Wednesday, June 19, 2019

"It Had Details of a Considerable and Baffling Interest"

EDITOR ELLERY QUEEN asserts in his introduction to the following story that it deals with "the one and only 'tec topic that is, with a capital letter, Unmentionable—especially in the sanctum sanctorum of EQMM . . ."

"The Episode of the Sinister Inventor."
(Note: Also sometimes referred to as "The Episode 
of the Sinister Invention.")
By C. Daly King (1895-1963).
First appearance: Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, 
December 1946.
Reprinted in EQMM (Australia), August 1948.
Collected in The Complete Curious Mr. Tarrant (2003).
Short story (14 pages).
Online at (HERE).

     "The matter has been merely the impersonal one of drawing the required deductions and following them to their only logical conclusion."

A Sherlock Holmes rival in more ways than one . . .

~ Jerry:

  "I am thus in no mood to deal with Tarrant punctiliously and I propose to inform the public of his somewhat toplofty attitude in the matter of the inventor's sinister story."
~ Josephine Studd:
  "She was shot through the stomach and left to die alone in an empty house."
~ James Templeton Rowrer:
  "It was in his house that the woman was killed . . ."
~ Inspector Peake:
  ". . . it appears that we are entirely unable to break down his alibi . . ."

~ Trevis Tarrant:
  "I suppose there is a large excavation to one side of the Rowrer house?"

- We have dealt with Charles Daly King, Ph.D., several times before (HERE, HERE, and HERE); also consult Mystery*File (HERE), Vintage Pop Fictions (HERE), and Michael Grost's Guide (HERE), the last of which we quote in relation to today's story:

   ". . . the main interest here is some of Tarrant's use of deductive reasoning 
. . . [which shows him] functioning as an armchair detective . . . The hall 
where the murder takes place . . . [is] made the center of logical deduction."

The bottom line:
   "Good afternoon. I'm Sherlock Holmes, this is my friend and colleague, Dr. Watson. You may speak freely in front of him, as he rarely understands a word."

   — Holmes

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