Saturday, April 16, 2016

"You Might Say This Is the Story of a Murder — Although Nobody Was Killed"

"A Kind of Murder."
By Hugh Pentecost (Judson Philips, 1903-89).
First appearance: EQMM, August 1962.
Reprinted in EQMM (U.K.), December 1962 and EQMM (Australia), February 1963.
Short short story (8 pages).
Online HERE (PDF).
(Note: Crimped text.)
"I have lived for many years with the burden on my conscience of having been responsible for the existence of a walking dead man."
Sometimes a murderer doesn't need to use a weapon—indeed, doesn't need to do anything at all.

Principal characters:
~ Pentecost (narrator): The murderer.
~ Silas Warren: The victim.
~ Henry Huntingdon Hadley: The headmaster.
~ Major Durand: The bully.
~ Sammy Callahan: The class cutup.
~ Teddy: The quadruped.
Resources:
- Wikipedia HERE and the GAD Wiki HERE have much to say about "Hugh Pentecost," with a little more on the IMDb HERE.
- Mike Grost has a substantial entry about "Pentecost" on his Guide to Classic Mystery and Detection HEREwhile Mystery*File has paid visits to other works by Philips HERE and HERE.
- One of Pentecost's series characters was John Jericho, featured in six novels and a couple of dozen EQMM short stories; see The Thrilling Detective HERE and FictionMags HERE for more.
- Also from FictionMags (HERE) we learn that Philips started his writing career in the '20s and kept it going for another sixty-four years.

The bottom line: "Indifference is a paralysis of the soul, a premature death."
Anton Chekhov

3 comments:

  1. I actually read a Hugh Pentecost murder mystery story quite recently - THE MURDER MACHINE. Not a bad story either.

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    1. Allan - Over the years I've sporadically read Pentecost's short fiction; his plotting seems to run from only fair to quite good. "A Kind of Murder" has a psychologically-based plot such as Poe might have come up with, but without the grue. I'm not sure when, or even if, I'll get around to Pentecost's novels.

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    2. THE MURDER MACHINE certainly has a pretty nifty plot, with definite impossible crime connotations. It's included in the anthology THE GIANT BOOK OF SHORT CRIME STORIES edited by Pronzini and Greenberg.

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