Monday, December 5, 2016

"He Didn't Bother to Check His Work"

"X-Ray Murder."
By Milton Kaletzky (1911-88).
First appearance: Amazing Stories, September 1940.
Reprinted in Amazing Stories Quarterly, Spring 1941.
Short short story (5 pages).
Online at (HERE).
"The test of an efficient scientist and his success doesn't lie in genius, but in attention to exact detail and careful checking—even in plotting murder"
As this story confirms, no murderer can escape . . . himself.
Main characters:
~ Banks:
   "It was these rays that were the great discovery. For Banks had found that with these rays, he could disrupt and rebuild atoms and molecules at will! Transmutation on a large scale was at last possible, and the secret of creation was within man's grasp!"
~ The director:
   "If he doesn't improve very soon, out he goes. That's final!"
~ Leonard Horton:
   "Tomorrow morning he must put his plan into action."

- All we could find about our author was his bibliographical data (HERE).
- The murder weapon in this story is more technically complex than the one in Asimov's rather similar "The Billiard Ball" (HERE), so it lacks the beautiful simplicity of the Good Doctor's conception.

The bottom line: "They who search after the Philosopher's Stone [are] by their own rules obliged to a strict and religious life."
Isaac Newton

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