O’Neil, Adams and Giordano return for Detective 397 (March 1970), for a less supernatural, but still very powerful, tale.
The story also briefly introduces us to Cathy, Bruce Wayne’s housekeeper, who appears only in this story.
The villain of the tale is a reclusive millionaire, Orson Payne, who collects art that reminds him of the opera singer he loved and lost. If the art reminds him of her, he must have it, whether the owner has any desire to sell or not. The violence and theft this entails brings Batman onto the case.
Adams and Giordano do exceptional work on this story. Payne’s mansion is stunning, the art works are beautifully executed, and the man himself is shown in glorious madness.
Payne attempts to kill Batman. He fails, and almost dies himself, pursuing an illusory image of his lost love. After sending Payne to prison, Bruce realizes that Cathy is really Caterina Vallance, the opera singer he loved and tried to control, who fled her entire life simply to get away from him.
Batgirl’s quest for the Orchid Killer concludes in this issue, a story by Frank Robbins, Gil Kane and Murphy Anderson.
Jason Bard turns out to be the one who grabbed her, as he is pursuing the same case. Barbara once again tries to lure the killer, but seems to get yet another innocent man.
In fact, all the men she has encountered, except for Jason, are the same man, disguising himself. Batgirl takes the killer down. Jason remains jealously protective of Barbara.