By Wenzell Brown (1911-81).
First appearance: Fantastic Universe, March 1960.
Reprinted in Rulers of Men (1965).
Online at SFFAudio (HERE; PDF) and Archive.org (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 . . .
"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).