By Robert Wallace (house pseudonym) (FictionMags HERE).
First appearance: G-Men Detective, Fall 1944.
Reprinted in G-Men Detective (U.K.), Winter 1944.
Short short story (5 pages).
Online at Pulpgen (HERE).
The show must go on, even if there's a dead body backstage . . .
~ John Carter:
"I know he was stabbed here for there are still a few drops of dried blood on the floor."
~ Froggy Taunton:
"I wouldn’t use that grease paint. It is probably poisoned."
~ Nancy Gardner:
". . . opened the door of the dressing room clad in her costume for the show and there were police behind her."
~ Tony Fairmont:
". . . the high wire act."
~ Fred Buckley:
"That may be why he was killed."
- FictionMags tells us that "Robert Wallace," our author, could have been any one of these writers: W. T. Ballard (1903-1980), Robert Sidney Bowen (1900-1977), Edwin Vernon Burkholder (1895-1965), D. L. Champion (1902-1968), Anatole Feldman (1901-1972), Charles Greenberg (fl. 1920s-1960s), W. Ryerson Johnson (1901-1995), or C. S. Montanye (1892-1948). Take your pick.
- FictionMags also informs us that the magazine in which our story appeared ran under the title G-Men "for 53 monthly issues until February 1940 at which point the decline of interest in 'G-Man' stories caused a slight change in title (and emphasis) to G-Men Detective and a shift to a bimonthly schedule (occasionally falling to quarterly), which it maintained for a further 59 issues until the magazine folded in Winter 1953."
The bottom line:
"It's still magic even if you know how it's done."
— Terry Pratchett