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:

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