Detective Comics (1937) #459
"A Clue Before Dying!" is written by Martin Pasko with art by J.L. Garcia Lopez. The Batman must solve the murder of an award-winning crime novelist before Bruce Wayne's butler Alfred gets framed for the deed. At a lavish party celebrating author Elliott Quinn's million dollar book advance, millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne learns about the new novel's plot. Dubbed the Dreamhouse Murder, the book centers on a murder victim who leaves a final clue to his murderer's identity even as life leaves his body. Soon after leaving the party to do some writing, Quinn is himself murdered and ironically, leaves a final clue while dying. There's suspects galore: Walter Gaunt, the actor who despised his houseguest Quinn; Lt. Dannay, the police detective implicated in one of Quinn's earlier works; Lyle Keane, Quinn's money-grubbing publishing house secretary or Mrs. Emma Rundle, the housekeeper who found Quinn's body.
But as the clues and strange events of the evening begin to add up, it looks as if Bruce's faithful butler Alfred is the prime suspect. As the police remain distracted questioning him, the Dark Knight Detective takes on the real killer in a desperate midnight struggle beside a blazing fireplace. But will the Batman be able survive long enough to clear Alfred's name? Then, in a back up story, the Man-Bat suffers greatly at the hands of an ancient wizard named Dr. Thanatogenos in "Scream of the Gargoyle" (written by Pasko and drawn by Pablo Marcos). Can the weird winged hero free not only himself and his bride from the strange fate of being turned into stone gargoyles but also break a century-old curse of a foul demon?