The Burning Court was the second story produced under the Suspense banner, but premiered a full two years after the show's first production, The Lodger, playing for the first time on June 17, 1942. For this reason, many consider The Burning Court to be the first official episode of the series.
Featuring Berry Kroeger as the Announcer, the story was adapted by Harold Medford and stars Julie Hayden and Charles Ruggles. Based on the the controversial 1937 novel of the same name by John Dickson Carr, master of the "locked room mystery," many readers morally objected to the inclusion of supernatural elements. For this reason, these were left out of the radio version.
As the episode opens, the writer, Gaudan Cross, is a guest in the home of Mr. Despas. He finishes a glass of sherry and addresses the people assembled there. He claims that he knows who murdered the uncle of Mr. Despas!
What is he saying? How does he know? Mr. Cross tells them that it all began after he finished his book about famous poisoners. The manuscript was then given to Mr. Ted Stevens, who works for his publisher. Mr. Stevens began reading the manuscript and opened to the section about a 17th poisoner named Marie D'Aubray, and there he saw a picture...of his wife!
How could that be? Mr. Cross will explain...