Wednesday, February 27, 2019

"Eternal Rhythms As a Dynamic for Murder!"

"Design in Red."
By Barry Perowne (Philip Atkey, 1908-85).
First appearance: Britannia and Eve, July 1947.
Reprinted in Mystery Book Magazine, Summer 1949.

Short short story (9 pages).
Online at (HERE).

     "If he were right, then working here in the club was an escaped homicidal maniac."

Consider the case of an arrogant, bitter, and vindictive man, an amateur criminologist, who thinks he knows everything about a ten-year-old murder, more than enough in his mind to nab the escaped killer; now consider the case of this same man and how he goes about proving it, even if it means employing, shall we say, extreme methods . . .

~ Walter Fagg:

  "The man walked cat-footed."
~ Hamel, Colton, and Weems:
  "It was the affectation of the three cronies that they were sophisticates in criminology."
~ Alonzo Bede:
  ". . . at fifty, since his hobby was criminology, he was reduced to haunting the court rooms.

Comment: With its focus on an obsessive character going too far and the nice wrinkle at the end, this one would have been a perfect fit for Hitchcock's 1950s TV series.

- Barry Perowne is known to mystery aficionados for his continuation of the exploits of E. W. Hornung's gentleman thief, A. J. Raffles, for fifty years (1933-83; see Mystery*File HERE and HERE), most of them appearing in The Thriller (1933-35), Thrilling Detective (1935-37), The Saint Magazine (1956-59), and, preponderantly, in EQMM, beginning in 1952 and ending in 1983. See Wikipedia's stub of an entry (HERE) and Nico van Embden's bibliography (HERE). According to FictionMags, in addition to Raffles, Perowne had several series characters: J. R. (Rick) Leroy (1930, 1932, 1937, 1938, 1939); Prosper Fair, the Duke of Devizes (1959, 1963, 1965); and even a couple of shared universe Sexton Blake adventures (1937-39). One of his original stories, "Blind Spot", was written especially for a 1947 film of the same name (IMDb HERE, Wikipedia HERE, and the SPOILERific TCM synopsis HERE).

The bottom line:
   "One does not kill to avoid social inconvenience."
   ― P. D. James


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