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University at Buffalo Libraries

George Kelley Paperback & Pulp Fiction Collection

Wall of Eyes

cover image By: Millar, Margaret (female)
Publisher: Dell Publishing Co. (110)
Place of Publication: New York, NY
Catalog #: Kelley Box 679: PS3563 .I48 W34 1943
Contributor: E. Lindsay

General

Era: 1940s Author as on Cover: Margaret Millar Geographic Locale: Toronto, Ontario, Canada Date of Publication: 1943  |  Original Date: 1943 Setting: urban Motives: murder (in order to keep a previous murder and the murderer's secret life from being exposed)

Plot Summary

Just hours after attempting suicide, beautiful, rich, blind Kelsey Heath is stabbed to death in her bedroom. Kelsey was blinded during an automobile accident in which her brother's girlfriend died. As Detective Inspector Sands works to find out who killed Kelsey, he uncovers a web of deceit and murder involving the wealthy Heath family, a drug dealer, and employees of a nightclub.


Major Characters

Detective-Inspector Sands adult male, detective-inspector with the Toronto Police Department

Antonio Murillo "Tony," adult male, Italian, dark curly hair, drug user/seller, no steady work

Kelsey Heath adult female, beautiful, blind

Alice Heath adult female, 28 years old, thin, pretty (but not as pretty as Kelsey)

Philip James adult male, dark hair, "dark and romantic, but getting fat," pianist

Johnny Heath adult male, 30 years old, handsome, athletic, irresponsible, office job

Stevie Jordan adult male, M.C. at Club Joey


Weapons

knife, guns, fists


Level of Violence

the plot includes descriptions of the aftermath of physical abuse against female characters. Kelsey's stabbing is described after-the-fact. Violent actions portrayed directly include fistfights and several shootings.


Sexuality

all sexual activity is implicit and heterosexual. The women who work in the nightclub are portrayed in a sleazy way; the Heath sisters seem very cold and remote. Johnny Heath makes a habit of dating women from lower classes, including several of the women who work at the nightclub.


Gender Roles

the Heath sisters are treated in a traditional way -- not expected to work, only expected to marry. Their brother, although not a serious student and not working in any particular career, is the one who went to college. Alice Heath bristles against such constraints, although she is mostly portrayed as bitter over her love for Kelsey's fianc.


Ethnicity

there are occasional references to characters as being a "wop" or a "Jewess."


Alcohol/Drug Abuse

there is a great deal of drinking. References are made to one character's marijuana use. There is also an attempted suicide with morphine, and a successful suicide with sleeping pills.


Law Enforcement

the local police force is involved. Law enforcement is seen as imposing and threatening, especially to the characters representing lower social classes. Sands does have sympathy for a minor infraction made by a psychologist and does not report him. We mostly see Inspector Sands working alone, but a few other officers are mentioned. No other agency is involved.


Added Features

in terms of social issues, Millar explores class conflicts (rich vs. poor) as a major theme. The plot centers on several relationships between people of different classes and how social conventions and differences trouble the relationships. Interactions between the Heath family and their servants are particularly portrayed as being problematic.


Subject Headings

Canada - Toronto/ Murder/ Class Distinction/ Police


Psychological Elements

Kelsey is very depressed after being blinded, and her sister Alice consults a psychologist to try to help the family. Since Kelsey was driving and is responsible for the accident which blinded her and killed another passenger, Alice assumes that Kelsey is also dealing with guilt.