Wednesday, March 9, 2016

"While I'm Working in the Ballroom You'll Dust Off the Safe in the Bedroom Upstairs"

"Open and Shut."
By C. S. Montayne (1892-1948).
First appearance: Clues Detective Stories, November 1935.
Collected in Frozen Hours (for sale HERE).
Short short short story (2 pages).
Online at PulpGen HERE (PDF).
"Say, isn't it funny the way guys fall for these redheads? They must be smart or something."
Never get between a girl and her jewelry—never:
He drilled a hole above the safe’s central knob. The soap filled in the crack around the door. With an eyedropper he carefully dripped nitro into the hole. Then he made the double connection with the detonator wires, held a rug snatched up from the floor over the safe and touched off the charge. The explosion was dull and muffled. He dropped the rug, opened the twisted door and lifted out an ebony jewel box.
He carried the box to the bed, opened it and stared at its glittering contents.
A voice came from the other side of the room. "I really wouldn't take that away," it said. "Mother is particularly fond of her necklace and rings. If I were you I'd put it back."  . . .
Principal characters:
~ Slim Gordon: In the criminal world, he'd be middle management.
~ Anstey: When he's not cracking safes, he's getting bamboozled by pretty girls.
~ Professor Morgan: He works his magic by remote control.
~ "A pretty girl with bright-red hair": . . . and plenty of moxie, too.
- When it came to crime fiction, C. S. Montayne was primarily a writer of the hardboiled school; three of his series characters were The Canary Kid (list HERE), Johnny Castle (info HERE, HERE, and HERE), and Dave McClain (HERE and HERE). Montayne was also a member of a mob of writers who churned out adventures for The Phantom Detective (not to be confused with Lee Falk's The Phantom)—see article HERE and list HERE; his own massive FictionMags listing (HERE) begins in 1913 and runs to 1950.

The bottom line: "Dumb jewels often, in their silent kind, More than quick words, do move a woman's mind."

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