EDWARD D. HOCH's redoubtable trio of persistent police officers becomes involved "in a police procedural that is more straightforward than usual, but as usual has as many dead ends along the way."
"The Woman Without a Past."
By Edward D. Hoch (1930-2008).
First appearance: Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, April 22, 1981.
Short story (16 pages).
Online at Archive.org (HERE).
"He stood looking at her, holding a long-barreled target pistol in his right hand."
The Bard observed, "What's past is prologue," the truth of which a young woman is about to learn the hard way . . .
~ Judy Thomas:
". . . has worked at the license bureau for ten months, ever since she moved to the city. Before that her life is a blank."
"What do you mean?"
"Just that—she has no past!"
~ Sergeant Connie Trent:
"She must have a past somewhere. She didn't emerge full-grown from an egg ten months ago."
~ Lieutenant Fletcher:
"No, I don't think it was robbery. The killer was waiting for them."
"He was all in shadows."
~ Carl Forrester:
". . . had a case of ether in the closet of his home."
~ Greg Porson:
"When I heard the news I couldn't believe it! Carl was one of my best salesmen."
~ Max Swann:
"Those small-caliber pistols are popular with hit men."
~ Rudy Vega:
"Look, this stuff isn't against the law. Not yet, anyway. Not in this state."
~ Captain Leopold:
"We're on the same side of the law, aren't we?"
- Edward Dentinger Hoch wrote nearly 90 Captain Leopold stories, a half dozen of which appeared in The Saint Magazine (U.K.) under his alter ego alias, Stephen Dentinger (FictionMags data). TV Tropes has a short but informative page about our author (HERE).
- If you have an interest in the chemistry of ether, see Britannica (HERE) and Wikipedia (HERE).