Monday, August 6, 2018

"At Last It Occurred to the Shivering Burglar That, If He Were Caught There, He Would Be Accused of Murder and Robbery"

HERE WE HAVE three short short stories from The Black Cat, the first one with a fine premise that falls apart at the end; the second one with a fine premise that barely manages not to fall apart; and the third one with a fine premise and a pleasantly amusing payoff.

"Amos Clubb, Detective."
By Swift Adams (?-?).
First appearance: The Black Cat, April 1906.
Short short story (7 pages).
Online at Hathi Trust (HERE).

The mysterious man with the goggles and whiskers shadowing one of society's Four Hundred has a reason that satisfies him—but his quarry doesn't have a clue . . .

Comment: Reminiscent of "The Solitary Cyclist" but with motor cars. That ending, though! Seriously, how the magazine's editor could let this one get by is beyond us.

- FictionMags credits Swift Adams with only three stories, all in The Black Cat: "Penelope's Proposals" (December 1902), "Amos Clubb, Detective" (April 1906), and "Cupid Valiant" (March 1909).

~ ~ ~
"Where Burglars Are Welcome."
By Fred S. Brown (1852-1919).
First appearance: The Black Cat, April 1905.
Reprinted in Action Stories, August 1923.
Short short story (5 pages).
Online at Hathi Trust (HERE).

Sometimes a slip of the tongue is all it takes . . .

- FictionMags about Fred Squire Brown: "Writer, journalist and editor. Born in Wallsburg, Virginia; died in New York City."

~ ~ ~
"The Clue."
By James Francis Dwyer (1874-1952).
First appearance: The Black Cat, October 1908.
Short short short story (4 pages).
Online at Hathi Trust (HERE).

Most folks, when they see a man walking rapidly down the street and making weird movements with his hands, would conclude they're in the presence of a madman 
who should be confined posthaste by the nearest policeman; but in this instance 
the nearest policeman views it as an opportunity to see justice done . . .

- Unlike the two previous writers, prolific (over 1,000 stories) Australian author James Francis Dwyer's FictionMags short stories listing runs to nearly three full pages (not bad for an ex-con), quite a few of them straight adventures with series characters like The Texan Wasp, The Hoosier Hawk, "Red" O'Neill, Jan Kromhout, and Cameron of the "Coral Queen," but several with a short-lived sleuth named Vidaunt, Master Investigator, who featured in just four stories in The New Magazine (U.S.), 1910-11. Wikipedia (HERE), Pulp Flakes (HERE), and the Australian Dictionary of Biography (HERE) all have comprehensive pages devoted to Dwyer. Since some of his large output falls into the SFF genre, Dwyer earns a listing with the SFE (HERE) and the ISFDb (HERE).


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