Suspense's "The Burning Court" was the second episode of the series. It aired on June 17, 1942, two years after the pilot episode of the series began with "The Lodger."
"The Burning Court" was adapted from the controversial 1937 novel of the same name by John Dickson Carr, master of the "locked room mystery." What made the book controversial was the inclusion of supernatural elements.
By picking this particular story and author, the producers of Suspense set the tone for the series. In the introduction to this episode, the announcer, Berry Kroeger, gives an overview of what could be expected from Suspense in the coming weeks. (Little did they know the show would go on for another twenty years.)
Their radio adaptation does not follow the book exactly, but it left in the supernatural element at the end.
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...
Suspense presented this story a second time on June 14, 1945, but with a number of changes to the details and story. The two versions are quite different. William Spier produced and directed. Clifton Webb starred.