Short Story #47: A Cry from the Penthouse by Henry Slesar

Title:  A Cry from the Penthouse

Author:  Henry Slesar

Short Story #47 out of 365

Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)

Book cover:  Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories for Late at Night edited by Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Arthur
Date Read:  2/13/2014
Source:  Alfred Hitchcock Presents Stories for Late at Night edited by Alfred Hitchcock and Robert Arthur.


On what must be the coldest night of the year, Chet Brander gets a call from Frank Coombs to come over because Frank finally has his money for Chet.  Unhappy about the hour and weather, Chet heads over to Frank's apartment.  Frank recently acquired a penthouse apartment in a new building that is still filling rooms.  Chet arrives and wants his money immediately but Frank wants to show off his lavish apartment.  He insists that Chet check out the balcony and so he does.  As he goes out onto the balcony, he sees Frank close the door behind him.  When he demands that Frank open it, Frank leaves and Chet realizes he has been set up to die out on the balcony in the freezing weather.  As he loses feeling in his body, he tries to find some way to get back in and this eventually leads him to scale the building to get to the roof and ripping up his hands in the process.  Once on the roof, he looks to get in through the roof entrance but it is locked.  He tears up the cable wires which eventually has the resides coming up to check out what's going on.  One of them takes him down to his apartment to help him recover.  When Chet recovers enough, he heads back to Frank's apartment and enters (a key was slipped into his jacket so that if he died on the balcony, it would look like an accident).  When Frank comes home, he sees that the door to the balcony is ajar and investigates.  Chet is nowhere to be found and so Frank steps out onto the balcony.  Chet races forward and shuts the door, leaving Frank on the balcony to die.  


A typical suspense tale with its hard justice.  The story had a good pace but even more so, Slesar captured the cold quite well and you can feel it biting into Chet as he struggles to survive his climb to the roof.  .  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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  1. This reminded me a little of Stephen King’s short story “The Ledge.”


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