Wednesday, January 24, 2018

"What's That You're Saying About Murder?"

"The Murder of the Mandarin."
By Arnold Bennett (1867-1931).
First appearance: The Grim Smile of the Five Towns (1907).
Reprinted in The Famous Story Magazine, December 1926; The Famous Story Magazine (U.K.), April 1927; and The Mammoth Book of Thrillers, Ghosts and Mysteries (1936) [FictionMags data].
Short story (11 pages).
Online at SFFAudio (HERE) (PDF).

"The notorious and terrible Harrisford murders were agitating the Five Towns that November. People read, talked, and dreamt murder; for several weeks they took murder to all their meals."
Vera is convinced there's something to thought transference; after all, didn't she "receive a paltry sovereign for murdering the greatest statesman of the Eastern hemisphere"?

~ Charlie Woodruff:

  "Supposing that by just taking thought, by just wishing it, an Englishman could kill a mandarin in China and make himself rich for life, without anybody knowing about it!
How many mandarins do you suppose there would be left in China at the end of a week?"
~ Stephen Cheswardine:
  "She was afraid of him. She knew just how far she could go with Stephen. He was great

and terrible."
~ Vera Cheswardine:
  "She would never be able to conceal the truth from Charlie. The conversation, the death

of Li within two hours, and then a sudden fortune accruing to her—Charlie would inevitably put two and two together and divine her shameful secret."
- We recently featured "The Christmas Eve Burglary," another "Five Towns" story by Arnold Bennett (HERE).

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