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Detective Comics Vol 1 459

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"A Clue Before Dying": Bruce Wayne attends a party honoring Elliot Quinn whose book "The Dreamhouse Murder" will soon be published. The party is held at actor Walter Gaunt's home because it was the site of the true unsolved murder the book is about. Elliot's book cont

Appearing in "A Clue Before Dying"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


  • Lyle Keane (Single appearance)

Other Characters:

  • Lt. Dannay (Single appearance)
  • Elliot Quinn (Only appearance; dies)
  • Emma Rundle (Only appearance; dies)
  • Walter Gaunt (Single appearance)



Synopsis for "A Clue Before Dying"

Bruce Wayne attends a party honoring Elliot Quinn whose book "The Dreamhouse Murder" will soon be published. The party is held at actor Walter Gaunt's home because it was the site of the true unsolved murder the book is about. Elliot's book contains a factual account of the murder as well as a "hypothesized" solution. Gaunt hates Elliot because, years previously, Gaunt auditioned for a role and Elliot interfered. Gaunt was distraught, got drunk and wound up in a car accident which shredded his vocal chords leaving him mute. Also in attendance at the party are Lyle Keane, Elliot's personal secretary - hired by the publishing company, and Lt. Dannay, the officer in charge during the original unsolved murder.

At precisely midnight, per his custom, Elliot goes to his room to write on his electric typewriter. At 2 a.m. Emma Rundle, housekeeper, brought Elliot some refreshments and screams when she sees he has been murdered - shot to the throat by his own gun. Bruce quickly switches to Batman and arrives via window catching a faint odor of acetone. Emma states she saw someone bald leaving the room and, therefore, identifies them as Alfred, Bruce's butler. Batman spots someone running outside and chases. Dannay joins the chase and they catch Gaunt who claims to have been running to get Dannay.

Returning to the crime scene, Batman notices the electric clock in the room is 5 minutes behind Elliot's watch, Elliot's hand is pointing to the floor and the manuscript is missing. Based on Emma's testimony, Dannay, accompanied by Lyle, grabs Alfred and Bruce catches the odor of acetone. Thinking that Elliot may have been indicating the room below him with his pointing clue, Batman goes downstairs and finds Emma who had been bludgeoned to death. Batman is hit over the head with a poker and when he awakes, he realizes that Elliot was pointing to the rug on his floor and deduces the solution to the mystery.

Batman chases after and subdues Lyle Keane. He later explains that Lyle wears a toupee (or "rug") - held on with adhesive that smells of acetone. He also explains that Lyle was the killer in the Dreamhouse Murder and recognized that Elliot's hypothesized ending was too close to the truth. He arranged the party at Gaunt's house, and shot Elliot in the throat, to make it appear that Gaunt killed him out of anger about his accident. But Lyle was the only one who knew where Elliot kept his gun, how to disable power to only Elliot's room and what the manuscript actually said. After Emma spotted him, Lyle also had to kill her as well.

Appearing in "Scream of the Gargoyle"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:

  • Maurice LeBlanc (Single appearance)
  • Helene LeBlanc (Single appearance)



  • Devil Bell and Mystic Clapper

Synopsis for "Scream of the Gargoyle"

Man-Bat is tied by his feet to the clapper of the Devil Bell. Dr. Thanatogenos tells him of the history of the Devil Bell which originally did not have a clapper. Architect Maurice LeBlanc installed one and, when he rang the bell, accidentally unleashed a demon which had been transformed into a stone gargoyle. The gargoyle captured LeBlanc and his wife, Helene, and transformed them into stone gargoyles because they had a mystic energy that it could feed on. That mystic energy is now depleted and the demon had planned on destroying them.

Sensing two others with mystic energies - Kirk and Francine - he, as Thanatogenos, switched Francine and Helene's bodies and triggered the transformation. Kirk's intervention discovered the switch, but the transformation was triggered again and Helene lured Man-Bat here so he could switch Man-Bat and Maurice. Man-Bat breaks free, triggering the bell as he felt the transfer begin. Man-Bat punches Dr. Thanatogenos, which stops the spell long enough for Man-Bat to rip the clapper from the bell. The gargoyle then attacks Man-Bat and goes for the wand. Man-Bat realizes the demon is Dr. Thanatogenos. He throws the clapper which knocks the wand into a nearby cauldron. As the wand and bell clapper are destroyed by the fire, the gargoyle returns to stone and Maurice and Helene are returned to life. Man-Bat grabs Francine and flies them home to ponder the meaning of their "mystic energy" status.


  • No special notes.


  • This is the first issue in the Detective Comic series that features a codebar in the cover.

See Also

Recommended Reading

Links and References

  • No external links.

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