Friday, September 11, 2020

"You Know, I Always Think of Everything"

DETECTIVE FICTION AUTHORS seem to delight in setting up impossible crime scenarios, only to show how in every instance they can unravel for an infinity of unanticipated reasons; for example, here's one such showing us an overconfident killer making a . . .

"Fatal Mistake."
By John Basye Price (1906-56).
First appearance: Suspense Magazine, Summer 1951.
Short short short story (3 pages).
Online at (HERE).

     "This business coup is my own invention."

You might have heard of "cutthroat" business practices, meaning intense activity to gain a competitive edge, but that can go too far . . .

Principal characters:
~ Jack Morton:
  "Here you see the profit I shall make from this transaction."
~ Vickers:
  ". . . had been too dazed to speak, but suddenly he began to laugh."

References and resources:
- "Murder, Inc., and certain Kefauver Committee witnesses": "Murder, Inc. (Murder, Incorporated) was an organized crime group in the 1930s and '40s that acted as the enforcement arm of the Italian-American Mafia, Jewish Mob, and connected organized crime groups in New York City and elsewhere. The group was mainly composed of Jewish-American gangsters and Italian-American gangsters." (Wikipedia HERE). "The United States Senate Special Committee to Investigate Crime in Interstate Commerce was a special committee of the United States Senate which existed from 1950 to 1951 and which investigated organized crime which crossed state borders in the United States. The committee became popularly known as the Kefauver Committee because of its chairman, Senator Estes Kefauver. The term capo di tutti capi was introduced to the U.S. public by the Kefauver Commission." (Wikipedia HERE).
- John Basye Price's very small crime fiction output consisted of just four stories (FictionMags data): 
  (1) "Fatal Mistake," Suspense Magazine, Summer 1951 (above)
  (2) "Murder for Fine Art," The London Mystery Magazine #14 (1952)
  (3) "Death and the Rope Trick," The London Mystery Magazine #21 (1954)
  (4) "The Combination Lock," London Mystery Selection #43 (1959).
- If you're interested in a real life impossible crime of the locked room variety, see our article featuring Ben Hecht's "The Mystery of the Fabulous Laundryman" (HERE).

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