Three Skeleton Key
|"Three Skeleton Key"|
|Author||George G. Toudouze|
|Publication date||January 1937|
"Three Skeleton Key" is a short story by the French author George C. Toudouze. The January 1937 edition of Esquire marked its first appearance in English. This suspenseful tale and "Leiningen Versus the Ants" were discovered by the magazine's editor Arnold Gingrich.
George G. Toudouze (1877-1972) was born in Paris, France. His father, Cat Toudouze, was a well-known author of the time. The younger Toudouze wrote on such topics as art, architecture, travel and French naval history. Although he penned numerous adventure novels and short stories, he is today remembered for a single work: "Three Skeleton Key". 
The plot involves three men tending a lighthouse on an island off the coast of French Guiana. The rock the lighthouse stands on is dubbed 'Three Skeleton Key', named after a tragedy when three escaped convicts became ship-wrecked on the rock and eventually died of hunger and thirst- the only thing left of them were a heap of bones cleaned off by scavenging birds. An abandoned ship, overrun by thousands of ferocious rats, makes landfall. A life-and-death struggle ensues as the men seek to save themselves from the hungry horde.
Among the three are headkeeper, Itchoua (the eldest of the men), Le Gleo, and the narrator (name never given). They survive fending off the rats. However, Le Gleo goes insane from the events and was locked into a French Asylum, Itchoua died of an infection from the rat bites and scratches, and the narrator continues to work in the lighthouse after the rats are cleared.
- The Greatest Survival Stories Ever Told edited by Lamar Underwood, (Guilford, Connecticut: The Lyons Press, 2001) pp. 61 - 71.
- One Act Virtual Museum oneact.org. Retrieved: May 20, 2012.
- Radio play escape-suspense.com. Retrieved: August 7, 2013.
- One Act Audio Theatre oneact.org. Retrieved: May 20, 2012.
- Three Skeleton Key (full text)
- Escape to Three Skeleton Key at One Act Virtual Museum
- George G. Toudouze at French Wikipedia. Use Google translate.
- Three Skeleton Key title listing at the Internet Speculative Fiction Database
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- Three Skeleton Key on Suspense: October 19, 1958