Friday, March 8, 2019

"I've Been on the Homicide Detail for Eight Years—I Deserve a Dying Message"

"The Square Root of Dead."
By Michael Kurland (born 1938) and Richard Lupoff (born 1935).
First appearance: Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, September 1976.

Short story (15 pages).
Online at (HERE).


The solution to this murder is right there, softly glowing . . .

> The victim:
~ Professor James Conrad Harker:

  ". . . had been killed by a single thrust from a narrow, sharp instrument, which penetrated between the third and fourth ribs, severing the thoracic and carotid arteries . . ."
> The suspects:
~ Professor Pyne:

  "Harker was more highly regarded as a mathematician than Pyne. I have it from the rest of the department. Pyne's been jealous of Harker for twenty years. A thing like that can build up."
~ Robert Quipper:
  ". . . had been home brushing up for the calculus course he was a teaching assistant in . . ."
~ Jan Bliss:
  ". . . had been out at a meeting of the Society of the Round Table . . ."
~ Susan Bohle:
  ". . . claimed that she was visiting a boyfriend for the night. But, in a curious reversal of traditional morality, she refused to give his name . . ."

> The law:
~ Lieutenant Loman:
  ". . . stood to one side, his ungloved hands thrust under his arms for warmth, and looked at the body . . ."
~ Sergeant Stametti:
  "I can tell. You've pegged the killer."

Typos: "I wouldn't thing so"; "inconsistant".

- Our two authors are long-time specialists in SFF, but they do occasionally stray outside the field. For more on Michael Joseph Kurland see Wikipedia (HERE), the SFE (HERE), the ISFDb (HERE), and ONTOS (HERE); similarly, info about Richard Allen Lupoff is (HERE), (HERE), and (HERE).
- While he was still with us, our victim's interests included the game of Go (HERE) and computer heuristics (HERE).

The bottom line:


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