By Harl Vincent (real name: Harold Vincent Schoepflin, 1893-1968).
First appearance: Exciting Detective, March 1941.
Short story (11 pages).
Online at Pulpgen HERE (Note: Link might not be working).
"Detective Jerry Cochran Traces a Sinister Murder Pattern and Spikes a Wily Killer's Design for Dying!"An industrial accident or murder? What do you think? This story is an instance of where the author's knowledge of mechanical engineering has a bearing on the plotline. A few passages follow:
. . . Where the coupling had been, there wasn’t anything but smashed flooring and twisted girders underneath. There was a big hole in the brick wall behind, where they said a hundred pound chunk had bulleted through and landed two hundred feet away out in the yard. Another chunk, about the same size, had just about torn off MacDermott’s head. Funny, he happened to be there just at the right time. . . .
~ ~ ~
. . . “Chauncey MacDermott died today.”
“So what?” Jerry snapped. “And who’s he?”
“He was General Super of the DeLacey Pump Works, just outside of Frankford. And he had a straight life coverage for fifty thousand bucks. For six months he held it, and now he’s supposed to be croaked by an accident in his own shop. Double indemnity, too.” Dudley’s voice became almost hysterical at the end.
“Don’t cry about it,” said Cochran, sighing. “So I suppose there’s a one-year suicide clause in the policy. And you want to prove he bumped himself off, is that it?”
“Anything you can learn, Deke,” Dudley said. “It’s fishy, somehow—a hunch of mine.” . . .
~ ~ ~
. . . “Hey, you!” The snarled words were almost hissed in his ear.
The investigator whirled to walk right into a vicious punch that caught him under the chin and snapped his head back. He saw a million stars and sat down abruptly. A kick in the ribs tipped him over. . . .
~ ~ ~
. . . "I’m the undertaker," said Jerry, mournfully. "The guy who finally caught up with you." . . .Resources:
- Read the Wikipedia article about Harl Vincent HERE, the Online Science Fiction Encyclopedia about him HERE, and The FictionMags Index of his short fiction HERE.
Category: Another one of those incredible bumpoffs with perfect timing