Monday, September 30, 2019

"With His First Step the Darkness Exploded in a Blasting Roar, and the Oblong of the Window Was Dimly Outlined by a Reddish Flicker"

"Bonds to Burn."
By O. B. Myers (?-?).
First appearance: Dime Detective, May 1941.

(Cover image showcases the story.)
Short story (12 pages).
Online at The Luminist Archives (HERE; it will be necessary to download the entire issue; go down to text page 98).

     "The other gun bellowed twice more in abrupt succession, and Ned felt a faint breeze fan his cheek."

When an agent for an insurance company that indemnifies couriers happens to see a 
violent bond robbery, he's doubly involved both as a witness and professionally, leaving 
him determined to do something about it—but he never bargained on a wild shootout 
in the dark . . .

Major characters:
~ Ned Hollister:

  "Doctor, did you notice the way he looked at me? That strange expression, when I told 
~ Doctor Nelson:
  "They all make faces when they kick off."
~ Joe Voder:
  "He deserves better than potter's field."
~ The detective-lieutenant:

  "If we didn't have a couple of dead men on our hands, I'd begin to think there hadn't 
been any shooting at all, witnesses or no witnesses."
~ The woman:
  "Close behind him came a girl who sprinted lightly on her toes, like a dancer. She had 
striking features with dark eyes under penciled brows which were probably stunning in repose."
~ Officer Hannigan:
  "Don't tell me I got the wrong one this time!"

- FictionMags's short fiction list for Oscar B. Myers shows he was a multi-purpose pulpster generating fiction that often had an aviation background (e.g., Battle Birds, War Birds, Flying Aces, Dare-Devil Aces, etc.) or, very rarely, athletics (Dime Sports), but more frequently crime fiction (e.g., Popular Detective, The Phantom Detective, G-Men Detective), seven stories of the latter featuring his series 'tecs Nick Bray, three with Rig Donaldson, and two with John Cummings. "Bonds to Burn" seems to be his only Ned Hollister adventure.


Friday, September 27, 2019

"Dust Has No Voice"

"Deadly Dust."
By Gerald Vance (a house name used by Randall Garrett, William P. McGivern, Rog Phillips, Richard S. Shaver, Robert Silverberg, Henry Slesar, and someone else; SFE HERE; ISFDb data).
Illustration by "Ed Emsler" (Ed Emshwiller, 1925-90; HERE).
First appearance: Amazing Stories, October 1952.

Novelette (21 pages).
Online at (HERE).

(Parental caution: Mild profanity.)
     ". . . there was only an untidy bundle of clothes covered with a film of dust as grey as the fog . . ."

A "writer of fact detective articles" goes to his boss with what would normally be considered a cold case, one involving treason, with the prime suspect already having served his time; although at first he can't be sure he can do anything more with it, he will soon discover that everything isn't as cut and dried as everybody claims it is and that judging a book by its cover—or, in this instance, a man by his circumstances—isn't something you should do when that man has "the power to kill" and, when backed into a corner, is willing to use it . . .

Characters (in order of appearance):
~ Fred Dawson, an editor determined to stay in touch with the zeitgeist:

  "I tell you, the public is getting fed up with axe murders, sex cases, hopped-up kid heisters, and so on. I'm looking for a new angle, something that will grab hold of the reader's imagi-nation and make him want to know what's going to happen next."
~ Jay Jones, a dogged reporter (flippantly dismissed by Bill Bryce as a "boy detective"):
  "But, Fred. This isn't fiction I'm writing. It's fact detective. Sure, I'll go along with you on maintaining reader interest. But I don't have the latitude the fiction boys have."
~ Bill Bryce of the F.B.S., prone to mixed metaphors:
  "I'll play ball with you, Jay, until you try to steal home on me. You adopted this baby. Have fun with it."
~ Mario Giarni, the man with a loaded accordion:
  "Why is it that you guys can always prove a guy innocent after he's done his time? What are you going to do, get my job back for me? My wife? The respect I once knew? Do me a favor. Just let me alone!"

~ Lem Mason, the wrong arm of the law:
  "Don't ever let me hear you say you ain't got it, punk!"
~ Tom Sanborn, the projects manager of Bayshore Laboratory:
  "Perhaps there were things he didn't want brought to light."
~ Mark Hartley, lab assistant:
  "What a bum they made outa him . . . but for my money he was a right guy."

Comments: It's just a coincidence, but this one reminds us of Rambo; also, for San Francisco buffs, the action takes us on a brief tour of the town as it was in the 1950s, 
from east to west to south, with the finale in the densest residential section.

Typos: "Sacremento and Kearny"; "Mark Harley" [Hartley]; "a wave of blackness [?] through his brain".

- Probably more than you'll ever want to know about the accordion (the kind that isn't loaded) is in the Wikipedia article (HERE); Waldteufel's "The Skaters' Waltz" ("Les Patineurs Valse"; HERE) acquires additional significance in our story.
- "Chevie," as an abbreviation for "Chevrolet," has fallen into disuse since the '50s, with "Chevy" winning out in general use over time: "Due to the prominence and name recog-

nition of Chevrolet as one of General Motors' global marques, Chevrolet, Chevy or Chev 
is used at times as a synonym for General Motors or its products . . ."Wikipedia (HERE)
Jay Jones's car, except it was blue.
- The good folks at FictionMags have been able to identify some of the authors behind the "Gerald Vance" alias (HERE).
- Several other "Gerald Vance" stories are online at Project Gutenberg; links are (HERE).


Wednesday, September 25, 2019

"A Little Matter of a Smooth Operator and an Equally Smooth Private Eye"

"The Goldfish Caper."
By Morris Cooper (?-?).
First appearance: Edgar Wallace Mystery Magazine, January 1967.

Short story (15 pages).
Online at (HERE).


Our private eye could've probably made sense of it all a lot sooner, if only people had stopped conking him on the cabeza . . .

~ Lorne K. Roberts:

  "I discovered a tribe whose natives worshipped literally hundreds of idols made of pure gold and encrusted with precious stones."
~ Lieutenant Al Clark:
  "You been drinking?"
~ Bertha Clark:
  "I checked at the library and called the university. Everybody said the fish story sounded just like a fish story."
~ Charles Hava:
  "You ought to have your head examined."
~ The medical examiner:
  "He had some pretty rough treatment before he was killed."
~ The lab man:
  ". . . that right index print is a ringer for the one we found on the jewel box."
~ Steve West:
  "Too bad you didn't check the bed sheet while you were waiting for me to show up.

Ellery Queen didn't have a monopoly on dying clues, you know:

  "Then I saw the tip of the finger was bloodied—and right next to it on the bedsheet were some red markings. There were two parallel lines, with a wavering slanted line between. Almost as if he'd been trying to make an N but hadn't quite succeeded. I couldn't figure it; but it had to be important. It must have taken everything he had to get his finger to his bloodied chest, and then down again to make those wavering lines."

Typos: "Oh the way out"; "to lend credulity to his story".

- You might be surprised how many varieties there are of goldfish, the result of selective breeding in China a thousand years ago; see Wikipedia (HERE).

- FictionMags lists Morris Cooper's stories, but no other details about him and his work 
seem available.
- Since we started this weblog, we've come across quite a few stories (some conventional, some SFnal) that deal with insurance fraud, with one of the most recent being Robert Sheckley's "Double Indemnity" (HERE).

The bottom line:

Monday, September 23, 2019

"Join with Us in Hating This Wretch"

"The Public Hating."
By Steve Allen (1921-2000).
Illustration by John McDermott.
First appearance: Bluebook, January 1955.

Reprints page (HERE).
Short short short story (4 pages).
Online at SFFAudio (HERE; PDF) and (HERE).

     "I ask you all to direct your unwavering attention toward the man 
seated in the chair to my left here, a man who in my opinion is the 
most despicable criminal of our time . . ."

The rule of law demands that when there's a crime there should be punishment, and the 
state bears the responsibility for carrying it out; but suppose the state relinquishes that responsibility and turns it over to the people. What then?

~ Frederic Traub:

  "When did they first substitute a living organism for the dice?"

~ His companion:
  "Damned if I know. It was quite a few years ago and at first the government sort of clamped down on the thing. There was a little last-ditch fight from the churches, I think. But they finally realized you couldn't stop it."
~ The Reverend Charles Fuller:
  "For it is written the wages of sin is death."
~ Dr. Howard S. Weltmer:
  "On the souls of your mothers, on the future of your children, out of love for your country, I demand of you that you unleash your power to despise. I want you to become ferocious."
~ Professor Arthur Ketteridge:
  "Traub watched in dry-mouthed fascination as the slumped figure in the chair straightened up convulsively and jerked at his collar."

- The usual reliable sources for more info about the late Stephen Valentine Patrick William Allen are Wikipedia (HERE), his own webpage (HERE), the IMDb for his multimedia efforts (HERE), and the ISFDb (HERE). As you can tell from the Reprints page, for a story penned by a writer with such a small lifetime SFnal output, "The Public Hating" has enjoyed a lengthy afterlife, being anthologized in 1956, 1967, 1970, 1977, and finally 1989.

- We've already featured one of Steve Allen's stories (HERE).

Friday, September 20, 2019


Summer 2019. Issue #51.
Editor: Arthur Vidro.
Old-Time Detection Special Interest Group of American Mensa, Ltd.
36 pages (including covers).
Cover image: Whodunit? Houdini?

NOTE: The first part of this review is on Steve Lewis's Mystery*File weblog; go (THERE) first.

Here's a brief outline of Issue 51:
1. From the Editor: "Origin of a Column" (2019) by Arthur Vidro.
   Arthur announces the beginning of "a run of reprint pieces penned by Ed Hoch."
   Related: (HERE, the GAD Wiki).

2. "Whodunit? We'll Never Tell but the Mystery Novel Is Alive and Well" (1983; 3 pages) by Jon L. Breen.
   "Lately the classical whodunit appears to be making something of a comeback. But it has never really been away. For many, it is the Main Street of the mystery field, and all the other types are merely offshoots."
   Related: (HERE,

3. Author Spotlight: "Craig Rice" (1988; 5 pages) by J. Randolph Cox.
   "In many ways Craig Rice's method was to take the traditional stereotypes and clichés of the mystery field and reverse them or hold them up to ridicule."
   Related: (HERE, the GAD Wiki).

4. The Paperback Revolution (1970-71; 3 pages) by Charles Shibuk.
   Related: (Allingham: HERE, the GAD Wiki); (Ambler: HERE, the GAD Wiki); (Blake: HERE, the GAD Wiki); (Carr: HERE, the GAD Wiki); (Christie: HERE, the GAD Wiki); (Courtier: HERE, the GAD Wiki); (Garve: HERE, the GAD Wiki); (Gruber: HERE, the GAD Wiki); (Marsh: HERE, the GAD Wiki); (Palmer: HERE, the GAD Wiki); (EQ: HERE, the GAD Wiki); (Symons: HERE, the GAD Wiki); (Tey: HERE, the GAD Wiki); and (Whitfield: HERE, the GAD Wiki).
5. Remembering Lianne Carlin (2019) by Marvin Lachman.

6. Christie Corner (2019; 2 pages) by Dr. John Curran.
   Related: (Towards Zero: HERE, the GAD Wiki).

7. Nero Wolfe: "Zero Nero . . . Well, Almost" (2019; 2 pages) by George H. Madison.
   Related: (Stout: HERE, the GAD Wiki).
8. The Non-Fiction World of Ed Hoch: Number 1 (1990; 3 pages) by Edward D. Hoch, compiled by Dan Magnuson, Charles Shibuk, and Marvin Lachman.
   Related: (Index to Crime and Mystery Anthologies: HERE, and HERE,

9. Arsene Lupin: "Lupin on Stage, the Screen, and Television" (2008; 3 pages) by Amnon Kabatchnik.
   Related: (Leblanc: HERE, the GAD Wiki).

10. Fiction: "The Last Word" (EQMM, June 1968; 5 pages) by William Brittain using the "James Knox" alias.
    Related: (Brittain: HERE, Wikipedia).
11. Review (4 pages) of Whodunit? Houdini? Thirteen Tales of Magic, Murder, Mystery (1976), edited by Otto Penzler.
    Related: (Penzler: HERE, Wikipedia).
12. "Allure of Classic Whodunits" (2018; 2 pages) by Michael Dirda.
    Related: (Dirda: HERE, Wikipedia).
13. The Readers Write (2 pages).
    "[Issue] #50 is a winner."

14. The Puzzle Page.
~ ~ ~
Subscription information:
- Published three times a year: spring, summer, and autumn.
- Sample copy: $6.00 in U.S.; $10.00 anywhere else.
- One-year U.S.: $18.00 ($15.00 for Mensans).
- One-year overseas: $40.00 (or 25 pounds sterling or 30 euros).
- Payment: Checks payable to Arthur Vidro, or cash from any nation, or U.S. postage stamps or PayPal.
Mailing address:
   Arthur Vidro, editor
   Old-Time Detection
   2 Ellery Street
   Claremont, New Hampshire 03743
Web address:

~ ~ ~
- Also see a recent article on CrimeReads by Martin Edwards, "The Golden Age Detective Fiction Renaissance" (HERE).
- We featured Issue #50 of OTD (HERE).


Wednesday, September 18, 2019

"I Guess We Can Call the Mystery Unravelled!"

THE FOLLOWING bit of nonsense, one of a legion of Sherlock Holmes spoofs, does make at least one noteworthy point about ACD's Holmes/Watson duo, namely how Sherlock didn't always employ his vaunted deductive prowess to find a solution to the crime . . .

"The Mystery of the Missing Shirt."
By A. E. Swoyer (?-?).
"(With abject apologies to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.)"
First appearance: The Black Cat, October 1911.
Short short story (5 pages).
Online at Hathi Trust (HERE) and (HERE).

     "The real brainy criminal has learned that it is easier and more genteel to start a bank than to break into one; while the monetary results are the same."

The solemn task of every Great Detective is to bring together the various clue threads into a fabric which elucidates the mystery; some Great Detectives, however, just aren't that good at knitting . . .

- FictionMags credits Alfred Edward Swoyer with 10 stories (1911-16), with today's story being his second sale. Apart from that, we know nothing else about him.

Monday, September 16, 2019

"How Are You Going to Make a Law About a Crime That Can't Be Committed?"

"10:01 A.M."
By Alexander B. Malec (1929-2014).
Illustration by John Schoenherr (1935-2010; HERE).
First appearance: Analog, March 1966.

Reprints page (HERE).
Short story (15 pages).
Online at The Luminist Archive (HERE; slow load; scroll down to magazine page 130).

     "One thing that psychologists agree on is that the less the time-lapse between crime and punishment, the more effective it becomes in conveying the message DON'T DO THAT!"

Society, as the Bard of Avon noted, has its frustrations, including that all-too-common one resulting from "the law's delay"; James Smith and Rodney Cooper, however, will soon discover that in their future world "the law's delay" has become a thing of the past . . .

Major characters:
~ Cynthia Marie DeSantis:

  "Looks just like a rag doll. You know, no frame, no nothin'."
~ Slick:
  "These things happen."
~ Poxie:
  ". . . jammed the accelerator fully to its limit."
~ Officer John Cramdon:
  ". . . never really insular from his job, wept slightly taking a Retina Identification Check . . ."
~ Captain Roland Reese:
  ". . . for the nth time, drew his courage together—which was parcel of his job of police captaincy—and pressed the studs on the telephone . . ."
~ Interrogating officer:
  "Your trial is over."

Typo: "cancellors".

- Just about everything available on the World Wide Wobbly concerning Alexander B. Malec is on the German Wikipedia (HERE), obits for him are on the Niagara Gazette (HERE) and the SFSite (HERE) pages, and more info is on the SFE (HERE) and the ISFDb (HERE). He had 12 stories published in his lifetime, his only magazine sale being "10:01 A.M." to Analog, and then he quit writing. If you've looked at the Reprints page, you might have noticed that this story was republished in an anthology called Criminal Justice Through Science Fiction (1977; HERE), which appears to be a follow-up to Sociology Through Science Fiction (1974; HERE), as well as several other books in the . . . Through Science Fiction series.

The bottom line:
   "Because sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil."
   - Scripture


Friday, September 13, 2019

"While the Real Murderer Stood Guard Below the Window, He Sent Some One More Nimble Up the Rain-pipe to Shoot the Poisoned Dart"

"The Curio Shop."
By Arthur B. Reeve (1880-1936).

First appearance: Cosmopolitan, June 1914.
Reprints page (HERE).

Short story.
Online at Roy Glashan's Library (HERE; HTML) and (HERE; EPUB).

At one point Kennedy has to admit, "This is becoming quite an international affair," what with Europeans, Mexicans, Japanese, Ainus, and Russians threading their way through a baffling case of murders involving antiquities—but never fear, Kennedy's prowess with the radio-graph, a microscope, and his vast knowledge of biochemistry will sort it all out . . .

Major characters:
~ Professor Archer Northrop, the dearly departed:

  ". . . had been dead at least twelve hours, perhaps longer. All night the deserted museum had guarded its terrible secret."
~ Walter Jameson, the narrator:
  "How it happened, I don't know, but, an instant later, I was sprawling."
~ Doctor Leslie, the coroner:
  "I thought at first that we had at last a genuine poisoned needle case. You see, that looked like it. But I have made all the tests for curare and strychnin without results. There was no poison, absolutely none that any of our tests could discover."
~ Otaka, the enigma:
  "His eyes were perhaps the most noticeable feature. They were dark gray, almost like those of a European."
~ Doctor Bernardo, the museum curator:
  "Yes, Northrop and I were to follow the directions after we had plotted them out and were to share it together on the next expedition, which I could direct as a Mexican without so much suspicion."
~ Sato, the curious curio shop owner:
  "It's well all are not so keen."
~ Señora Herrería, the woman of mystery:
  "Then, too, the toe- and shoe-prints were not hers. But, I figured, she certainly had a part in the plot."
~ Craig Kennedy, the supersleuth:
  "You have all read of the wealth that Cortez found in Mexico. Where are the gold and silver of the conquistadores? Gone to the melting-pot, centuries ago. But is there none left? The Indians believe so. There are persons who would stop at nothing—even at murder of American professors, murder of their own comrades, to get at the secret."

- Mitla, a real location, is, as we read in Wikipedia (HERE), "the second most important arch-eological site in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico, and the most important of the Zapotec cul-ture." The Mixtecs were also active there; background about them is in a Wikipedia article (HERE).
- The poison of choice in our story is termed "aconitin," which has acquired a final "e" since then; see "Aconitine" in the Wikipedia (HERE). Other writers have also employed it in their plots:

   "Aconitine was also made famous by its use in Oscar Wilde's 1891 story 'Lord Arthur Savile's Crime'. Aconite also plays a prominent role in James Joyce's Ulysses, in which the protagonist Leopold Bloom's father used pastilles of the chemical to commit suicide. Aconitine poisoning plays a key role in the murder mystery 'Breakdown' by Jonathan Kellerman (2016)."

- For better and worse the antiquities trade has been thriving for centuries:

   "Illicit or illegal antiquities are those found in illegal or unregulated excavations, and traded covertly. The black market trade of illicit antiquities is supplied by looting and art theft. Artifacts are often those that have been discovered and unearthed at archeological digs and then transported internationally through a middleman to often unsuspecting collectors, museums, antique dealers, and auction houses. The antiquities trade is much more careful in recent years about establishing the provenance of cultural artifacts. Some estimates put annual turnover in billions of US dollars."
   — "Antiquities trade—Illicit trade," Wikipedia (HERE)

- The Mexicans and the Japanese have had a long and involved relationship starting in the 19th century; see Wikipedia (HERE) for the full story. One of our characters is identified by Craig Kennedy as an Ainu, an obscure people group about whom Wikipedia has a lengthy article (HERE).
- Arthur Benjamin Reeve turned out over eighty short stories featuring his series character, technowhiz Craig Kennedy, as well as novels; see Wikipedia (HERE and HERE), the SFE (HERE), and the ISFDb (HERE). There's a Literary Digest article ("Science and Crime," 
September 23, 1911) about Reeve and his contemporary assessment of crime and criminals (HERE), from which we quote:

   "IS SCIENCE on the side of the law or the criminal? Both may summon its aid. Some of the greatest criminals in history have been men with expert scientific knowledge, but such knowledge is also widely and successfully used in detecting them. Arthur B. Reeve, who writes on the subject in Popular Electricity (Chicago, September), thinks that the balance-sheet shows a margin in favor of the public. The successful criminal of to-day no longer has to rely on the strong arm, the black-jack, and the jimmy. He is a scientist, crude and limited, but very practical, and must employ up-to-date methods or go out of the 'profession.' He may have a serviceable knowledge of chemistry, physics, toxicology, often microscopy, but most of all electricity. Science, however, is on the side of the law, nine times to every time it is of use to the lawbreaker, and the new scientific crime pays even worse than the old; otherwise it might be regarded as impolitic to describe the methods of the scientific criminal, as is done by Mr. Reeve."

Compare that article with one from just over a century later ("Crime Has Gone High-Tech, and the Law Can't Keep Up," Wired Magazine, March 21, 2015, HERE): "The fact that narcos in Mexico are going to colleges of aeronautical engineering to hire drone engineers would be a surprise to people."
- We featured a much later Craig Kennedy story, "Murder on the Mike," just over four years ago (HERE).


Wednesday, September 11, 2019


"The Near-Zero Crime Rate on JJ Avenue."
By Wilson Tucker (1914-2006).
Illustration by Janet Aulisio (HERE).
First appearance: Analog, April 1978.

Short story (14 pages).
Online at The Luminist Archive (HERE; scroll down to magazine page 53).
(Parental caution: Adult themes and strong language.)

     "Even in the field of law enforcement, if you can't beat them . . ."

"Trust no one" is good advice when you're on the run; unfortunately, it's all too easy to 
forget that . . .

~ The block patrolman:

  "Welcome to JJ Avenue, citizen Paro. This is a quiet family neighborhood with a near-zero crime rate . . ."
~ Solly Paro:
  "I ask for a woman and get a little girl."
~ Stevie:
  "Thirty or forty seconds if you're lucky, Loverpops. I guess you were lucky."

Comment: Like our author, people have been confusing overcrowding with overpopulation, and the much-anticipated population bomb has yet to explode.

Typo: "kept his eyes shot".

- The term "waldo," meaning a "remote manipulator," originated with a Robert Heinlein story (Wikipedia; HERE; SPOILERS), although in our story the author uses it loosely to mean a robot's arm; also see the Wikipedia article (HERE).
- Our latest story featuring robot law enforcement officers is "Brillo" (HERE).

~ ~ ~
By Wilson Tucker (1914-2006).
First appearance: Universe Science Fiction, November 1954 (as "MCMLV").

Reprinted in Suspense (U.K.), August 1958.
Short story (13 pages).
Online at (HERE).

     "There, in print, was a concise summary of millions of secret words!"

If a little man with a walrus moustache and a cheerful demeanor should ring your doorbell, 
do not, under any circumstances, answer it . . .

~ Henry Mason (a.k.a. Cary Carew):

  "My neighbours are always watching me. They think I'm eccentric. Camouflage. It lends 
an aura of glamour and mystery to my activities . . ."
~ Inspector Arthur Groves, of Scotland Yard:
  "Between the enemy spy and Dan Devlin, several cats were let out of the bag in that one."
~ Clark, of the Special Branch:
  "I hope you've got a good alibi."

~ The salesman:
  "Mr. Carew, you may well pride yourself on your advanced mental faculties."

- "Very well—if he was being sent to the Tower he would go with head high," a reference to the Tower of London (Wikipedia; HERE)—very noble of Henry, although, as we're told, "The Tower's reputation for torture and imprisonment derives largely from 16th-century religious propagandists and 19th-century romanticists. . . . much of the Tower's reputation is exaggerated . . ." Henry also mentions "my Woomera story," referring to a high-technology research installation in Australia that in those days was called the "Woomera Rocket Range" (Wikipedia; HERE): "During the 1950s and 1960s, the complex was the second busiest rocket range in the world next to Cape Canaveral." And at the time our story takes place, Britain's newest Prime Minister had just assumed office (Wikipedia; HERE): "Maurice Harold Mac-millan, 1st Earl of Stockton, OM, PC, FRS (10 February 1894 – 29 December 1986) was a British Conservative statesman who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 1957 to 1963."
More resources:
- There's plenty to read about Arthur Ingold Wilson Tucker on the Wide World Web: 
Wikipedia (HERE), the SFE (HERE), the Fancyclopedia (HERE), Midamericon (HERE), Printsations (HERE), and the ISFDb (HERE).
- Tucker also produced a healthy amount of novel-length crime fiction, some of it 
with his series character, Charles Horne (data and cover images from the ISFDb):
~ Charles Horne Mysteries:
  (1) The Chinese Doll (1946)
  (2) To Keep or Kill (1947)
  (3) The Dove (1948)
  (4) The Stalking Man (1949)
  (5) Red Herring (1951)
~ Other novels:
  (1) The Man in My Grave (1956)
  (2) The Hired Target (1957)
  (3) Last Stop (1963)
  (4) A Procession of the Damned (1965)
  (5) The Warlock (1967)

Monday, September 9, 2019

"What Would Any Sane Man Do?"

GENERALLY CONSIDERED a genius by most of his contemporaries, Silas Weir Mitchell was quite the polymath, a practicing medical doctor who wrote fiction and poetry; however, a couple of his contemporaries who were profoundly unimpressed with his medical expertise were literary lionesses Charlotte Perkins Gilman and Virginia Woolf (see Wikipedia HERE for why). Regardless of Mitchell's abilities as a physician, Ellery Queen (the editor, as distinct from the author and character) came to regard a couple of Mitchell's short stories as worthy of reprinting, the first of them being . . .

"The Waters of Oblivion."
By S. Weir Mitchell, M.D. (1829-1914).
First appearance: The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, 

May 1902.
Reprinted in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, January 1944.
(Data from FictionMags.)
Short short short story (3 pages).
Online at Hathi Trust (HERE).

     "An ass of a doctor declared I had had sunstroke."

East is East and West is West and, of course, you know the rest . . .

 - Simla (a.k.a. Shimla) is a real place in India (Wikipedia; HERE), at the time of our story being under British control; "Two years after the Mutiny" refers to the Indian Rebellion of 1857-59 (Wikipedia; HERE), usually termed the Sepoy Mutiny in history books.

~ ~ ~
"A Dilemma."
By S. Weir Mitchell, M.D. (1829-1914).
First appearance: The Century Illustrated Monthly Magazine, July 1902.

Reprinted in The Golden Book Magazine, June 1930; Ellery 
Queen’s Mystery Magazine, December 1948; and EQMM 
(Australia), November 1950.
Short short short story (3 pages).
Online at Hathi Trust (HERE).

     "For hours at a time I sat looking at that box and handling the key."

Human nature being what it is, the ordeal literally bequeathed to our young legatee makes 
the tortures of Tantalus look like a slap on the wrist . . .