr. Charles Lawton and Miss Elsa Lanchester. Mr. Lawton, who will soon be seen in the Metro Goldwyn Mayer picture "The Man From Down Under", is here to play a remarkable character, created by England's noted thriller author, Agatha Christie. A mild-mannered character whose initials were ABC and about whom revolved a series of savage murders all neatly and alphabetically arranged. ABC was stamped upon all his belongings, those being his rightful initials. And ABC was stamped too, upon the large railway timetable he always carried. But there was nothing so odd about that detail since no traveler in the British Isles would dream of planning a journey without consulting this famous railway schedule, the ABC. And so with the ABC Murders by Agatha Christie, written for radio by Robert Tallman and William Spear and with the performance of Charles Lawton we again hope to keep you in...

FX:

MUSIC

MIB:

Suspense!

FX:

Ringing Bell ? Music under announcer

MIB:

When the time for closing bell rang in the Public Library, Alexander Bonepart Cust started, picked up his battered briefcase with the almost faded initials ABC, closed the book he had been reading

FX:

FOOT STEPS TO DESK

ANN:

and shuffled over to the librarian's desk.

ABC:

Um, It's a most interesting book, Librarian. I should like to come back sometime and read another chapter of it if I may.

LIB:

Quite. Yes, Mr. Clark. Can I help you sir?

CLARK:

No Hurry.

ABC:

Well, I'll be going along now. Thank you.

FX:

FOOT STEPS AWAY

LIB:

Rum little chap that. What do you think he was reading. "Studies in Epileptic Somnambulism".

CLARK:

Medical stuff, eh? Oh, I say, the little fellow left his briefcase. I'll catch him at the door.

FX:

STEPS HURRYING AWAY

CLARK:

I say sir. Just a moment. You left something.

ABC:

Oh dear, it's my briefcase. I'm terribly sorry. I seem to be getting more and more forgetful lately. Tsk, Tsk. Why the other day I left it on the counter in a tobacco shop.

CLARK:

Lucky you have those initials. Not many people with the initials ABC. Sticks in your mind.

ABC:

What do you mean by that sir?

CLARK:

Well after all they are the first three letters of the alphabet. Practically the first thing we learn, you know. Isn't it? Our ABC's.

ABC:

Don't mention those letters to me. They've brought bad luck to me in more ways than one.

CLARK:

Really, how's that?

ABC:

Well, I used to be a traveling salesman and I used to carry one of those railway timetables in my pocket, the kind in which they list the towns and all the railroads alphabetically.

CLARK:

Oh, Of course. Printed right on the cover, isn't it? ABC

ABC:

Yes, that's right. Well, stockings was my line sir. I did door to door selling. Whenever I finished one town out would come that timetable and I would look up the next stop on my route. I got sick of the sight of it, ABC Railway Guide. I can tell you, sir. It was like a symbol of failure to me. One dingy little town after another and all listed in that railway guide with ABC printed on the cover. My own initials staring out at me from every newsstand and every dirty little railroad station in the midlands.

CLARK:

Oh, Come on. It couldn't have been as bad as all that.

ABC:

Matter of fact, I never noticed it 'til I began to get the headaches.

CLARK:

Oh, you suffer from headaches?

ABC:

Yes.

CLARK:

Hum. Have you seen a doctor about it?

ABC:

Oh, no, no. I wouldn't want to see a doctor about it. I already know what brings them on.

CLARK:

Really, If you'd rather not talk about it.

ABC:

Oh, no, no. It isn't that at all sir. I was just such a long time ago. During the last war in fact. Chateau Thiere.

CLARK:

Chateau Thiere. Oh, I see. What a coincidence. I was in the thick of that myself.

ABC:

Were you, sir?

CLARK:

Yes, we must get together for a drink one day. Talk over old times. Franklin Clark is my name.

ABC:

Oh, I'm pleased to meet you, Mr. Clark. My name's Cust. Alexander Bonepart Cust.

CLARK:

Oh, they must have expected great things of you giving you a name like that.

ABC:

I'm afraid they did, Mr. Clark, yes.

FX:

MUSIC UNDER

ABC:

Oh, I'm very much afraid they did.

FX:

MUSIC UP

FX:

DOOR KNOCKING

MISS:

Mr. Cust?

FX:

KNOCKING:

MISS:

Oh, Mr. Cust.

ABC:

Who is It?

MISS:

It's me, Mr. Cust. I've brought you up a spot of tea.

FX:

DOOR OPENING

ABC:

Oh, It's you, Miss Marbury. That was very thoughtful of you. (Chuckle)

MISS:

Oh, nonsense. You know mother dotes on you. You're her favorite lodger. In fact... why, Mr. Cust. You're packing your things. You're not leaving us, are you?

ABC:

Oh, no. I'm just taking a little trip. Over the bank holiday you know.

MISS:

Now, now. Don't try to deceive me, Mr. Cust. You're embarrassed. About owing us, aren't you.

ABC:

No.

MISS:

You needn't be, Mr. Cust. Really, you needn't be.

ABC:

You are a nice girl, Miss Marbury. You really are a nice girl. As a matter of fact, I'm not going just on the bank holiday, I've something rather important. Some very important matters to take care of.

MISS:

OH, hum.

ABC:

You know it's very possible that my mother didn't have me christened Alexander Bonepart Cust for nothing.

MISS:

Oh, have you got a position, Mr. Cust?

ABC:

Well,

MISS:

What is it?

ABC:

Well.

MISS:

Come, Mr. Cust , you can tell me, can't you?

ABC:

Well, Miss Lilly, I can tell you this much. I shall be traveling quite a lot.

MISS:

Oh

ABC:

In fact. Where did I leave that ABC railroad guide? Oh yes, here it is. First stop, Andover.

MISS:

Andover? That's not very far.

ABC:

No, no, no, but I must be getting on if I don't want to miss that train.

FX:

LOCKS CLOSE ON SUITCASE

ABC:

Now let me see. Have I got everything? There's me spectacles, and me overcoat and me typewriter. Me walking stick. Did I ever tell you the history of this walking stick, Miss Marbury?

MISS:

No.

ABC:

It's a Scottish piece. Very old.

MISS:

Ah.

ABC:

It's so old, it's antique. You know they used to kill people with these back in the days of the old clan wars in Scotland. Oh, I wonder how many heads this one has bashed in. Oooooh.

MISS:

(Giggle) Mr. Cust. Oh please, what a terrible way to talk.

ABC:

Yes, I'm sorry Miss Marbury. I am a little bit surprised at myself talking like that. It must be my new job. It's gone to my head a bit. That's it. It's gone to me head.

FX:

MUSIC UNDER

ABC:

Have you got an aspirin, by any chance? I've got an awful ...

FX:

MUSIC UP

FX:

DOOR OPEN, FOOT STEPS

ASHER:

Yes, gentlemen. What'll it be?

INSP :

Packet of Gold Flicks for me.

ASHER:

Yes sir. And the other gentlemen?

MAC:

Three Havana's. The shilling cigars.

ASHER:

Havana's. You gentlemen must be up from London.

INSP:

That's right. Is that your name on the window of this shop?

ASHER:

That's right sir. Olivia Asher. Been in business right here in Andover and right here in St. Andrew's place for 20 years.

MAC:

Hum. All A's. Andover, St. Andrew's Place and Asher.

ASHER:

Funny, ain't it. It never so much as crossed me mind before.

INSP:

Well, Mrs. Asher, we're from Scotland Yard. We have reason to believe that there may be a homicidal maniac at large in Andover.

ASHER:

Gor blimey.

INSP:

We don't want to frighten you Mrs. Asher. For all we know this may be just a practical joke. You see, we received an anonymous letter. Typewritten and signed ABC.

ASHER:

ABC?

INSP:

This murderer, if there is anything in his story, is planning a series of murders. His mania seems to be centered on the alphabet. If he follows his plan through, his first murder will be committed in Andover and the victim will be a person whose name begins with an A.

ASHER:

The Lord help me sir. You don't think...

MAC:

We don't think anything. Scotland Yard has taken its precautions.

ASHER:

Oh, A woman takes a terrible chance.

INSP:

There's probably nothing to be alarmed about, but it won't hurt to keep a sharp look out. Whose next on your list McKenzie.

MAC:

Next is Arthur Atwood.

FX:

FOOTSTEPS

INSP:

Alright, let's be on our way then. Good Day, Madam.

MAC:

(Off mike) : Don't Worry.

ASHER:

Thank you, sir. And good day to you, sir.

FX:

DOOR OPEN, BELL SOUND, DOOR CLOSE

ASHER:

A murderin' lunatic. In Andover of all places.

FX:

DOOR OPEN, BELL SOUND, DOOR CLOSE, FOOTSTEPS

ASHER:

Yes, sir, what'll it be for you, sir?

FX:

TAP ON GLASS

ASHER:

These?

FX:

CASE DOOR SLIDING OPEN AND CLOSE

ASHER:

That'll be one and six sir. I said that'll be... Oh, no, no, no! (Scream)

FX:

MUSIC UP

FX:

MUSIC UNDER NEWSPAPER VENDOR

NEWS:

Six-Thirty newspaper!! Sensational Homicidal Maniac in Andover. Alphabet murderer to strike next in Bexville. Latest on ABC.

ABC:

Oh Boy, let me have one of those.

NEWS:

Oh, yes. News or Standard sir.

ABC:

Both, here you are.

NEWS:

Oh, Thank you sir. Six-thirty newspaper. Sensational (fading off) homicidal maniac strikes again...

MAN:

Nasty business, eh, Mister?

ABC:

Oh, Yes. Very, very.

MAN:

You never know with lunatics. They don't always look balmy, you know. Sometimes they look the same as you or me.

ABC:

Eh. Yes, I suppose they do.

MAN:

Oh, it's a fact. Sometimes it's the war unhinged him. Never been right since.

ABC:

Yes, I expect you're right.

MAN:

You know, I don't hold with wars. I hope this will be the last.

ABC:

You don't hold with wars. Well, young man, I don't hold with plague and sleeping sickness and famine and cancer, but they happen all the same. And murder happens all the same. They can't prevent them.

MAN:

I'm sorry sir, I expect you had a rocky time of it in the last one, eh?

ABC:

Yes, yes. My poor head's never been the same since. I get terrible headaches.

MAN:

Oh, well, I'm sorry about that sir.

ABC:

Sometimes, I hardly know what I'm doing.

MAN:

You don't say.

ABC:

I forget things. You know for instance I could have sworn I had an ABC railway guide in my pocket an hour ago.

MAN:

Do you know they found one of them ABC railway guides on the poor tobacconist lady that he murdered.

ABC:

Who?

MAN:

See, ABC whoever he is. Maybe he don't know himself. Ever stop to think of that. Maybe he's so balmy he don't remember.

ABC:

I wonder.

TRAIN:

Train for Waddington, Dorchester and Bexel

ABC:

Bexel? Bexel? Did he say Bexel? That's my train, Well,

Good-bye young man.

MAN:

Good-bye.

FX:

MUSIC UP (TRAVELLING MUSIC)

NEWS:

Six-thirty newspapers. Sensational homicidal lunatic to strike again. Police tracking typewriter on which murder notes were written. To strike at Bexel. (fade off) Latest on ABC alphabet murderer...

FX:

MUSIC UP (DRAMATIC)

FX:

RESTAURANT SOUNDS

Mary B:

May I have your order, sir?

ABC:

Well, I don't think I'll have ham, I had it for breakfast. I think I'll have the mutton pie.

Mary B:

One mutton pie. Yes, sir.

ABC:

What's the matter with you, you're trembling, young woman? Is something wrong?

Mary B:

Oh, sir. If you only knew. I have to walk home tonight. After they close up here and there's hardly a light in Benson Terrace where I live.

ABC:

Benson Terrace in Bexel.

Mary B:

Yes, sir.

ABC:

You're afraid of the ABC murderer, aren't you?

Mary B:

He follows the alphabet, don't he. That was the way he done in Andover.

ABC:

Aye. And does your name begin with a B?

Mary B:

Barnard's my name. Mary Barnard.

ABC:

Oh, dear me, Miss Barnard. Well, I don't like to appear forward. Well, anyway, I'm old enough to be your father. Would it make you feel easier if I saw you home tonight?

Mary B:

Oh, you don't know, sir. You just don't know what it would mean.

ABC:

Well, what time do they close up here?

Mary B:

9 o'clock.

ABC:

All right. I'll wait outside for you.

FX:

DRAMATIC MUSIC

ABC:

At 9 o'clock?

Mary B:

All right.:

MUSIC:

break for Commercial

ANNCR:

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FX:

MUSIC UP ? TRAVELING MUSIC

NEWS:

Latest! Waitress brutally murdered in Bexel. ABC Strikes again. Here you are, sir. Scotland Yard received third murder note. Alphabet murderer to strike again in Churston...

FX:

DRAMATIC MUSIC

TRAIN:

Yes, sir?

ABC:

Third class, single, to Churston.

FX:

DRAMATIC MUSIC UP

ABC:

Give me a pint of half and half, please.

BAR:

Yes, sir.

FX:

BAR SOUNDS

BAR:

There you are, sir. You up from London, sir?

ABC:

Er. Yes. I come directly from London.

BAR:

Eh. Salesman?

ABC:

Stockings is my line.

BAR:

Rough going these days, what with rationing, eh?

CLARK:

Well, Well, Well. If it isn't my old friend Alexander Bonepart Cust.

ABC:

I'm sorry, I'm afraid I don't remember you.

CLARK:

We met in the library, remember?

ABC:

Oh.

CLARK:

In London, Yes. Had quite a talk.

ABC:

Yes.

CLARK:

Franklin Clark, remember.

ABC:

Yes, of course. You'll forgive me Mr. Clark. My memory. It seems to be getting worse and worse.

CLARK:

You must have come under better times, Mr. Cust. New briefcase I see. Nice bright new initials.

ABC:

Well, I got a job shortly after I saw you Mr. Clark, from Ballinger, Ltd., stockings my old line, you know. But to tell you the truth, I haven't been doing very well.

CLARK:

Oh. Those headaches again?

ABC:

Yes, the headaches. And the murders. The murders have upset me something terrible.

CLARK:

Oh, why you're shaking like a leaf, man.

ABC:

Oh.:

CLARK:

Hey, Jonathan. A brandy for Mr. Cust. He needs it.

ABC:

Thank you, sir.

CLARK:

The trouble with you, Cust, is you're inclined to be morbid. I remember that book you were reading the day we met. Stuff about epilepsy.

ABC:

Well, it might be epilepsy, mightn't it?

CLARK:

What?

ABC:

Well, they discharged me from the army before the war ended. You see, I had kind of a fit, you know.

CLARK:

Never had anything like it again, have you?

ABC:

No, I didn't have a fit again. Just the headaches. I forget what happens, hours at a time. Do you know once I was sitting in a station waiting room and a newsboy came by and I bought a paper from him and it was all about that first murder in Andover. It said the police had got another note. Another typewritten note, Mr. Clark, and the murderer was going to strike next in Bexel and suddenly I realized I was in Bexel.

CLARK:

Hum.

ABC:

And I'd been in Andover the day before when the first murder happened.

CLARK:

Well, how did you happen to go from Andover from Bexel?

ABC:

Well, that's the way I'm supposed to go on my route. Selling the stockings. I'm supposed to take the towns alphabetically.

CLARK:

Oh, well, then. It's not so surprising you should have been in Bexel after all, is it? Just a coincidence.

ABC:

Well, the waitress in Bexel then I walked home with her that night, Mr. Clark. The night she was murdered.

CLARK:

Well good heavens, Cust. You don't think you killed Mary Barnard, do you?

ABC:

I don't know, Mr. Clark. It said in that book that people who have had epileptic fits often do things and don't remember them. They even commit crimes. I said goodnight to her and after that I don't know what happened.

CLARK:

The notes, those typewritten notes. Wouldn't you have remembered if you had written them?

ABC:

I don't know.

CLARK:

Well, I know a little something about psychology myself, Cust. And I'd stake everything I owned on the fact that the man who wrote those notes, was conscious of what he was doing.

ABC:

Do you really think so, Mr. Clark?

CLARK:

Positive of it. Now pull yourself together, man. Incidentally, my sister in law lives here in Chester. My brother is Lord Cameron Clark.

ABC:

Oh.

CLARK :

and I happen to know she needs some new stockings.

ABC:

Oh.

CLARK:

Pop over there in the morning, will you, and show the old girl your line?

ABC:

Huh.

CLARK:

Here, here's the address. Might cheer you up to make a good sale.

ABC:

Oh, I'm sure it would Mr. Clark. I'm sure it would. Well good night, Mr. Clark.

FX:

CHAIR MOVING ON FLOOR

ABC:

And thank you again for all your kindness, I'm sure, sir.

CLARK:

Good night, good night. Oh wait a minute!

FX:

CHAIR MOVING ON FLOOR

CLARK:

You've forgotten something again.

ABC:

Oh dear me, that's my typewriter. I shall certainly need that.

FX:

SUSPENSE MUSIC

CLARK:

Oh?

ABC:

Well, as to type up my report to the home office in case I should make that sale tomorrow.

FX:

MUSIC UP

CLARK:

Oh, of course. Oh, yes, yes. By the way, Cust. Better watch out. Somebody in Churston is going to be murdered tomorrow.

ABC:

Heh?

CLARK:

Old ABC is up to the letter C you know. And your name is Cust.

ABC:

Oh.

CLARK:

Oh, I say, mine is Clark.

ABC:

Oh.

CLARK:

(Laughs)

FX:

MUSIC UP

ABC:

Well, thank you again for your generous order, Lady Clark, I hope you'll be pleased. This line of woolen lined stockings is one of Ballinger's best buys right now, Lady Clark.

LADY:

My brother-in-law tells me that you've had some unfortunate times lately, Mr. Cust.

ABC:

Yes.

LADY:

But I really did need the stockings, and I shall...

CLARK:

Hello again, Cust.

ABC:

Hello, Sir.

CLARK:

I've been stuffing myself with bacon and eggs. Make your sale old boy?

ABC:

Oh, yes, Mr. Clark. Thank you very much.

CLARK:

Good, good. Louise is filthy with money and her ladyship's legs are in constant need of recovering.

ABC:

Oh, I wouldn't say that, Sir.

CLARK:

She wanted the stockings.

ABC:

Well, thank you very much, M'lady. I hope I shall have the privilege of serving you again next year.

LADY:

Goodbye, Mr. Cust. And good luck.

CLARK:

Cheerio, Cust.

LADY:

Such a nice little man, Franklin.

CLARK:

He's a bit off his nut, I'm afraid. Last night he tried to convince me that he was the ABC murderer. His initials, you know. He has minor lapses of memory.

LADY:

That little man, a murderer? Oh, really, Franklin.

MAID:

(Scream)

CLARK:

Good lord, what was that?

MAID:

(Scream)

FX:

RUNNING FOOTSTEPS

LADY:

Here comes the maid. Where is that girl? What's going on?

BUTLER:

In the master's bedroom, My Lady. You'd better go with her Mr. Franklin.

FX:

HURRY FOOTSTEPS

LADY:

Caruthers! Whatever are you doing here?

MAID:

Oh, m'lady. The master, Lord Clark, he's been murdered! Stabbed with a knife! He's all over blood

LADY:

Oh no!

CLARK:

Murder. Good heavens. Why look, look there on the floor. A railway guide an ABC.

LADY:

Take me out of here, Franklin. (crying)

CLARK:

Oh, Louise. I'm sorry you had to see this.

LADY:

(crying) Oh Cameron. My poor Cameron. He never made an enemy in his life.

CLARK:

The man who did this was a maniac, and I'm afraid I know who he is. He always carried a walking stick with a heavy carved handle. That's how the other murders where committed, with a heavy stick. But he wasn't carrying his stick today. Must have grabbed a knife up there somewhere to kill Cameron with. But when. Were you with him every minute?

LADY:

Well, I went upstairs to get my checkbook. It took me a little while to find it.

CLARK:

That gave Cust his opening.

LADY:

Oh, to think that all that time. Oh, no. I'll never forgive myself, Franklin.

CLARK:

No, no, none of that now Louise. The important thing now is to stop him before he can commit another murder.

LADY:

But what are you going to do, Franklin?

CLARK:

I'm going to the police and see if they'll let me help. Let's have a look at this ABC railway guide he left beside poor Cameron. Hum, look here, all checked. See there. Andover, Bexel, Churston. Each with a checkmark after it.

LADY:

Oh.

CLARK:

Now, where's the next one? Ah, see, see. London. He's through with ABC. He's gone home and I'm going after him.

FX:

DRAMATIC MUSIC UP

FX:

DOORBELL, DOOR OPENING

MISS:

Yes? Well, Mr. Cust. Come in. Whatever kept you away so long?

ABC:

Miss Lilly, I've got to talk to you. Alone.

MISS:

Oh, well. I'll go up with you. I want to show you the new curtains I put up in your room anyway.

ABC:

Oh, you are a nice girl Miss Lilly. Really, you are a nice girl.

MISS:

Here, let me carry one of these, Mr. Cust. The typewriter.

ABC:

No, no, no. I'll carry my own things. Thank you.

MISS:

Oh, Mr. Cust, you're trembling. Oh, dear, you do look a fright.

ABC:

Yes.

MISS:

Look, I'm going to go straight and get you a hot foot bath.

ABC:

No, no. not now. please. Not now. Miss Lilly, there's no time for it.

MISS:

What is it, Mr. Cust?

FX:

DOOR OPEN

ABC:

Close the door and lock it.

FX:

CLOSE DOOR, LOCK TURN

MISS:

Are you in some trouble, Mr. Cust?

ABC:

I'm in terrible trouble, Miss Lilly. I want you to hear the story first from me. You're the only one who has been my friend. Oh, I've had a lonely life, Miss Lilly.

MISS:

Oh, poor Mr. Cust.

ABC:

Poor Mr. Cust. That's what they always say about me. Poor Mr. Cust. I thought you were different.

MISS:

Now, don't take on so Mr. Cust. It was only a manner of speaking.

ABC:

Oh, you don't need to worry. I'm alright now. I never get two spells in one day.

MISS:

Spells. Mr. Cust, I don't understand. What do you mean?

ABC:

You've heard of the ABC murders.

MISS:

Oh, Shocking affairs. But Mr. Cust, why are you saying?

ABC:

Miss Lilly, the police will be here at any minute. Please let me finish. I don't want you to think harshly of me, Miss Lilly. I didn't plan it ahead. My instructions told me where to go. Some people can't help what they do. There are diseases, epilepsy for instance. You do things you don't remember. You commit crimes. And I'm like that.

MISS:

Oh, Mr. Cust, I can't believe it.

ABC:

When I was a child, Miss Lilly, they used to badger me about my name. My mother worshipped strength. She named me after the strongest people she knew about in history. Alexander and Bonepart. But nobody ever called me by those names. They called me ABC. "ABC". I used to dream I was boiling in a kettle of alphabet soup. I was a terrible disappointment to my mother.

MISS:

Mr. Cust. You're unsettled and tired.

ABC:

You've got to hear me out, Miss Lilly.

MISS:

Oh, ouch, My arm, you're hurting me.

ABC:

Now listen to me Miss Lilly, I could have been a hero once in the army in the last war. I was happy. I could have made something of myself. Then I started getting the headaches.

MISS:

Let me go, Mr. Cust!

ABC:

You must hear me out Miss Lilly. I started forgetting things after they discharged me from the army. Shock they called it. I used to have dreams.

MISS:

Ohhhh.

ABC:

I was a great ruler. The destiny of men was in my hands. I had the power over them of life and death

MISS:

Let me go. Please let me go.

ABC:

First there was Andover. That tobacconist. I can't ever remember what she looked like. Then there was Bexel. I walked home with the waitress from the station restaurant. She was murdered too. In Churston I sold a dozen pairs of stockings to a lady and while she was upstairs getting her checkbook her husband was murdered on the floor where I was waiting. And now I've come back here. Maybe the alphabet charm is over or is it? This is London, L. Your name is Lilly.

MISS:

Are you trying to frighten me, Mr. Cust?

ABC:

I am trying to convince you.

MISS:

You, a murderer? Ha Ha, ha. I can't believe it. You never...

ABC:

What about this? Look at it.

MISS:

Oh, no, no.

ABC:

Look closely at it. I found it in my briefcase when I came on the train, Miss Lilly. This knife murdered a man in Churston, just three hours ago.

MISS:

NO, no. no! (SCREAM)

FX:

MUSIC UP

INSP:

Now, there, there, Miss Marbury, don't take on so.

MISS:

CRYING

INSP:

He's all locked up pretty as you please in the next room.

MISS:

But he was such a nice man. I still can't hardly believe it.

MAC:

Is the knife he threatened you with Miss Marbury?

MISS:

Yes

CLARK:

We just got here in the nick of time, eh, (INSPECTOR) Hey, that's a wicked looking knife.

MAC:

It's the Churston murder knife, right enough, Mr. Clark. No doubt of it.

INSP:

Well, let's take inventory. Typewriter.

MAC:

Checks with the murder notes.

INSP:

Walking stick.

MAC:

Same markings as on the heads of the first victims.

INSP:

And the psychiatrists report says the murders were premeditated and the notes could not possibly have been written except by a person who was conscious and in his right mind.

CLARK:

Well, that breaks down any idea of Cust may have had of entering an insanity plea.

INSP:

Right, I think he sign the confession without any difficulty. Bring him in.

FX:

FOOTSTEPS

MAC (off):

Bring the prisoner in.

INSP:

Well, Cust, are you ready to sign your confession?

ABC:

I don't know, Inspector. A moment ago I was certain I must have done it. But why? That's what worries me. Why? Mr. Clark, why do you think I did it?

CLARK:

Your wasting valuable time Cust. I don't care why you did it. You killed my brother, and I want to see you hang for it. I don't care how balmy you are.

MISS:

You ought to be ashamed of yourself. Talking to our Mr. Cust in that bloodthirsty manner. I don't know what's getting into the gentry, I'm sure.

CLARK:

He tried to murder you, didn't he?

MISS:

Well, he couldn't help himself. Poor thing. He's been terribly upset of late.

ABC:

You are a nice girl, Miss Lilly. You are a nice girl, really.

CLARK:

The murders were willfull and premeditated.

ABC:

They couldn't have been premeditated, Mr. Clark.

CLARK:

Why do you say that, Cust?

ABC:

Well, because I didn't go to any of those places of my own choice. I had my instructions from Ballinger's Limited. And those instructions were sent to me after the police got the warnings of the murders that were printed in the papers.

CLARK:

There were never any such instructions. We ransacked all your things, Cust. There wasn't any letter of instructions, was there, Inspector?

INSP:

No.

ABC:

Oh, yes, there was.

INSP:

All right, we'll ring up Ballinger's. May I use your telephone, Miss Marbury?

MISS:

Why, certainly, Inspector.

ABC:

The number is Regent 3313, Inspector.

FX:

PHONE DIALING

INSP: Ballinger's, are you there? Put me on to personnel.
Oh, Mac. Start packing those exhibits will you.

MAC: All right, Sir.

INSP:

Crome speaking, Scotland Yard. At what day did you employ a commercial traveller named Alexander Bonepart Cust? No, Cust. A. B. Cust. Initials ABC. Yes, yes. Never employed by you. You are absolutely certain? Did you send a man to Andover or Bexel last week? Not on your Route. Thank you. That's all I wanted to know.

CLARK:

Too bad, Cust. I guess this knocks out your last ghost of a chance, doesn't it?

ABC:

No, Mr. Clark, because you see the instructions were in a letter and that letter is right in this room.

CLARK:

Well, let's have a look. Come on, MacKenzie, give me a hand. Let's go through these things again.

ABC:

It won't do you any good to look there, Mr. Clark. I have the letter. Would you like to see it, Mr. Crome? It's here.

INSP:

Well, I'll be. Where did you get that?

MAC:

It wasn't on him, Inspector. I'll swear to that. Where did you have this hidden?

ABC:

Well, Inspector, it isn't generally known but I do wear a small hairpiece. Not out of vanity, mind you. I find it necessary for the business end.

INSP:

Let's see that letter.

ABC:

Oh, gladly.

INSP:

Dear Mr. Cust. Enclosed find advance, typewriter is being posted today. You will ...

CLARK:

What a lot of nonsence, Inspector. Look at the typeface of that letter. It's obviously written on Cust's typewriter.

ABC:

Yes, that's right, Mr. Clark. And the man who wrote that letter was the murderer. Cool as you like, he sent the typewriter to me, and instructions on one of Ballinger's letterheads and the money and everything else.

CLARK:

What kind of stunt are you trying to pull here, Cust?

ABC:

No stunt. It's just that when you made that telephone call, Inspector, and Ballinger said I'd never worked for them. I knew that the typewriter must have been sent to my by the murderer. And the more I thought about it the more it seemed to me that the murderer must be... Mr. Clark.

CLARK:

What! This is too utterly fantastic, Inspector, really, I...I...

ABC:

Well, the murderer would have had to know something about me. Something I'd never confided to anyone but to Mr. Clark about my, well, about my headaches. I'd been reading a book in the public library, Inspector, a book on epilepsy, and it seemed to me that what I suffered during the last war might have been epilepsy, and It was on my mind, see, and It said that epileptics might commit crimes and not remember them under certain conditions. Without that to go on, the murderer couldn't possibly have pinned the crime on me.

CLARK:

That works two ways, Cust. You might have told me that story deliberately. Just so you could cook up this story, now.

ABC:

Well, I couldn't cook up your fingerprints, Mr. Clark. And I'll wager anything your fingerprints are on that letter.

CLARK:

Oh, come now, really.

INSP:

Well, that's easily settled. We can do it right here. Won't take a moment. Take a set of Mr. Clark's fingerprints, McKenzie. You examine the prints on the letter meantime.

MAC:

All right inspector. Just press your fingers down firmly on this ink pad, Mr. Clark.

CLARK:

(Sigh)

MAC:

What is it, Mr. Clark? It's quite simple, really.

CLARK:

Yes, yes. It's so simple it isn't even necessary.

INSP:

I'm afraid this is necessary, Mr. Clark. Only a matter of routine, you know.

CLARK:

I tell you it isn't necessary because Cust is right. I am the murderer.

INSP:

You? But wait, you killed your brother Cameron Clark so that you would inherit the estate.

CLARK:

Yes, exactly.

INSP:

But the others, the A and B murders in Andover and Bexel and...

CLARK:

I committed them, all of them.

INSP:

Yes, but...

CLARK:

Come now, Gentlemen, surely you give me credit for thinking this thing through. If only my brother, Lord Clark had been murdered, I being the only heir, would have a lot of explaining to do. So I invented my own little crime wave to make it appear as though he were just one of the victims of a homicidal maniac. And I must say, it almost came off, thanks to the unknowing cooperation of Mr. Cust here. Thank you just the same, Mr. Cust.

ABC:

You're very welcome.

MISS:

Ha, ha. Oh, Mr. Cust, I knew you couldn't be a murderer. Not really.

ABC:

Oh, you are a nice girl, Miss Lilly, really, you are a nice girl.

MISS:

About those headaches, Mr. Cust. Why don't you go to an occulist? Those headaches. Maybe you just need a new pair of glasses.

ABC:

I think I'll do that, Miss Lilly. Do you really think? Of course, I'll wager that's what been the trouble with me all along. Glasses.

MISS:

You know you need someone to take care of you.

ABC:

Oh, I do, Miss Lilly. I do, really. If only you... Oh, but no, you couldn't ever think of...

MISS:

What, Mr. Cust?

ABC:

Well, I mean, Miss Lilly. I was just thinking it would be really too much to ask anyone. Mrs. Alexander Bonepart Cust.

MISS:

But when we are married, please don't wear that toupee. It's very conspicuous.

ABC:

Oh, you are a nice girl, Miss Lilly, really you are. I do hope people won't call you Mrs. ABC.

FX:

MUSIC UP

MIB:

And so closes the ABC murders starring Charles Lawton, Miss Elsa Lanchester, and Bramwell Fletcher. Tonight's tale of...

Fx:

MUSIC UNDER ANNOUNCER

MIB:

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 will return to our Stage as star of the suspense play called "She Overheard Murder Speaking".

FX:

MUSIC

MIB:

Producer of these broadcasts is William Spear, with Ted Bliss the Director, Lud Gluskin and Lucien Markhowick conductor and composer and Robert Tallman the radio author collaborated on tonight's "Suspense".

FX:

MUSIC

ANN:

This is the Columbia Broadcasting System

FX:

MUSIC DOWN