Saturday, December 24, 2016

"Why Couldn’t One Shot Have Stopped His Watch, Like in a Story Mystery?"

"A Burning Clue."
By E. Hoffman Price (1898-1988).
First appearance: Ten Detective Aces, May-June 1933.
Short short short story (3 pages).
"A murder and a suicide! The insurance company held up $50,000 on the grounds that the shots were fired after 12 noon. But there was no proof. Neither was there proof that the shots were fired before 12 noon. Claire faced a difficult problem."
Time waits for no man, not even murder victims, as Claire Dennison and Martha Jarvis, two sisters, know only too well. Martha, a brand new widow thanks to a .25 caliber exclamation mark fired into her philandering husband by one of his less temperate playmates, won't be collecting big on the life insurance policy because, according to the insurors, there's no 
way to prove the victim died before the policy lapsed—but there is, in fact, a way, and in a moment of inspiration clever Claire, remembering one of the undearly departed's vices, 
finds it.
- We last met up with E. Hoffman Price, this time as a co-author, (HERE).

The bottom line: "'Smoking is just a habit. Tolstoy', she said, mentioning someone I hadn't met, 'says that just as much pleasure can be got from twirling the fingers.' My impulse was to tell her Tolstoy was off his onion, but I choked down the heated words. For all I know, the man might be a bosom pal of hers and she might resent criticism of him, however justified.” 

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