Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Killers of Kurdistan, Part 3: Clever Ruses

Speed Saunders has used his dramatic authority powers to seal the building and time-plucks young Adolf Hitler out of Bavarian Infantry Regiment 16 to assist with the investigation of Mr. Trelawney's murder.

"I admire ze orderliness of zis kitchen."
"Focus, Adolf."

Speed then makes a big deal out of finding a "secret panel", which, to me, looks like a decidedly NON-secret panel: a pantry pass-through that allows servants to easily transfer new and used trays to the main room.  But even if it wasn't a secret panel before, it better damned well BECOME one when Speed Saunders says it is.

It opens at his very touch. Like a metropolitan library, or Trelawney.

Sure enough, because it is the will of Saunders, the Death Weapon is Revealed.

It turns out to be a surrealist art installation. Damned surrealists; never trust 'em.

Yes, the hand we saw shooting Trelawney wasn't a human hand at all! It was a mechanical hand, activated by a human hand pulling a string about eight inches behind it.  Because... 

well, honestly, I can't tell you why someone would do that.  Maybe Rube Goldberg or Salvador Dalí was one of the Killers of Kurdistan, and if you think that seems unlikely, remember that so were Tom and Trelawney.

A group of avant-garde art critics debate the semiotic significance of the murder weapon quickly before Adolf can have the Berlin Fire Brigade burn it as degenerate art. Fortunately, Adolf's busy grabbing a maid he suspects of being with the French resistance as Speed Saunders tesseracts directly before her and simply STARES her into confessing, like he does.

Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth is made of Speed Saunders' beard stubble.

Then she dumps a lot of unnecessary personal backstory like she's Louise Bourgé in Death on the Nile to give an illusion of depth to the mystery.

"I, meanwhile, as the sun extricated itself from the horizon like a gently absconding lover, was applying Ricil to les yeux pour un maquillage complet, harmonieux, y parfait with my newly patented mascara appliqué, remembering the simple days of my childhood with my mother, a widow of La Guerre Mondiale..." 

As a fifth-dimensional being, Speed Saunders has little patience for linear narrative and causality, so rather than listen to Louise drone on, he simply uses his Voice of Authority to command Adolf to shoot the next person he sees outside the window, under the assumption that it will be the guilty party (or at least someone worthy of being shot).

Lots of Adolf jokes to make here and I'm not going near any of 'em.

As it happens, that person is not only Louise's boyfriend but one of the Killers of Kurdistan and operator of the Rube Goldberg Murdering Device.

You'll note that this makes a lovely bookend to the panel where Tom's body is discovered, which is how the story starts.  Golden Age had style.

Let me lampshade this for you.  Trelawney, who is (accidentally) a member of the Killers of Kurdistan and who has known, for years, that they will eventually try to kill him has had in his employ a man with a wardrobe of v-neck tee shirts and a prominent "red crescent" tattoo that is the MARK of the Killers of Kurdistan.  Trelawney may have been an Expert on Eastern Lore but you can see why he needed an Ace Investigator.

An Ace Investigator with a clever ruse...!

"I vill establish an eggsclusive zphere of influence!"
"However you want to put it, Adolf."

Naturally, if Speed Saunders "means to see if something works" then that thing had BETTER work, if it knows what's good for it. So he tesseracts onto Rhett Croissante's elbow and confronts her with his ultimate weapon: his face.

What I wanna know is: how could Louise's boyfriend have named this woman as his boss when this woman doesn't even have a name? "You know... the lady with the red crescents atop her breasts..."

As you would expect, there is no defense against Speed Saunders' face.

"The Veiled Prophetress of the Killers of Kurdistan" sounds like a Dr. Strange villain.

I'm at a loss as to why killing foreign fops like Tom and Trelawney would help her "rival Hassan".  It's clearly some sort of Gypo-Bax situation that I, not being an Expert on Eastern Lore, cannot comprehend.  

For a prophetress, she didn't see the future too well, did she?  Shoulda taken off the veil.  But who could imagine that she'd be identified as a member of the Killers of Kurdistan just because she was wearing their sigil on her breasts, and around her neck, and on her handker-chief, and god knows where else? 

Don't worry about her. Since she's such an over the top foreign femme fatale, Adolf gets her a work-release job fighting against Wonder Woman;
work makes her free.

You can certainly see why Speed Saunders is the star of Detective Comics! There was no time to show it, but I'm convinced that off-panel before he died Trelawney willed his estate to Speed, who just has to patch up that kitchen window and fire Louise before moving in.


John C said...

Trelawney is clearly living in the Saunders ancestral home! That's the only explanation I can think of for the tiny un-secret door to lead to a full stainless steel kitchen, despite there being enormous windows on both sides of the wall that don't match up. Presumably, if you open the door by pulling the knob (like a weirdo) instead of stroking the hinges, the Chekhov's Gun That We Didn't Bother to Tell You About snakes the upstairs toilet, instead. Though I do like how the mannequin arm stretches outside the door, meaning that it must have been packed to swing out as the door opens.

I am, however, disappointed that lover-boy (other lover-boy) doesn't similarly have a pug-tongue. The dentures and trickle of blood just don't have the same panache. And we never find out that the crescents aren't a religious symbol, but rather just something that Prophetress (etc.) uses until bird control spikes were invented to keep pesky investigator (but not Ace investigator) hands off.

cybrid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bryan L said...

So Speed could have headed off this whole second murder and subsequent investigation by apprehending and questioning the woman wearing multiple examples of the mark of the Killers of Kurdistan? He says he guessed her identity after ogling her breasts.

And I guess Adolf put the house into lockdown, but the Prophetess should probably have hightailed it after first speaking with Speed. Was she required to witness the murder? "Speed was gaping at my breasts; he may know something. Best if I leave now." Perhaps valet service was slow and Adolf caught up to her in the car line.

Anonymous said...

Didn't even need to click the Gypo-Bax link to nod my head and say, "yeah, that's an apt comparison".

You may not have the immediate impact on people that Speed Saunders does, but rest assured you leave a mark.

Scipio said...

"rest assured you leave a mark." Perhaps because I TOO am a Killer of Kurdistan...?

Bryan L said...

Did you get catfished into attending a bizarre swearing-in ceremony in a little town in Arabia, Scipio? Because I am reliably informed that you need to follow that procedure to join the ranks of the Killers of Kurdistan.

Scipio said...

Bryan, if I TELL you, I have to kill you. And I'll all out of mannequin hands.

cybrid said...

The maid servant has a "lover"? I'm mildly surprised that even a golden age comic book story would outright acknowledge the existence of pre-marital sex. Sure, it was implied all over the place, of course, and yet...

cybrid said...

"I guessed your identity because you wore [and in fact continue to wear] red crescents on your dress and on your handkerchiefs"

"I didn't act on that information immediately because solving one murder isn't nearly as impressive as solving three."

Scipio said...

"Did you get catfished into attending a bizarre swearing-in ceremony in a little town in Arabia, Scipio?"

NOT in Arabia. But what happened to me in Golden, CO, was eerily similar.