Monday, March 11, 2019

"The Thought of Killing Maudie Had Come Often to My Mind"

"Murderer's Chain."
By Wenzell Brown (1911-81).
First appearance: Fantastic Universe, March 1960.

Reprinted in Rulers of Men (1965).
Short short story (6 pages).
Online at SFFAudio (HERE; PDF) and (HERE; text faded).

     ". . . it didn't take any great brain to see that Maudie's rapid demise would remove the single obstacle that stood between myself and untold wealth."

. . . and it just so happens the House of Fantastic Jewelry has the very thing to acquire all that untold wealth . . .

~ Duff:

  "Everything about Balsavius has been kept strictly hush-hush. Only a handful of 
people have the slightest concept of the value of the new planet's mineral deposits."
~ Maudie (Mrs. Maude Terrain):
  "She was as adamant as ever about parting with the smallest fraction of her vast 
fortune . . ."
~ Isabelle, Maudie's daughter:
  "She's easy-going, pliant, susceptible to flattery and, on Maudie's death, Isabelle 
would inherit her full fortune."
~ Melvin Rosy:
  "I take it you want an extra-special gift. I might say a gift for the departing, even a 
fatal gift."
~ Lieutenant Onsett, Central Homicide:
  "His face wore an official mask of blankness but it was belied by the quirk of his lips."

Typos: "The play seemed to last for about ten light years" [light years measure distance, not time]; "nearly blew the roof of the place".

- One of prolific Donald Wenzell Brown's non-SFF stories, "Witness to Murder," was adapted for the Canadian anthology TV series First Person (1960-61); see (HERE) for the scanty information available about it. Brown made quite a few short fiction contributions to the Alfred Hitchcock juggernaut, The Saint magazine, and even some to EQMM (HERE); see also Mystery*File (HERE) and a collection of his paperback covers (HERE).
- Brown's few forays into science fiction/fantasy (SFF) are briefly detailed (HERE) and (HERE).

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