Monday, August 12, 2019

"I Heard Him Scream, and I Spun Round, and He Was Squirming Across the Guard Rail"

"The Clue That Wasn't There."
By L. A. G. Strong (1896-1958).
First appearance: Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, November 1953.

Reprinted in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (U.K.), November 1953; EQMM (Australia), January 1954; and Creasey Mystery Magazine (as "Rubber Gloves"), August 1960.
Short short story (8 pages).
Online at (HERE) and The Luminist Archive (HERE; scroll down to magazine page 26, PDF page 28).

     "I'd prefer a motive, of course, but I doubt if we'll find a sane one."

An almost perfect murder, looking for all the world like an industrial accident: "You planned it neatly. But you made a mistake . . ."

~ Detective-Inspector Ellis McKay:

  ". . . stuck out his lower lip and sat in pop-eyed contemplation of the report before him."
~ Detective-Inspector Bradstreet:
  "You think it's a lunatic's work?"

~ Jervis:
  "When I reached the floor, I put on my rubber gloves, as I always do if the dynamos are working."
~ Cole:
  "He had a stock catchword which he repeated like a parrot, until it made me almost physically sick."
~ Kelly:
  "I'm as sure as I'm talking to you here that I stood between that little man and his coffin, gloves or no gloves. And a fat lot of thanks I got for it."
~ Mason:
  "He only wanted to save your life, you know."

- FictionMags's thumbnail for Leonard Alfred George Strong, an academician and manifestly one of those "noble minds" who find the detective story a "normal recreation": "Born in Plympton; educated at Brighton College and Oxford; author, editor, journalist, and reviewer; Assistant Master at Oxford." Evidently Strong published very few short works featuring Detective-Inspector Ellis McKay, this one and a novelette, "The Birdwatcher," in the December 1957 EQMM (to which, alas, we do not presently have access). Also see the GAD Wiki (HERE), Wikipedia (HERE), the IMDb (HERE), and the ISFDb (HERE).

- Strong's mystery novel output was similarly small; here are four from the list of six on the GAD Wiki (images from Facsimile Dust Jackets, LLC):

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