MARGARET MILLAR – Wall of Eyes. Random House, hardcover, 1943. Reprinted in Thrilling Mystery Novel, pulp magazine, November, 1945. Dell #110, paperback, mapback edition, 1946; Lancer 72-994, paperback, 1966; Avon, paperback, 1974; International Polygonics, paperback, 1986.

   I found this to be a strange and very interesting book. Half of it concerns the members of a very wealthy family, and one that’s also totally dysfunctional. A key to the problem is the youngest daughter, who lost her sight two years before in an automobile accident, but now who angrily demands attention almost constantly. Worse, even though she is blind, she is haunted by a wall of eyes staring at her, filled with hate.

   The other half concerns a cheap night club, its bouncer and several of its dancing girls. How the two halves meet is part of the mystery — and provides most of its solution.

   It is Inspector Sands of the Toronto police who’s called upon to investigate the murder of Kelsey Heath, the woman who’s blind, and by the time the case is over, he very nearly plays God too. Millar is well-known for her black humor, and it’s quite apparent in this book. It’s an extremely good detective story, but it’s also one that’s distinctly sour and cynical as well.

— Reprinted from Nothing Accompliced #4, November 1993, revised.

Bibliographic Notes:   Inspector Sands appeared in two of Margaret Millar’s other novels, those being The Devil Loves Me (Doubleday, 1942) and The Iron Gates (Random House, 1945). Her other series character, Dr. Paul Prye, also appears in the first of the two.