Then she did what he was hoping she would do. She threw back the blankets and swung her feet to the floor, her hand reaching out for the dressing-gown. She stood up and began to slide her arms into the sleeves of the dressing-gown, turning her back to the window as she did so.
The man in the brown suit pushed aside the curtains with his shoulder and stepped into the room. With a movement too quick to follow he whipped the cord over the girl’s head, crossed the cord and tightened it around her throat. His knee came up and drove into the small of her back, sending her down to her hands and knees. He dropped on her, flattening her to the floor. The cord bit into her throat, turning her wild scream into a thin, almost inaudible cry. He knelt on her shoulders and his two hands tightened the cord.
He remained like that, chewing steadily, and watched the convulsive heaving of her body and the feeble movement of her hands scrabbling on the carpet. He was careful not to use too much violence, and kept the cord just tight enough to stop the blood flowing to her head and the air getting into her lungs. He had no difficulty holding her down, and he saw with detached interest her movements were becoming less convulsive, until only her muscles twitched in a reflex of agony...
First victim down on page 38. Then on page 130...
A cold ball of fear began to uncoil inside her, rising to her throat in a wild terrified scream. As she released the scream she felt an agonising pain below her breasts. Her groping hands closed over his hand that held something that seemed to be growing out of her.
“What have you done to me?” she screamed, trying to tear his hand away. “What have you done?”
His hand went away, and her hands closed around the cold, ivory handle of a knife, and she realised with sick terror that the blade was inside her.
She leaned on the wall, sweat running down her face, her knees sagging, feeling the pain as it moved inside her as if it were alive. She was too frightened to pull out the knife. She held on to the handle, crying weakly as she felt her life draining out of her...
The killer gets three more before the hero gets him. James Hadley Chase wrote a stack of these things, all so precisely to the same formula that the grisly murders all occurred on roughly the same page. The fun was to track down the gory bits in bookshops and libraries and read them out of context, you could find them easily for a five minute thrill. The other fun bit was his titles, such as I’ll Get You For This, and You’re Lonely When You’re Dead, Figure It Out For Yourself and No Orchids For Miss Blandish. This one—I’ll Bury My Dead—is the only one I read all of.
Even more decadent was Nick and Nora, swilling Martinis and through the drunken haze still able to solve murders in Dashiel Hammett’s light hearted series, The Thin Man. Actually the title refers only to the first book since the thin man is the victim, but Hammett was himself so sozzled at the time he may be forgiven. At least he derived his characters from personal experience.