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Murder in the Dark was the first short story in Tales of Terror, featuring the First Doctor.


The First Doctor, Dodo, and Steven arrive at the steps of a mansion lined with jack-o'-lanterns. As Dodo runs on ahead, the Doctor and Steven stay back, until a scream from Dodo causes them to run after her. Dodo believes she's seen a Monoid in the window of the mansion, which the Doctor and Steven dismiss as an imagination.

Arriving at the door to the house, the Doctor, Dodo, and Steven are let into the house by a man in a mandarin hat who silently directs them to a fancy-dress party in a great hall. When the Doctor, Dodo, and Steven arrive, Dodo is taken to the middle of the hall, to participate in a game of Musical Statues. As the game progresses, more and more children lose, and are taken by masked men to another room. Dodo, objecting to the rough treatment of one girl, is taken to the other room as well for losing the game, but not before Steven joins her.

The boys and girls are placed in two separate rooms. Dodo and the girls are forced to participate in various games, from peeling an apple with a knife to find out the name of one's true love to guessing how a man died. Dodo, thinking it is a traditional Halloween game with fake guts and organs, is horrified to find out that the organs she was holding were real and screams.

Meanwhile, Steven and the boys are forced to play games as well, from eating doughnuts hanging from string to bobbing for apples. Much like Dodo's games, Steven's games are similarly horrific, with the doughnuts filled with blood, and the apples coming to life and attack the face of anyone who dunks their face into the bucket. Steven, hearing Dodo's screams, rushes to her rescue, and the two go to find the Doctor.

Dodo and Steven find the Doctor in conversation with the fancy-dress party guests, and interrupt him to try and get him to take them back to the TARDIS. The host, the man in a mandarin hat, interrupts for one final game, Murder in the Dark. The Doctor is forced to choose between his two companions who the murderer is. Dodo and Steven both try to take the blame, hoping to save their companions, but the Doctor surprises them both by accusing their host, who reveals his true identity: the Toymaker.

The Toymaker laughs at the revelation, but tells the Doctor that he must still make a choice between Dodo and Steven. The Doctor instead asks the band for a version of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star, which Dodo picks up on and grabs a violin to start playing the tune. The Doctor declares that they are now playing Musical Statues once more, confusing the Toymaker and his powers for long enough for the three travellers to escape back to the TARDIS.




  • Although not explicitly stated, this story presumably takes place in the Celestial Toyroom.


  • Dodo gets scared because she thought she saw a Monoid and Steven says he doesn't think they're on Refusis II. (TV: The Ark)
  • The Doctor explains that since the Toymaker is timeless, a thousand years could have passed for him since their last encounter. (TV: The Celestial Toymaker)
  • The Doctor notes the resemblance of a man dressed as a cowboy to one of the Gunfighters. (TV: The Gunfighters)