Wednesday, March 13, 2019

"Now All We Have to Figure Out Is Which One of Them Was Really the Intended Victim"

EDWARD D. HOCH's redoubtable trio of persistent police officers becomes involved "in a police procedural that is more straightforward than usual, but as usual has as many dead ends along the way."

"The Woman Without a Past."
By Edward D. Hoch (1930-2008).
First appearance: Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, April 22, 1981.

Short story (16 pages).
Online at (HERE).

     "He stood looking at her, holding a long-barreled target pistol in his right hand."

The Bard observed, "What's past is prologue," the truth of which a young woman is about to learn the hard way . . .

~ Judy Thomas
  ". . . has worked at the license bureau for ten months, ever since she moved to the city. Before that her life is a blank."
  "What do you mean?"
  "Just that—she has no past!"
~ Sergeant Connie Trent:
  "She must have a past somewhere. She didn't emerge full-grown from an egg ten months ago."
~ Lieutenant Fletcher:
  "No, I don't think it was robbery. The killer was waiting for them."
~ Genner:
  "He was all in shadows."
~ Carl Forrester:
  ". . . had a case of ether in the closet of his home."
~ Greg Porson:
  "When I heard the news I couldn't believe it! Carl was one of my best salesmen."
~ Max Swann:
  "Those small-caliber pistols are popular with hit men."
~ Rudy Vega:
  "Look, this stuff isn't against the law. Not yet, anyway. Not in this state."
~ Captain Leopold:
  "We're on the same side of the law, aren't we?"

- Edward Dentinger Hoch wrote nearly 90 Captain Leopold stories, a half dozen of which appeared in The Saint Magazine (U.K.) under his alter ego alias, Stephen Dentinger (FictionMags data). TV Tropes has a short but informative page about our author (HERE).

- In case you missed J. Madison Davis's tribute to Hoch, we featured it (HERE).
- If you have an interest in the chemistry of ether, see Britannica (HERE) and Wikipedia (HERE).

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