Thursday, December 29, 2016

"The Detectives Laid Hands on Him; Then All Turned at the Sound of Light Footsteps and a Clear Pleasant Voice"

By Gordon Young (1886-1948).
First appearance: Adventure, January 3, 1921.
Short short story (9 pages).
Online at Comic Book Plus (HERE) (select page 80).
"The detectives looked wisely at each other; this woman was saving them the trouble of thinking."
Sometimes our reputation precedes us, which in Grant Douglas's case definitely isn't a good thing. Believed by just about everybody, including his own father, to be a thief, Grant finds himself accused of robbing his paterfamilias's safe, stealing his will, and trying to kill the 
old man; Grant's brother John, however, staunchly maintains his innocence. As it turns out, though, only one person is in a position to know for certain that Grant didn't do these 
terrible things, the woman he loves; trouble is, she isn't who Grant, and everyone else, 
thinks she is . . .

Main characters:
~ Grant Douglas:
   "Grant felt that it was very bad to have his father and brother think him a thief; but to 
have the woman that he suddenly loved think so too—and not care! That was what really bewildered him, and he sat in the dark and brooded."
~ Frances Wyck:
   "Behind her almost flirtatious manner he had seen that she was warily alert, and her blue eyes at times had an abrupt chilliness that was not explainable by anything he knew of other women."
~ John Douglas:
   "Most people approved of John, though he was preternaturally suave as perhaps a rising young lawyer should be; and, so Grant felt, was always making people around him painfully aware of his attentiveness to business. Tall, noiseless, soft-spoken, dark-eyed, pleasant, with a quick brain and an exasperatingly modest air, John had become the pride of his father's eye . . ."
~ Judge Douglas:
   "The temptation was too strong. You thought you could invent the story of the masked robber. You are no longer my son. I rewrite my will—tonight—now. Get out!"
Comment: An old-fashioned (even in 1921), melodramatic, and too predictable story which would benefit greatly if written in today's stringent style.

- Gordon Ray Young was known primarily for his straight adventure stories and Westerns, but he did occasionally commit a crime—a crime story, that is (see next); a short autobio-graphical article about him has been reproduced at PulpFlakes (HERE); Wikipedia's entry is (HERE).
- Young had a continuing series character named Don Everhard ("the prince of gentleman adventurers") appearing often in Adventure; Everhard's exploits have been collected (in 2008) by The Battered Silicon Dispatch Box (HERE), but be prepared to break the piggy bank.

The bottom line: "Attempted murder. Now, honestly, what is that? Can you win a Nobel Prize for attempted chemistry?"
Sideshow Bob

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