Wednesday, December 5, 2018

"If You Hadn't Forgotten and Locked That Door You Might Have Gotten Away with It"

"Creature of Habit."
By William P. McGivern (1922-82).
First appearance: Mammoth Mystery, October 1946.
Short story (12 pages).
Online at (HERE).

     "You will receive your punishment before long."

It's the little things, they tell us, that make life worth living, but it's also the little things that can get you the gas chamber . . .

~ Detective O'Neill (narrator):

  "The call came into the station about ten o'clock in the morning."
~ Larson and Smith:
  "'Larson reads detective novels,' I said. 'He thinks he's Ellery Queen lately. Smith doesn't read anything, because he never learned how. What am I going to do with those two meat-balls? Let me take McIntyre or —'"

~ Inspector Evans:
  "'That's enough, O'Neill.' He looked at me over his rimless spectacles and nodded at the door. 'Better get going.' That ended the argument."

~ Mr. Prescott:
  ". . . was sitting in his chair. There was a white gag through his lips and there was a blue hole in his forehead from which blood was welling."

~ Agnes:
  "He told me to let her come in. I didn't like it. She didn't look right."
~ Laura Prescott Walsh and Ralph Walsh:
  "What do we need an alibi for? If you think we killed him, you're crazy."

Typos: "agrument"; "on the niside"; "comes up with the [?] everyone else"; "and look up"; "they aloped"; "O'Malley talking" [should be O'Neill]; "tableclothes".

- William Peter McGivern was equally adept at SFF and crime fiction:
   "By his own estimate McGivern wrote 300 stories for Ziff-Davis, about half of which were sf/fantasy and half mystery/suspense."
   — "William P. McGivern," SFE: The Encyclopedia of Science Fiction (HERE)

- Plenty of info about McGivern can be found in Wikipedia (HERE), the SFE (HERE), and the IMDb (HERE).
- This isn't the first time we've met McGivern; we featured a couple of his SFFnal efforts (HERE) and (HERE).

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