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.
- 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


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

    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.

    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.