Friday, January 25, 2019

"It Became Cruelly Apparent That He’d Deliberately Committed Suicide"

"Satan Turns the Timetables."
By David M. Norman (Norman A. Daniels, 1905-95).
First appearance: 10-Story Detective, September 1943.
Short short story (7 pages).
Online at Pulpgen (HERE).

     "Steve Abbott didn't believe in ghosts. He was leery when the engineer on Number 74 claimed to have run over a ghost on the track. But when Abbott went out to search for a mangled body, he himself was railroaded into a séance with Satan."

It's enough to make a believer out of just about anybody:

   "Steve drew his gun and noticed that his hand shook badly. The ghost stood there, daring him to come closer. There was a certain wavering quality to the spectre. Then Steve really got a shock. . . ."


Characters:
~ Midford:

  "It was his friend, dead for five years—killed close by in an accident. Midford—whom he had known so well and could never mistake. Midford seemed huge, towering, and he stayed right in the middle of the tracks."
~ Joe Mead:
  ". . . got under way in quick time, but he kept shaking his head from side to side. He couldn’t understand it. The man had been there, right in the middle of the tracks and yet there’d been no corpse, no blood—nothing."
~ The fireman:
  "Pop was talking funny just before it happened. Said he had a premonition or something. Maybe the poor guy has gone crazy."
~ The conductor:
  "All right, Joe, but the body didn’t just vanish. Even if it did, there’d be blood stains. This baby you pilot doesn’t tickle people she hits."
~ The signalman:
  "I didn’t see anybody, and I watched you roll through here. It’s the only excitement I ever get in this forsaken spot."
~ Steve Abbott:
  ". . . a railroad detective, didn’t know too much about homicide. He was no city cop with laboratories at his command, or hundreds of men to help check details. He was virtually alone."


Typo: "a man's fun attention".

Resource:
- We have a more comprehensive posting about uberpulpster Norman Daniels (HERE).

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~ BONUS ~
CRIME ON THE TRACKS: RAILWAY-RELATED STORIES IN 2018

We highlighted nine railway-related "mysteries" in 2018 (for our purposes, the term "railway-related" means that in some fashion trains were involved, even if only marginally, in the plot):

(1) February 8: "The Missing Pullman Car" - (HERE).
(2) February 27: "The Ends of Justice" - (HERE).
(3) March 15: "The Night Express: The Story of a Bank Robbery" - (HERE).
(4) March 16: "One Foggy Night" - (HERE).
(5) April 3: "A Terrible Railway Ride: The Story of the Man with the False Nose" - (HERE).
(6) May 11: "In the King Row" - (HERE).
(7) August 15: "High Iron Rolling" - (HERE).
(8) September 14: "In the Rockhurst Tunnel: The Ganger's Story" - (HERE).
(9) November 21: "The Knight's Cross Signal Problem" - (HERE).

For a 2017 list, go (HERE).
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