[For the October 19th highlight, click here.]
As Graymalk infiltrates the old manse (one candidate for the center of the pattern), Snuff hangs outside and has a lengthy chat with Nightwind. Lots of information is exchanged (some misinformation, too, as Snuff misleads the owl about the “dog” seen lurking around Larry Talbot’s place). We learn that the Good Doctor has a strange giant secreted in his basement (a Frankensteinian monster who nearly throttles Graymalk later in the chapter when clutching her like Lennie petting a rabbit in Of Mice and Men). The motive behind the officer’s murder is revealed: “It was a ceremonial killing–dues [paid by Vicar Roberts] for getting into the Game late.” Nightwind and Snuff also discuss the great white raven seen flying around, whom Snuff suspects is the familiar for the vicar. Albeit albino, this raven recalls the famous black bird of ill omen in Edgar Allan Poe’s poem. Furthermore, the raven’s given name, Tekela, suggests “Tekeli-li,” the dreadful cry made by the mysterious white birds in Poe’s The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym (and echoed in later works of weird fiction such as H.P. Lovecraft’s At the Mountains of Madness and August Derleth’s “The Return of Hastur”). Across nineteen previous nights, Zelazny’s novel has delighted the reader with its broad allusiveness; the additional invocation of Poe represents the highlight for October 20th.