By Robert Arthur (1909-69).
First appearance: Detective Fiction Weekly, November 10, 1934.
Short story (12 pages).
"Can You Spot the One Clue That Will Break the Case of the Foot-Print on the Side of a Dead Man's House? You Can if You Are Too Dumb to Be Fooled"There's always a tendency to distrust the obvious clues turned up in an investigation; surely, the detective might say, somebody can't be that stupid, can they?
When Andrew Jenkins, a rich, feeble, and cantankerous old man (aren't they always?) has his throat cut while he's asleep, District Attorney Hopkins decides to bypass protocol and investigate this case on his own, assisted by Sergeant Ed Gore (our smug narrator) and Officer Solly Jenkins (not exactly the sharpest tool in the box). By checking alibis and timetables, D. A. Hopkins and the boys narrow the suspects down to three: Arnold and Hank Jenkins, the old man's contentious sons, and Norfolk, the apparently unflappable butler.
After some particulary damning evidence implicating one of the sons is easily found in his room, our three investigators think they've solved it—but to the D. A.'s annoyance, Officer Jenkins isn't convinced. It will take one crucial clue involving a cook stove, this one turned up by the skeptical Solly, to nail down who the killer really is and how he nearly gets away with framing somebody else.
Comment: ". . . our three investigators . . .": Get it?
- Wikipedia HERE - FictionMags HERE - ISFDb HERE - IMDb HERE.
- A website devoted to all things Hitchcock has more information HERE, and one dedicated to Robert Arthur is HERE.
- At The Locked Room HERE, P. J. Bergman has a review of one of Arthur's most popular books, one that you, like us, might have read as a kid.
- Another Arthur story caught our attention in an earlier posting HERE.
The bottom line: "The impossible could not have happened, therefore the impossible must be possible in spite of appearances."
— Hercule Poirot