Saturday, June 10, 2017

"Every Time I Get a Murder All Sewed Up, You Go Digging Up the Pavement and Upsetting the Apple Cart"

"These Shoes Are Killing Me."
By Leroy Yerxa (1915-46).
First appearance: Mammoth Detective, May 1943.
Short story (11 pages).
Online at Roy Glashan's Library (HERE).
"Footprints all around the corpse; but they were all prints of the left foot!"
What looks like an ordinary case (for the police anyway) of a young woman's strangulation rapidly turns strange when all of the crime scene evidence starts pointing to "a one-legged murderer hopping around, fighting with the girl and finally killing her"—forcing Inspector Hall to admit to his best detective that, "by the saints, Case, it's impossible." Eventually it'll all boil down to shoes. Shoes, shoes, shoes—that charming prince never came close to having this much aggravation with Cinderella's footgear.

The characters:
~ Inspector James Hall:
  "Hall didn’t like puzzles and he didn’t like details. Puzzles troubled his solid head, and right now, as he slammed down the phone, the toughest problem he’d faced in months sent three thick fingers scratching over his bald head."
~ Homicide Detective Robert Case:
  According to Inspector Hall, "the little wonder boy of the detective squad."
~ Helen Kane:
  The victim, "age twenty-six, came from a decent family, worked in a down town office and lived for nights like last night when she could put on the only nice things she owned and go stepping out among the bright lights."
~ Glenn Halliday:
  The prime suspect, age thirty-two and in good health—until, that is, according to the coroner he "died from a gunshot in the head. He held the gun close to his temple and fired it after stretching out on the bed and removing his shoes."
~ Percy Wallace:
  A shoe salesman at the Regent Shoe House who confesses to . . . a mistake: "I insisted on leaving the other right shoe and taking the muddy one back to the store."

- Leroy Yerxa is remembered primarily for his SFF, hence these listings in the SFE (HERE), the ISFDb (HERE), and also (HERE); FictionMags shows that he was active exclusively in the '40s until his death in 1946, during which time he produced roughly a handful of crime fiction stories for Mammoth Detective, his main series character, Paddy O'Sheen, appearing in a half dozen of them.
- Footwear also figured heavily in the story which we highlighted in a previous posting (HERE).
- There's always somebody out there who'll catch an author's error, no matter how trivial:

  "In 'That Affair Next Door,' by Anna Katharine Green, an important piece of evidence is the pair of shoes worn by the murdered woman, for of course, the book being by Mrs. Rohlfs, there is a murdered woman to be considered. It is expressly stated, possibly by way of free advertisement, that these shoes were purchased from B. Altman & Co., a somewhat well known dry goods firm on Sixth Avenue. The crime was committed in September, 1895. We wonder if it has occurred to Mrs. Rohlfs that Altman did not sell shoes until the opening of the present season. These are small matters, but it is well to be accurate, especially in the case of circumstantial evidence." — "Literary Chat," Munsey's, April 1897

No comments:

Post a Comment