Raguel (Murder Mysteries)

Created by Neil Gaiman

“And what do you do in the dark, Lucifer?”
Raguel poses a question

I tell ya, eventually everyone shows up here on this site.

Sooner or later, everybody dips his toe into the P.I. Pool. In the case of comics whiz and storyteller extraordinaire Neil Gaiman, it was in a 1992 dark fantasy short story, “Murder Mysteries.”

Told in noir-style flashback as a story-within-a-story, it relates the sad story story of broken-down former angel/private eye  RAGUEL (often considered the Angel of Vengeance). Back when the Universe was still under construction, he had wings, of which he was quite proud. But eventually he was called upon (by Lucifer, no less), to investigate the murder of Carasel, another angel, in God’s Silver City of Angels. It was Heaven’s first-ever crime, and it plays out in much the same way more earth-bound detective stories do, with Raguel questioning a variety of witnesses, and ending with a gathering of the suspects. But the pressure to discover both who did it and why, ends up with Raguel realizing he’s been set up, and he’s expelled from Heaven, and finds himself living down and out on the streets of Los Angeles (another City of Angels, but certainly not God’s), swapping his story to a lonely young British man for a couple of cigarettes and a book of matches.

Gaiman himself seems particularly fond of the story, full as it is of his usual philosophical, spiritual and existentialist ponderings, and it was adapted as a 2000 audio drama for the SciFi Channel at SciFi.com, featuring “a wonderful cast, with Brian Dennehy as the angel private eye,” according to Gaiman.”

In 2002, it was turned into a graphic novel by P. Craig Russell for Dark Horse, and there was even a script by David S. Goyer for a feature film, which Gaiman has praised it as being one of the best adaptations of his work.

SHORT STORIES

  • “Murder Mysteries” (1992, Midnight Graffiti)

AUDIO

  • MURDER MYSTERIES | Buy the audio
    (2000, SciFi.com)
    Script by Neil Gaiman
    Adapted from his short story
    Narrator: Michael Emerson
    Starring Brian Dennehy as RAGUEL

GRAPHIC NOVELS

RELATED LINKS

Respectfully submitted by Kevin Burton Smith. The illustration, of course, is by P. Craig Russell.

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