Monday, June 18, 2018

"Elemental, My Dear Moriarity, Elemental"

"Mastersleuth Unmasked at Last!"
By S. J. Perelman (1904-79).
First appearance: Judge (1930).
Collected in That Old Gang O'Mine (1984).
Text below.


   "Then—then—will you marry me, Olga?"

Once upon a time, long before a Gore named Al invented the printing press and a Bush named George gifted us with the letter Dubya, there was an incorrigible Barefoot Boy 
with Entirely Too Much Cheek named S. J. Perelman writing for the bee's knees of 
humor magazines in the Twenties yclept Judge. Perelman was a good fit for Judge
with his transgressive, New York-style sense of humor.

S. J.'s "beat" ranged far and wide: "Chinese Bandits Kidnap Coolidge!" . . . "Chefs 
Chafe as Steak Smugglers Flood Turkish Baths" . . . "Phrenology—Yes or No?" . . . 
"Eppis Bars Boorish Bike Fans as Coaster Brakes Roar in Metropolitan Opera" . . . 
that sort of thing.

So it should come as no surprise that sooner or later Perelman would get around to the 
Great Detective, Sherlock Holmes—and bear in mind this was a full decade before Rex 
Stout went after Dr. Watson. Coincidence? We think not . . .

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
   All Sherlock Holmes fans sat up in bed with a start last Tuesday and rubbed their eyes in amazement as they scanned the morning papers. After their excitement had abated, they awoke whomever else was in bed and all four promptly telephoned the Judge office. From the Battery and the Harlem River Ship Canal, from Follinsbee Road and Pratt Street, from the Boulevard St. Germain, the Friedrichstrasse, and Paddington Heath, haggard-eyed inquiries poured in. Tight-lipped traders on 'Change halted their fevered barter to tensely discuss the astounding revelations. All day long wan operators in the offices of Judge heard the same trembling question drift over the wire: "Is Sherlock Holmes really a woman?" The climax of years of research by Pierre de la Matzos had at last borne fruit. The immortal detective stood forth unmasked at last as a member of the perfumed sex (woman).
   Meanwhile, in the midst of all this hubbub, Pierre de la Matzos, the French investigator who had raised this tempest in a tea-pot, sat calmly in the Hotel Hubbub in New York. I pushed my way past his horde of secretaries named Beaumont and Fletcherstein and found him quietly reading in his shirt sleeves.
   "Ah, Professor Moriarity, I had expected you," he greeted, looking up from reading the gas-meter. "Pray have a chair."
   "No, thank you, I already have one," I replied shortly, taking a folding camp-stool from my brief-case and disposing my lanky-knit tweed form upon it. I felt piqued that he had so easily penetrated my disguise of an Indian major retired on half pay.
   "I feel piqued that you have so easily penetrated my disguise of an Indian major retired on half pay," I hinted with just a shadow of pique.
   "Elemental, my dear Moriarity, elemental," dismissed de la Matzos, disposing his lanky-knit tweed form on another chair and puffing on his briar. "I knew you were an Indian major directly you refused to have a chair. All Indian majors have chairs. But I say, won't you have a bit of a bloater and a spot of tea?"
   "But I haven't even broached the purpose of my visit."
   "Yes, yes," waved Matzos wearily. "You want to know whether it's true that Sherlock Holmes is a woman. Sure he is. His name is really Sheila Holmes, and Dr. Watson used to be governess at Inverness for a mess of a man named Fess. They're all women, every one of them. Why even that Herbert Hoover—
did you know he's a graduate of Sweetbriar named Rosa Bonheur and runs a dress shop on the side? They're all women, even me."
   "Y-you?" I stammered. "Then—then—will you marry me, Olga?"
   "Yes, John," she faltered prettily, blushing like a rose. I took her hands in mine and looked into the mysterious violet pools that were her eyes. Some-
where in the bayou resounded the eerie call of a loon, but we did not pay heed.
   Gently I and the woman who had once been Olga Nethersole embraced, our kissers framed in the tangled doorway of the rose-colored cottage. And as the hull of the Maid of Bombay disappeared slowly under the horizon, the fierce chant of the Solomon Islands rang out once more over the virgin wilderness. Tonga-Wonga had found her man.
~ The End ~
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Resources:
- Sidney Joseph Perelman (HERE) is known to crime fiction aficionados for his two spot-on parodies of Robert Leslie Bellem, "Somewhere a Roscoe . . ." (1938) and Chandler/Hammett, "Farewell, My Lovely Appetizer" (1944; EQMM, July 1945); see (HERE) for a little more.
- Rex Stout's scandalous deconstruction of Dr. Watson is online (HERE).
- Two grand compilations of Perelmania are:
  ~ That Old Gang O'Mine: The Early and Essential S. J. Perelman (1984; for sale HERE).
  ~ The Most of S. J. Perelman (2011; for sale HERE).
- Finally, we're well aware that Perelman misspelled "Moriarty" as so many do, but we decided to leave it that way.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Friday, June 15, 2018

"There's Very Little Doubt As to Who Planned and Executed This Robbery"

THE OTHER DAY we featured a science fiction story told from multiple points of view; 
our next tale, written a half-century before, uses the same technique. Like Robert Bloch, Geraldine Bonner also decided to tell her story using the multiple POV method; we'll 
leave it up to you to decide if she made the best use of it.

"The Castlecourt Diamond Case: Being a Compilation of the Statements Made by the Various Participants in This Curious 
Case Now, for the First Time, Given to the Public."
By Geraldine Bonner (1863-1930).
First appearance: Ainslee’s Magazine, November 1905.

Reprinted in The Novel Magazine, March, April, May 1906 
and New Story Magazine, October 1915.
Novella (33 pages).
Online at Archive.org: (Part I HERE; 13 pages); (Part II HERE
9 pages); and (Part III HERE; 11 pages).
Book version (1906) at Archive.org (HERE; 223 text pages).



     ". . . I don't think any actress ever barred her lover's exit with as much determination and zeal as I barred the exit of that burglar."

In the matter of the stolen Castlecourt diamonds, all one hundred and sixty-two of them, 
there was no apparent mystery about who absconded with them, how they did it, and what their intentions were regarding their final disposition; the diamonds themselves, however, seemed destined to follow a different course . . .

The various viewpoint characters: Sophy Jeffers, the lady's maid; Lily Bingham, 
a.k.a. Laura Bryce, a.k.a. Frances Latimer, a.k.a. Sara Wight, a.k.a. Mrs. Thatcher, 
a.k.a. Laura the Lady, of dubious repute; Cassius P. Kennedy, the surprised host; 
John Burns Gilsey, the private detective; Daisy K. Fairweather Kennedy, wife of 
the surprised host; and Gladys, Marchioness of Castlecourt, the soi-disant victim.

Comment: As far as detective fiction is concerned, one of the multiple viewpoint story's virtues is that eliminates the tedious interviews that tend to make a story drag along, 
instead allowing the author to pepper the narrative with self-contained vignettes.

Typo: "We're gonig in here"

Resources:
- Geraldine Bonner's life and career took her clear across America; see the brief Wikipedia article (HERE).
- A few years back Doug Greene had a review of The Castlecourt Diamonds Case (HERE) reprinted on the Mystery*File website:
  "[The book] is indeed charming, and it is made even more so by its brevity — with large type and margins it contains less than 30,000 words, a far cry from many Victorian and Edwardian detective novels, as anyone who has labored through, say, Lawrence Lynch’s novels with their 550 godawful pages will testify."

- The reviewer at The Nation (HERE) from a century ago tells us about Bonner's The Girl at Central (1915):
   "The mystery is concealed to the very end, unless the reader is a person of exceptional astuteness, for there is just one passage in the early pages of the book that points to the solution, while there are various false clues, cunningly contrived, that will start the earnest seeker running breathlessly in the wrong direction."

- The lady's maid refers to "the Gunnings"; see the articles (HERE) and (HERE) for more about them. At another point, Handsome Harry the hansom driver is cautioned about being "too much of a Jehu"; see (HERE) for what was meant.

The bottom line: "Living with a conscience is like driving with the brakes on."
    — Budd Schulberg

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

"I Sat There Holding the Gun"

THE MULTIPLE VIEWPOINT STORY has its good points and its bad; any tale in whatever genre, including the "mystery," can benefit from such an approach if handled well, but the central problem had better be a darned good one or readers just might find themselves nodding off.

The Japanese film Rashomon (1950; see HERE for its "effect") and a host of imitators have tried to tell a story from multiple viewpoints, presenting events from the limited POVs of various characters, the intention being to enlarge and enhance the significance of plot developments—but that can also be risky; remember the fable of the Blind Men and an Elephant?

"The Past Master."
By Robert Bloch (1917-94).
Illustrations by Ed Vebell.
First appearance: Bluebook, January 1955.
Short story (13 pages, 3 illos).
Online at Archive.org (HERE).

(Parental caution: Some strong language.)


     "The tall man with the hypnotic stare came out of the sea carrying six million in cash. Only four people could furnish clues to his mysterious behavior. Here are their stories."

Six million clams can buy quite a lot in the present; the question is, though, is it enough to buy the future . . .

~ From the statement of Dorothy Laritzky:
  ". . . he didn't see the way the guy looked at George. Every time I think about it, I could just die!"

~ From the statement of Milo Fabian:
  "I went right down and bought a ticket to Paris. All this war-scare talk is simply a lot of fluff, if you ask me. Sheer fluff."
~ From the statement of Nick Krauss:
  "Lucky thing the cops shot up all four of the guys, the ones who made the haul. So they couldn't trace anything."
~ From the statement of Elizabeth Rafferty, M.D.:
  "No doubt about it. I didn't have to wait for the double-talk to know he was crazier than a codfish. A pity, too; he was really a handsome specimen."
Resources:
- Our latest contact with Robert Albert Bloch was last year (HERE).
- Several years before Bloch published "The Past Master," Arthur C. Clarke wrote another SFF-nal story with a remarkably similar theme (HERE), which was adapted for live TV back 
in the early '50s.

- There's no mention of missiles in our story; both Cold War superpowers had only bombers until the Russians and the U.S. deployed intercontinental ballistic missiles in the late 1950s.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Monday, June 11, 2018

OLD-TIME DETECTION, Spring 2018

(GIVE ME THAT) OLD-TIME DETECTION.
Spring 2018. Issue #47.
Editor: Arthur Vidro.
Old-Time Detection Special Interest Group of American Mensa, Ltd.
36 pages (including covers).
Cover image: Nine of the Best.


     "Countless millions in cinemas all over the world have thrilled—for at
     least the fifth time—to the ingenuity of one of Christie's most original
     plots. Sadly, not everything on view was the creation of Agatha Christie
     —nor, indeed, ingenious." — Dr. John Curran

Every previous issue of OLD-TIME DETECTION has proven its value to readers who are fond of the traditional detective story, and the Spring number keeps that winning streak going. In almost every OTD you'll probably encounter something that you've rarely or never run across before.

In this one: The late, great Ed Hoch offers background on a durable character "born" almost a century ago, one that readers still recognize—and, no, it's not Hercule Poirot or Sherlock Holmes. - Michael Dirda reviews one of the latest books about the Sage of Baker Steet, and later gives us his take on the book and film versions of an Agatha Christie classic. - We have an excerpt from Francis M. Nevins's definitive book about Cornell Woolrich. - Editor Vidro reproduces correspondence between T. S. Stribling and Ellery Queen as well as a radio interview with Stribling, and gives us a reprint of one of his stories. - The results of two reader polls given forty-five years apart show remarkable similarities and contrasts. - Dr. John Curran keeps us up to date with the world of Agatha Christie and, like Michael Dirda, offers his thoughts on the same film adaptation. - And throughout the issue you'll find perceptive commentary and reviews by Arthur Vidro, John L. Breen, Ruth Ordivar, Charles Shibuk, and Amnon Kabatchnik.
~ ~ ~

~ CONTENTS ~

(1) "Blackie and Boyle: An Introduction," by Edward D. Hoch (1979), 5 pages:
    "The character of Boston Blackie was conceived, and the first four stories written, from a cell in a state penitentiary."
    Related: Mystery*File (HERE).

(2) "New Non-Fiction": Review by Michael Dirda (2017) of From Holmes to Sherlock: The Story of the Men and Women Who Created an Icon, by Mattias Bostrom (2017):
    ". . . the best account of Baker Street mania ever written. Really."
    Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE).

". . . more than a treat, it's a smorgasbord."
(3) "The Sherlockian Revolution in Paperback," by Charles Shibuk (1975):
    "The Sherlockian revolution appears to subside somewhat from time to time, but future developments appear inevitable."
". . . an absolute masterpiece."
(4) "Murder on the Orient Express: The Book and the Movie," by Michael Dirda (2017):
    "The great detective's final revelations, with all the suspects assembled in the dining car, may strike some readers as almost fantastical. Who cares? In classic mysteries, dazzle is what counts, and realism tends to be inversely proportional to ingenuity."
    Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE).

(5) "Thirty-five Years Ago: Murder in Print," by John L. Breen (1983):
    "This is a wonderfully illustrated, richly rewarding reference that proves a book about mysteries can be both substantial and fun."

(6) "The Woolrich Films: Part Three," by Francis M. Nevins (1988):
    "It was the perfect story line for a suspense movie."
    Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE) - Mystery*File (HERE) and (HERE).

(7) "Stribling Letters," by Arthur Vidro (2018):
    "If the human race could have made such a great step as that last in seventy years, I see no reason why it should not disapprove of thieves with an ethical and moral culture extending over the next three hundred years."
    Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE).

(8) "Royal Archives: Two Pistols and Judge Lynch," by Arthur Vidro (2018):
    "I'll be delighted for you to use Judge Lynch at the price you name. You take the story, I'll take the check."
    Related: Mystery*File (HERE).

(9) Fiction: "Judge Lynch," by T. S. Stribling (Adventure, June 1934 and EQMM, September 1950), 8 pages:
    "While the shot echoed amid the twilight swamp, the old man stood behind the flange of a cypress watching the threshing, struggling thing in the water."

(10) The Original Poll: "Did You Hear the One About the Two TADpolls?" by Jon L. Breen (The Armchair Detective, February 1973), 1 page:
     "Detective fiction is the great Anglo-American art form, yet only the compiler's wife represented the British in this poll."
The winner . . .
(11) "The Old-Time Detection Poll of 2018," by Arthur Vidro, 2 pages:
     "Reader response was surprisingly strong."
     Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE).

. . . and still Number One 45 years later.
(12) "Christie Corner," by Dr. John Curran (2018):
       "The Queen of Crime still reigns supreme."

"But whose Poirot was he portraying? Certainly not Agatha Christie's."
(13) Mini-ReviewsKeen appraisals of the known and the relatively obscure:
     ~ Mom Doth Murder Sleep (1991), reviewed by Ruth Ordivar:
       ". . . an unsung and often forgotten writer . . ."
       Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE).

     ~ The Case of the Counterfeit Eye (1935), reviewed by Arthur Vidro:
       ". . . the plot zips along at an ultra-rapid pace."
       Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE).

     ~ The Mysterious World of Agatha Christie (1975), reviewed by Amnon Kabatchnik (1976):
       "It is a treasure."
       Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE).

       ~ Artists in Crime (1938), reviewed by Arthur Vidro:
       ". . . I found the book a bit tedious."
       Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE).

(14) "The Readers Write":
       "Congratulations upon the reprinting of William Brittain's long-lost story."

(15) Puzzle Page
     Related: The GAD Wiki (HERE).
~ ~ ~
Subscription information:
- Published three times a year: spring, summer, and autumn.
- Sample copy: $6.00 in U.S.; $10.00 anywhere else.
- One-year U.S.: $18.00 ($15.00 for Mensans).
- One-year overseas: $40.00 (or 20 pounds sterling or 25 euros).
- Payment: Checks payable to Arthur Vidro, or cash from any nation, or U.S. postage stamps.
Mailing address:
   Arthur Vidro, editor
   Old-Time Detection
   2 Ellery Street
   Claremont, New Hampshire 03743
Web address:
   oldtimedetection@netzero.net

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Resource:

- We had the pleasure of reviewing Issue #46 of OTD (HERE).
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Friday, June 8, 2018

"Curiouser and Curiouser"

"Alimentary, My Dear Watson."
By Lawrence Schimel (born 1971).

First appearance: Sherlock Holmes in Orbit (1995).
Reprinted in The Dragon Done It (2008).
Reprints page (HERE).
Short short short story (3 pages as a PDF).
Online at Baen Books (HERE).

"You might write in your notes that he died of consumption, if you're willing to interpret the term loosely."
There's more than one way for justice to be served; take, for instance, in Alice's mixture of cherry tart, custard, pineapple, roast turkey, and toffee—nor, she reminds us, should we forget the hot buttered toast and the most important ingredient of all, Dinah, of the furry persuasion . . .
Resources:
- Our author has been publishing SFF since 1990; see the ISFDb (HERE) for more.

- One Holmes adventure (online HERE; a couple of mouse clicks might be necessary) 
is heavily referenced in our story, while it and a children's classic (HERE) both get the postmodern treatment.

The bottom line: "Children seem to me a remarkable race. They want so much to murder so many people, and they so rarely murder anybody at all."
  ― Rebecca West

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

"I S'pose You and Hawkeye Over There Can Solve This Crime"

"Dawg Tracks."
By G. W. Barrington (1876-1955).
First appearance: Short Stories, November 10, 1935.
Short story (13 pages, 7 illos).

Online at Archive.org (HERE).
(Parental caution: Strong language, some of it racist.)

"At that, though, you moughta got away with it, if it hadn't been fur a skift of rain, an' a houn' dawg—an' Danny Simmons."
Dallas metropolitan police investigating a murder claim they've wrapped up the case nice and tight ("Well, boys, what do you think of our city methods now? Scientific, eh? Johnny-at-the-rat-hole, eh? Quick service, eh?"), but a couple of skeptical country cops who've come along for the ride have their own way of solving murders . . .

Characters:
~ John Collum, a man with friends in high places—but even they couldn't save his life:

  "Clad in a faded purple bathrobe, the time-worn, emaciated figure lay sprawled on a rug by the gloomy old canopied bed. There had been no struggle. The left temple had been caved in. Only a thin trickle of blood had dried on the craggy cheek-bone. One stiffened hand still clutched a long-stemmed pipe, embers from which had slightly scorched the rug beside 
the old man's shoulder."
~ Detective Moffat, with the Dallas police force:
  ". . . a real city detective out on a murder case!"

~ The lieutenant, pressurized:
  ". . . the lieutenant had malleted his favorite bald spot on the desk with a knuckly fist and sworn by the wraiths of Nick Carter and Old Sleuth that if this crime was added to the six others unsolved during the past thirty days somebody was going to ketch hell. He had 

looked hard at Moffat when he said 'somebody.'"
~ The captain, pressurizer:
  ". . . whose facial expression backed up everything the lieutenant's malleting fist had conveyed."

~ Speed Smiley, not the world's best driver:
  "Nawthin' serious. Bunged shoulder, ankle on the bum, noodle a little woozy. Guess I'll live."

~ Sheriff Bob Forrest, endowed with a dialect unknown to science:
  "You know that word 'smart' means a hull lot, or nawthin' Mister. Depends on who's usin' it, an' who he's pastin' it onto."

~ Danny Simmons, Forrest's taciturn deputy:
  ". . . also wore his badge, and in the crook of his arm nestled a light, high-powered rifle that seemed to belong just there."

~ Perkins, the butler, an import:
  "Permit me to say, 'e must be an extraordinarily soft-moving person, quite. Not a sound did I 'ear from 'im while 'e was prowling about and looting the bally safe. It was fair spooky, sir, I assure you."

~ Melissa, the maid:
  ". . . a buxom, round-faced brunette, had worked in the house before poor dear Mrs. Cullom had died, six years previously. She had taken the evening off to see the pictures, returning shortly after eleven to find Perkins tied. She had gotten a knife from the kitchen and cut him loose somehow."
~ Tiney Stevens, Braley and Smith, Eddie Stalworth:
  Assigned to the case.

Typo: "Satnding on the threshold".

Nice bit of equinification:

   "Sticking its steaming prow into the winding drive, the flivver displayed 
a new variety of vibrations and abdominal rumblings when its worn tires encountered a brick-flagged roadway. When it stopped, panting and shud-
dering, beside the deep front veranda, Moffat was already on the running board."

Resource:
- FictionMags's notes about George Whitfield Barrington say: "Traveller, soldier and author. Died in Dallas, Texas." Barrington's short fiction output, spanning thirty years, takes up the better part of two pages and, typical of a pulp writer of the era, shows that he wrote in many genres, with Westerns understandably predominating.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Monday, June 4, 2018

"Beware Lest You Open This Box"

"The Episode of the Perilous Talisman."
By Jeremiah Phelan (C. Daly King, 1895-1963).
First appearance: The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, February 1951.
Reprinted in The Curious Mr. Tarrant (1935) and The Complete Curious Mr. Tarrant (2003).
Novelette (21 pages, 1 illo).
Online at Archive.org (HERE).

"You will never survive."
Gazing into the Mirror of Truth isn't for the faint of heart; there are reports of people dying because of it. Trevis Tarrant knows it's a risk, but he feels it's a necessary one if he's going 
to prevent a murder . . .
Resources:
- Because of confusing title changes and other instances of editorial switcheroo, here is a by-no-means completely accurate list of Trevis Tarrant stories [data from FictionMags]:
  (1) "The Episode of 'Torment IV,'" 1934; Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, April 1990.
  (2) "Invisible Terror," Mystery, February 1935; also published as “The Tangible Illusion.”
  (3) "The Affair on the Roof," Mystery, March 1935; also published as “The Nail and the Requiem.”
  (4) "The Vanishing Harp," The Curious Mr. Tarrant (1935); AHMM, August 1987; also published as “The Episode of the Vanishing Harp.”

  (5) "The Episode of the Man with Three Eyes," The Curious Mr. Tarrant (1935).
  (6) "The Episode of the Final Bargain," The Curious Mr. Tarrant (1935).
  (7) "Lost Star," Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, September 1944; EQMM Overseas Edition for the Armed Forces, September 1944; and EQMM (Australia), May 1948.
  (8) "The Episode of the Sinister Inventor," Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, December 1946; EQMM (Australia), August 1948.
  (9) "The Episode of the Perilous Talisman," The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction, February 1951 [above].
  (10) "The Episode of the Absent Fish," Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, April 1979.

- And here is WorldCat's TOC for The Complete Curious Mr. Tarrant, a few of which tally with the previous list, remarkably enough:
  (1) "The Episode of the Codex' Curse"
  (2) "The Episode of the Tangible Illusion" [Mystery, February 1935 as "Invisible Terror"; EQMM, November 1947 and EQMM (Australia), August 1949]
  (3) "The Episode of the Nail and the Requiem" [Mystery, March 1935 as "The Affair on the Roof"; EQMM, May 1944; EQMM Overseas Edition for the Armed Forces, May 1944; and EQMM (Australia), March 1948]
  (4) "The Episode of 'Torment IV'"
  (5) "The Episode of the Headless Horrors"
  (6) "The Episode of the Vanishing Harp" [a.k.a. "The Vanishing Harp"]

  (7) "The Episode of the Man with Three Eyes"
  (8) "The Episode of the Final Bargain"
  (9) "The Episode of the Little Girl Who Wasn't There"
  (10) "The Episode of the Sinister Invention"
  (11) "The Episode of the Absent Fish" [EQMM, April 1979]
  (12) "The Episode of the Perilous Talisman" [above].

- Concerning our story, "The Episode of the Perilous Talisman," others have written:

   ". . . it can in some ways be considered to be either a fantasy or science fiction story, or a horror story. Or a detective story. It concerns an ancient Egyptian artifact that possesses certain very surprising powers. Not quite occult powers though. Perhaps scientific rather than magical, depending on how one defines science and magic. The story also involves a shady politician. Now why would a shady politician want to posses such an artifact? Tarrant 
has a fair idea of the answer to that question."
     — Vintage Pop Fictions
   ". . . a hitherto unpublished lesser thunderbolt concerning an Egyptian talisman with uncanny powers."
     — Kirkus Reviews
   "I wasn't enamoured with this story. It felt a bit slight, and again there is the paucity of characters which makes it a bit too obvious what happened."
     — Mysteries, Short and Sweet
   ". . . a combination fantasy and mystery story. Such hybrid works are fairly common in the sf world. This tale is nicely done, with some clever ideas, and King's patented ability to create suspense. This seems to be King's final work of fiction published during his lifetime."
     — Mike Grost

- It's hard not to find something about Charles Daly King on the Worldwide Webbie; consult the GAD Wiki (HERE and HERE), the ISFDb (HERE), Vintage Pop Fictions (HERE), Kirkus Reviews (HERE), Mysteries, Short and Sweet (HERE), and Mike Grost (HERE).
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~