Monday, September 7, 2015

True Crime from Erle Stanley Gardner

". . . the most important clue in the case was invisible to all human eyes."

"The Case of the Invisible Circle."
By Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970).
True life crime account (5 pages).
Found in Mercury Mystery Book-Magazine, July 1956.
Online HERE.
"A beautiful coed is raped and murdered. Only one clue is found, and that so small that it is invisible to the naked eye. Here, Erle Stanley Gardner recounts how one tiny lead enabled the police to bring a murderer to justice . . ."
The creator of Perry Mason, Lester Leith, The Patent Leather Kid, and other memorable fictional characters helps to solve a real life crime:
ANY VETERAN INVESTIGATOR WILL tell you that it's very easy to overlook the most significant clue in a murder case. I remember one such case where the most significant clue was a circle on the naked right hip of a beautiful young coed. This girl had been murdered in a sex crime. The significant thing about that circle on her hip was that no one ever saw it.  . . .
. . . As it turned out that murder case had all of the weird, bizarre facets one could well imagine. There were clues so utterly perplexing, there was a mystery so completely baffling that it would make the wildest fiction tale seem tame in comparison.  . . .
"The Case of the Knockout Bullet."
By Erle Stanley Gardner (1889-1970).
True life crime account (5 pages).
Found in Mercury Mystery Book-Magazine, September 1956.
Online HERE.
"Almost everyone knows that Stanley Ketchel was one of the great boxing champions of all time, but many have forgotten that he was murdered—and under baffling circumstances. All the evidence pointed to a gambling syndicate yet the case was obscured by a missing diamond stickpin, a lucky bracelet, and a pretty cook. Here Erle Stanley Gardner relates how this strange case was solved by not following the logical clues . . ."
Once again jealousy rears its lethal head:
BY A TWIST OF IRONY, THE FAMED sports celebrity destined for death at the hand of a murderer, that autumn morning long ago, had been known to millions as "The Michigan Assassin."
It was an appellation in no way related to the crime of murder, in its customary meaning. Sportswriters had created it as a tag for a brilliant young boxer as he fought his way in the prize ring to a world's championship title.
So, oddly, in this case it was to be the "assassin" who would be the victim. And it was a bullet instead of the fist of an opponent that delivered the knockout that ended forever the career of Stanley Ketchel, world's middleweight champion of his day.  . . .
Stanley Ketchel, 1886-1910
- There's plenty to learn about Erle Stanley Gardner on Wikipedia (HERE) and The Thrilling Detective website (HERE); the first of many pages listing his shorter works is on The FictionMags Index (HERE).
- As for The Patent Leather Kid, we covered some of his exploits HERE.
- Craig Rice was another mystery fiction author who wrote about real life crime; go HERE for more.

Category: True crime

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