Sleet (full name unrevealed) was the widow of a Boston racketeer. She was a slender, attractive blonde, with highly-defined cheekbones and long eyelashes. She typically had a dispassionate, heavy-lidded expression on her face and was often characterized as cold, fitting with her name.
Meeting Dick Tracy[edit | edit source]
Sleet came to Dick Tracy's city at approximately the same time that Sam Catchem became Tracy's partner. Her mother had recently been arrested due to her association with the criminal Big Frost. Sam recognized Sleet as she was leaving the police station after posting her mother's bail. At first Sleet pretended not to know Sam, but he reminded her of some potentially incriminating evidence against her that was in his possession. Sleet agreed to help the police with their investigation into Big Frost's activities.
Sleet used her underworld connections to locate two of Big Frost's hitmen. Tracy wanted to find the men so Frost's daughter Flossie could identify them. Sleet, unbeknownst to the police, contracted the hitmen to kill Sam Catchem, leaving them a $500 deposit. As Sleet and the two men left their building, Flossie observed them through a portable television camera. When Flossie identified them as killers, Sam and other officers on the scene moved in to make the arrest. A gunfight ensued and Sleet fled.
Disposing of Sam Catchem[edit | edit source]
Sam found Sleet's money on one of the men and recognized the smell of her perfume on it. He went to her apartment to return the money and express his appreciation for her help. Sam was unaware that Sleet had tried to arrange his death, and he hoped to convince her to continue helping the police. As Sam and Sleet spoke, Sleet's mother assaulted Sam from behind, hitting him in the head with a heavy ashtray and knocking him unconscious. Sleet's mother wanted to shoot Sam, but Sleet dissuaded her.
Sleet and her mother took the unconscious Sam to an overpass, where they dumped him into the bed of a snowplow truck. They believed Sam would either freeze to death, suffocate, or be drowned when the snow was dumped into the bay. Returning to their home, they were met by Dick Tracy who brought them in for questioning.
Tracy was able to prove that Sleet and her mother were involved with Sam's disappearance, and placed them under arrest. While in adjoining holding cells, the two women fought. Sleet's mother managed to grab Sleet's long hair through the bars and pulled it, knocking Sleet's head against the wall until Sleet was unconscious. Sleet was discovered by the guard and taken to a hospital.
Escape and Hiding[edit | edit source]
Sleet was able to escape from the hospital and went into hiding. She took a job as a dishwasher in a restaurant (Jack's Grill), and struggled to remain hidden. She attracted the attention of Twist, a cook in the restaurant, who loaned her money and tried to gain her affections. Twist soon found evidence of who Sleet was, and intended to use it to blackmail her.
Sleet lured Twist to an elevated train platform and pushed him over the railing. As Twist fell to his death, Sleet boarded a train and fled. Upon disembarking, she befriended a young woman named Lulu who got her a job at a local nightclub called The Minute Bar, posing as part of a shadowbox display.
By this time, Sam had been found and returned to duty following his recovery. By coincidence, he stopped into the nightclub where Sleet was working and recognized her silhouette. A bouncer mistook Sam's intentions when he demanded to see the woman and a fight ensued. Sleet's shift ended before Sam could track her down.
The Frightful Menagerie[edit | edit source]
The next day, as Sleet was walking to her job, a large windowpane from a nearby townhouse fell on her, cutting her face. The owner of the townhouse, Mrs. India, felt responsible and invited her in. Sleet insisted that no doctors be called, and Mrs. India tended to Sleet's wounds personally.
One of the workmen who had helped Sleet into Mrs. India's house had picked up Sleet's perfume bottle, and he had it on his person when he stopped in to the same nightclub when Sam and Tracy were waiting for Sleet. Sam once again recognized the scent (called Odora no. 5), which led them to Mrs. India's home.
Mrs. India was giving Sleet a tour of her late husband's collection of animals (some living, some taxidermy-ed) and other artifacts. When Sleet saw the police approaching, she knocked Mrs.India unconscious and attempted to flee through an upper level. Sleet was attacked by an ape that was part of Mrs. India's menagerie, and her screams alerted Tracy and Sam to her location.
The ape was subdued and Sleet made a final escape attempt. She jumped from the roof of the building onto a nearby water tower. However, the roof of the water tower had become rotted and collapsed under her weight. Tracy and Sam retrieved Sleet and she was arrested and taken into custody.
Sleet was collected by authorities from Boston to face outstanding charges against her in that city.
The Return of Sleet[edit | edit source]
Years later, Sleet was shown to be out of prison. Sam approached her at a lounge called The Glass Stem, where she provided him with information about the missing Guy Wyre. Sam commented on the fact that she still wore the same perfume. Sam later described Sleet as his "best snitch".
Notes[edit | edit source]
- Sam Catchem suspected that Sleet was responsible for the death of her criminal husband, but was unable to prove it. He did have an incriminating photo of her trespassing in the office of the Governor of Massachusetts.
- Sleet's mother identified her by name as "Sleet", indicating that this may have been Sleet's given name, not a nickname or alias. When staying with Mrs. India, Sleet used the alias "Merry March".
- When Sam met with Sleet in 2020, he asked for her using the name "Merry March". It is still not clear if that is her real name. Similarly, it was not firmly established if Sleet was working at The Glass Stem lounge or if that was a place where Sam knew she could often be found.
- When the Sleet storyline was reprinted by Harvey Comics, the text was edited to say that Twist was only knocked unconscious when Sleet pushed him from the train platform, not killed.
- An argument can be made that the depiction of the character of Breathless Mahoney in the 1990 Dick Tracy feature film resembled Sleet more closely that it resembled Breathless' depiction in the strip. Like Sleet, Breathless in the film was an aloof, distant character with a history of romantic attachment to underworld figures. Sleet also briefly held a job performing in a nightclub (though not as a singer like Breathless).