"Right After the Doctor."
By Roy de S. Horn (1894-1973).
First appearance: Detective Novel Magazine, August 1944.
Reprinted in Top Detective Annual, 1951.
Short story (11 pages).
Online at Archive.org (HERE).
(Note: Text faded but legible.)
The love of money has been called the root of all evil, a fact an asthmatic sea captain is about to learn the hard way . . . .
~ Captain Munroe:
"Well, when a seventy-five-year-old man has chronic asthma and dies from choking to death, that's generally the diagnosis."
"The canary in the corner—did he die of asthma, too, Doctor?"
"Thirty millions—and he ain't got no more use for it now than that canary!"
~ The parrot:
"Quarr-r-rrk! Quarrk! All hands and the cook! The cook—the cook—to blazes with the cook. Quarr-r-rrk!"
"I thought I told you to take those infernal birds out of here!"
~ Miss Fenner:
"I did, Doctor. Truly, I did. But he ordered me to bring them back! Said he preferred honest pets to selfish humans!"
"Who the devil's been burning old rags in here?"
~ Welton and Harriet Munroe:
"Captain Munroe's nephew" and "the Captain's niece."
~ Mrs. Murphy:
". . . a red-faced, middle-aged woman, unmistakably Irish . . ."
". . . captain in charge of the precinct station."
~ The bearded man:
". . . looked dazed, nodded, and drew out a legal-looking paper."
Typos: "Well tear up the ticket" [We'll]; "desave" [?].
References and resources:
- "enough cyanide in him to kill a cow!": A favorite with many killers, fictional and real life:
"If hydrogen cyanide is inhaled it can cause a coma with seizures, apnea, and cardiac arrest, with death following in a matter of seconds. At lower doses, loss of consciousness may be preceded by general weakness, dizziness, headaches, vertigo, confusion, and perceived difficulty in breathing. At the first stages of unconscious-ness, breathing is often sufficient or even rapid, although the state of the person progresses towards a deep coma, sometimes accompanied by pulmonary edema, and finally cardiac arrest" (Wikipedia HERE).
- "while I put on the darbies": "British slang: handcuffs; manacles" (Dictionary.com HERE).
- Roy de Saussure Horn wrote in different genres, including sea adventures, Westerns, war stories, and the occasional detective yarn; FictionMags's list of his short fiction begins in 1920 and runs to 1944, ending with today's story. Their thumbnail: "Naval officer, editor, publisher. Born in Boston, Georgia; died in Annapolis, Maryland."