Sunday, September 6, 2015

"This Was the Secret, Scientific Death"

"The Puzzle Duel."
By Miles J. Breuer, M.D. (1889-1945[7?]).
Short short short story (4 pages).
Found in Amazing Stories Quarterly, Winter 1928.
Online (with typos and faded text) HERE (scroll to page 133) and HERE (FlipBook or PDF).
In his introduction to the story, a locked room mystery of sorts, editor Hugo Gernsback informs us:
OUR author, who is also a practicing physician, is well known to readers of Amazing Stories. Here Dr. Breuer has given us a most astonishing story with an novel theme and a surprising ending, thrown in for good measure. We promise you an interesting twenty minutes with this story.
However, although this is Amazing Stories, the flagship of science fiction magazines, "The Puzzle Duel" isn't really SF:
. . . Again my mind returned to the mystery. The only window in the room was closed and locked on the inside. Outside, five stories of smooth, gray brick wall stretched down to the ground, with a feeble wisp of ivy here and there. There was no exit save through our sleeping room; this had one door into the corri-dor, locked on the inside. No one could have gotten in or out unobserved. What a foolish idea! Of course no one had gotten in or out. This was the secret, scien-tific death . . .
. . . I stood off from the crowd and reflected. Things seemed to balance now. Appropriately, by the hand of a man several days in his grave . . . .
- You can find a lot more information about Miles Breuer on Wikipedia HERE and the ISFDb HERE.

Category: Fiction with science but not science fiction

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