What a nice little storyline. It’s Rip’s first adventure saving someone from death row; I didn’t realize until it started he’d never had such a case. It’s a simple mystery where he discovers the truth behind the murder—with some, uncredited, nods to both Sherlock Holmes and Dupin.
Because it’s so short, and so concentrated on the mystery, Honey’s absence isn’t even an issue. And Desmond gets more to do than in much longer stories.
There’s West Indies intrigue (and some odd politics to it… Rip’s sexism doesn’t return, but he does show himself to be culturally sensitive). The tropical flavor doesn’t do much since it’s all in flashback but Raymond still finds some exquisite panels for the suspense parts of the story. It might feature his best foreshadowing on the strip so far, just because the mystery isn’t spoiled early.
It’s a great story. I wish I wasn’t surprised.
Writer, Fred Dickenson; artist, Alex Raymond; publisher, King Features.