Thursday, October 22, 2009

Satan Hall 3: Satan's Law

My favorite pointy-eared detective is on the job again, this time from August 8, 1932. Here’s the scene: the bad guys, Rattigan and Joe, are interrogating a fence about the whereabouts of his daughter - a young woman Satan happens to admire. Then there’s an interruption.

The shade shot up with a snap, an arm came through the broken pane in the window - and Satan spoke, his gun moving slowly.

“I think that will be about all of that, Mr. Rattigan. Unlock the window and open it, Joe.”

Three pairs of eyes sought that window at once. The little fence dropped back in the chair and buried his head in his hands. Three hands hesitated, half moving to armpits when Satan spoke again.

“I think you’re making a mistake, boys. It’s Satan talking. Now, Joe - open the window.”

There was no order of “hands up!” There was nothing melodramatic in Satan’s words. Yet three pairs of hands shot into the air. Joe walked toward the window. The name of Satan had been enough. Rattigan and his bodyguard knew that Satan shot first and explained afterward.

“Keep a little to the side, Joe.” Satan’s voice was soft and low. “I like to look at your friends. You wouldn’t want me to shoot a hole in you to look through.”

Needless to say, this does not bode well for Rattigan and Joe.

This story was collected in the Mysterious Press volume, The Adventures of Satan Hall.

The Satan Hall Archives:
Satan’s Lash
Satan Sees Red


Laurie Powers said...

I'm wondering if he was created in the shadow of The Shadow? I can't remember when The Shadow first appeared.

Evan Lewis said...

It's possible The Shadow was an influence, Laurie. The first Shadow mag was dated April 1, 1931. Satan Hall debuted August 8 of that same year. I don't know what the turn-around time was for stories back then. Anything in Paul's correspondence that gave you a clue?

Satan does strike fear into the hearts of men, it's true, but that's the only paralell. In my first Satan Hall post (see the link "Satan's Lash", I presented the evidence for my belief that Satan was Carroll John Daly's answer to Sam Spade.

I have another crazy theory that Gene Roddenberry may have been a Daly fan, and that Satan - combined with another Daly character - formed his image of Mr. Spock. Stay tuned for the dramatic but wholly circumstantial evidence.