By John B. Kennedy (1894-1961).
Found in Collier's Weekly, February 2, 1929.
Short short short story (3 pages).
"The Great Alexander was a very clever man. But even he slipped—just once ..."Sufficiently motivated, people will do almost anything; could $150,000 be enough motivation to kill a man in a fiery conflagration in front of hundreds of people?
. . . Flames spread outward and upward, smoke broke in wisps from black draperies, which curled and spat out other flames. These rippled swiftly along a hanging sky-piece, and suddenly there were shouts and the rush of feet on the stage. The asbestos shot down, and ushers ran the aisles warning the stirring crowd to go carefully to the exits. With the bite of smoke in their nostrils the crowd obeyed, while alarms sounded. And as the frightened spectators tumbled into the afternoon sunshine the clanging of fire apparatus greeted them. . . .Resources:
- Here we have a crime author with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; see Wikipedia HERE.
- Almost all of John B. Kennedy's output was published in Collier's; see the FictionMags index HERE.
- A couple of other crime stories involving stage magic and a dogged detective, both of them Columbo TV episodes, are outlined HERE and HERE.