Tuesday, April 24, 2018

"He Had Never Had Any Ideas About Being a Detective, and He Viewed the Prospect of Trying to Become One Now with No Great Enthusiasm"

"Logical Deduction."
By Gavin Neal (?-?).
First appearance: New Worlds Science Fiction, March 1955.
Illustrations by Osborne.
Short story (11 pages, 2 illos).
Online at Archive.org (HERE).

"He stalked across the cabin and went out. Twenty-four hours later he was dead."
Losing a good friend in a spaceship crash is certainly a traumatic event, but is it enough to push the Jason's engineer to commit murder?

The crew of the Jason:
~ Bill Summers:
  "The next step is to pick out the real killer."
~ Hal Peters:
  "I don't understand it. They can't be mine."
~ Roger Hill:
  "You can't really convict a man of murder just because he's the most likely suspect."
~ Pat Curtis:
  "You don't mean to say you're going to let him run around loose in that condition. Damn it all, man, it would be asking for trouble. We'll be mad, not him, if we don't lock him up."
~ Karl Grundig:
  "I guess the body has been sent out into space."
~ Tony Fallon:
  "Why on earth did he bother to get rid of the body and leave the knife behind?"

Comment: We remember another story in which a starship's engineer was also suspected of murder (HERE).
Typo: "guage" [twice].
- All we can find out about Gavin Neal is on the ISFDb (HERE), which lists only three stories with his byline:
  1. "Short Circuit," New Worlds Science Fiction, January 1955
  2. "Logical Deduction," New Worlds Science Fiction, March 1955
  3. "Reluctant Hero," Science Fantasy #14 (1955).

- Evidently the sidearm of choice for the Space Service is still the old-fashioned slugthrower, and Star Trek-style antigravity is yet to be discovered; see Atomic Rockets (HERE) and (HERE) for more.
- Stars mentioned in the story: Arcturus (in fact: HERE; in fiction: HERE), Alpha Centauri (in fact: HERE; in fiction: HERE), and Sirius (in fact: HERE; in fiction: HERE).

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