Saturday, December 17, 2016

"It Looked Safe—Absolutely Safe"

"Murder in Haste."
By John Baer (?-?).
First appearance: The Black Mask, August 1922.
Reprinted in Black Mask (U.K.), April 1935.
Short short story (7 pages).
Online at SFFAudio (HERE) (PDF) and Archive.org (HERE; text very faded).
"They can't do more than electrocute a man. The murder certainly seemed to be an absolute necessity. . . ."
"Detective Carr," we're told, "was one of the department's famous camera-eye men. No disguise had as yet fooled him. He was able to penetrate almost immediately any artificial changes of appearance." A grand talent indeed for a police detective, one that will lead him from a cold case of theft and murder to a dentist's office furnished with a desperate killer . . .

Resources:
- John Baer's FictionMags list shows his most prolific period was the Roaring Twenties, with dozens of stories appearing in all the major crime pulps of the time, primarily The Black Mask and Detective Story; apart from that, we can find nothing else about him.
- Apparently dentists are no less susceptible to committing murder than the rest of us:
   ~ Clara Harris (HERE)
   ~ Glennon Engleman (HERE)
   ~ Colin Howell (HERE)
   ~ Tony Protopappas (HERE)
   ~ Virginia Larzelere (HERE)
   ~ Ricardo Barreda (HERE)
. . . and let's not forget the occasional homicidal faux dentist (HERE).
"Is it safe?"
The bottom line: "I told my dentist my teeth are going yellow. He told me to wear a brown tie."
Rodney Dangerfield

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