Friday, January 10, 2020

"Be Natural or Be Dead"

HERE WE HAVE what could be called a shorts story . . .

"Dibble Dabbles in Death."
By David Wright O'Brien (1918-44).

Illustration by Richard M. Fletcher.
First appearance: Mammoth Detective, February 1945.

Short story (14 pages).
Online at Roy Glashan's Library (RGL; HTML; HERE).
(Parental caution: Mild profanity.)

     "It came to him, very suddenly, that he was looking at murder for the first time in his life."

In the end, you might say, Dibble proves he's a cut above the average gentleman—although, to be strictly accurate, it should be a cut below . . .

~ The body:

  "The man's head and torso lay across a mass of old newspapers, and the newspapers 
were stained with something reddish purple that oozed slowly from a gaping hole in the man's forehead."
~ Delbert Dibble:
  "A middle-aged executive, with a middle-aged paunch, balding head, and round cherubic face, Delbert Dibble could, on occasion, present a rather forceful dynamic-businessman 
sort of appearance. Unfortunately, however, this was not such an occasion for it."
~ The man in charge and the house dick:
  "With him was the thin, nervous little hotel manager and a bulking, indolent, triple-chinned person named Fagin, who was the house detective."
~ The visitor:
  "He saw his visitor as he reached the end of the hall and the threshold of the bedroom. The man was sitting in an armchair. He had a glass in his hand, and at his elbow was a bottle of Dibble's bourbon."
~ The detective and the man from the Federal Bureau:
  "A businesslike, gray-haired homicide lieutenant" and "a serious young man with blond hair and wide shoulders and glasses."

- "Much like cordite": At least he didn't write "gunpowder."

   "Gunpowder, an explosive mixture of sulfur, charcoal and potassium nitrate (also known as saltpetre), was the original propellant employed in firearms and fireworks. It was used from about the 10th or 11th century onwards, but it had disadvantages, including the large quantity of smoke it produced. With the 19th-century development of various 'nitro explosives', based on the reaction of nitric acid mixtures on materials such as cellulose and glycerine, 
a search began for a replacement for gunpowder." (Wikipedia HERE).

- A dead body that just won't stay put was also the premise for an Alfred Hitchcock movie, The Trouble with Harry (1955); see Wikipedia (HERE; SPOILERS) and the IMDb (HERE; also SPOILERS).
- David Wright O'Brien's untimely death in World War Two cut short what would undoubtedly have been a long and successful career as an author.
- Our latest posting featuring O'Brien was his SFFnal "The Money Machine" (HERE).
- Roy Glashan's still-growing collection of David Wright O'Brien's works is (HERE).


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