Suicide Hour is supplied for downloading in .PDF format. This means
that to read it on-line, or on your own computer, you will need The Adobe
Acrobat Reader. If you do not have this yet, you can
download it by clicking on the link below. When you see the Adobe home page,
click on "Get Adobe Reader" in the left column.
To access Suicide Hour right-click on the link below. You will be presented with a menu: choose "Open" to read the story on-line; choose "Save" to download it. The .PDF file will occupy 190KB of your disk.
You may also be able to choose "Print", depending on your browser. The story is 44 pages long.
Notes on Word Usage If you are not interested in, and fussy about, word usage, as I am, then
you probably do not want to read this section. When I was preparing
Suicide Hour for presentation on the web, I adopted the policy of keeping
the text exactly as it appeared in the original magazine publication,
even if I had qualms about the usage. The one exception is item (a) which
is so clearly an error that I took the liberty of fixing it.
In case you are tempted to accuse me of
introducing errors into the text, I will list here the items of usage which
gave me pause, (b) to (g), but are left as the responsibility of the author and her editors.
If you find something questionable
that is not on this list, then please bring it to my attention.
(a) Eldridge talks about "The Have-You-a-Skeleton-in-Your-Closet-Club"
. The hyphen before "Club" is an error; "Club" should have been a separate
word, and I did fix it in my version of the story. When we are speaking, say, of
"The Chess Club", the descriptive identifier is "Chess". For his club, the cumbersome
hyphenated identifier begins with "Have" and ends with "Closet".
(I warned you this was going to get picky!)
(b) In the description of the football game, we find the following statement:
"Uniforms (i.e. People in uniforms) hurled out of the wings and
carried it away."
This is the only one of my questionable items that I am fairly certain is a
typographical error. The use of "hurl" as an intransitive verb meaning
"move quickly and forcefully", although acknowledged by some authorities,
is generally regarded as archaic, and even then, possibly a corruption of
"hurtle". My own best guess is that "hurled" should have been "hurtled",
the "t" having been dropped inadvertantly. Unfortunately, I have been
unable to elicit an opinion by the author herself, as to whether she could
possibly have used "hurl" in this way.
(I know ... it was fifty years ago.)
(c) In the dance floor scene, we are told: "Chaperons stomped from the
side lines ...". I believe it should have been all one word,
"sidelines". Sidelines are lines marking the edge of a playing field,
or in this case, in an extended sense, the edge of the dance floor.
Side lines are secondary vocations, as in "He was a plumber by training
but his side line was carpentry."
(d) The heroine's mother announces: "I'm ashamed to be seen anymore
with my old purse ...". In Canada (my native land), to the best of my
knowledge, we do not make a compound word out of "any" and "more". I thought
this was an error at first, but a little investigation
informed me that,
in the U.S., it is accepted usage, even preferred usage according to
(e) "... the collar of his topcoat almost meeting his hatbrim.".
Another compound word that really jarred me. I have not found any authoritative
support for it, but I did run across "hatbrim" in Tony Hillerman's
Ghostway, and so I suppose it is probably accepted American usage.
(f) Surprised in the attic, the heroine declares:
"I was jelled into a mold."
The author elects to spell out her character's narrative
using the American colloquial form "jell / jelled",
a back-formation from "jelly",
rather than the more correct "gel / gelled".
(g) The remainder of my questionable items further exemplify our
options for splitting, hyphenating or combining multiple words.
They are listed here in the form in which they appear in Suicide Hour:
clothesbag, fishnet, overtall, ticktacktoe, sometime
(i.e. at some indefinite time, e.g. "sometime later").
I would have split the first, split or hyphenated the second,
hyphenated the next two, and left the last joined.
But, admittedly, it's mainly a question of style in these instances.