Monday, December 26, 2016

"How Can a Dirty Killer Lie There and Look So Peaceful?"

WHOEVER HOWARD FINNEY, JR. WAS, he evidently didn't produce very much crime fiction—or, for that matter, much fiction of any kind, as this FictionMags listing attests:

   (1) "Murder on the Limited," Detective-Dragnet Magazine, September 1932 (below)
   (2) "The Late Customer," Detective Fiction Weekly, October 8, 1932
   (3) "Death Rides at Anchor," Detective Fiction Weekly, April 22, 1933
   (4) "Personal—$5000 Reward," Detective Fiction Weekly, September 30, 1933.

At least our story today takes place on a train; railway-related mysteries, especially those from the Golden Age of Detective Fiction, seem to have been quite a popular subgenre among writers of the period. Indeed, we've already stumbled across a few in our peregrinations about the Wide World Web (HERE), (HERE), and (HERE).

"Murder on the Limited."
By Howard Finney, Jr. (?-?).
First appearance: Detective-Dragnet Magazine, September 1932.
Short story (10 pages).
Online at ManyBooks (HERE).
"The section of his white pajamas from just below the shoulder blades to the small of the back was a dark, moist red that glistened like jelly in the yellow ray of the light. His head was half turned toward them, revealing the wild agony in his eye and the lips drawn back for the scream that had never passed them."
For Stanley, the Pullman conductor on the west-bound Mississippi Limited, tonight is 
going to be far from ordinary—a frightened woman searching for her lost husband, a 
bloody murder in one of the berths, an identity switch, getting coshed on the noggin and kicked like a mule, and to add insult to injury being called a "meddling old fool" by the 
man in Lower Ten—nope, these definitely aren't the usual things Stanley encounters 
on the normally tranquil Mississippi Limited.
- A Sherlock Holmes manqué has audio recorded some hitherto unreported railway mysteries from the pen of Dr. Watson (HERE).
- As a venue for crime, trains are still popular; go to AbeBooks (HERE) for a very short list.
(Click on image to enlarge.)

The bottom line: "I’m going to kill myself. I should go to Paris and jump off the Eiffel Tower. I’ll be dead. You know, in fact, if I take the Concorde, I could be dead three hours earlier, which would be perfect. Or — wait a minute! With the time change, I could be alive for six hours in New York but dead three hours in Paris. I could get things done, and I could also be dead."
Joe Berlin

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