Saturday, May 30, 2020

"As I Have Mentioned Dogs, I Might Add That My Fondness for Them Led to the Discovery of the Murderer"

"Poor Joe."
By Henry Herbert Knibbs (1874-1975).
First appearance: The Popular Magazine, June 20, 1920.
Short short story (9 pages).
Online at Comic Book Plus (HERE; select page 48 from the dropdown menu).
     "I had been detailed to repair flooring and stairs and watch an Irish setter that seemed to be out of sorts. A rather tame assignment, I thought."

. . . but with traces of crime gradually rising to the surface as time passes, this "rather tame assignment" takes a sinister turn; ultimately, it remains for a mute witness to point out the murderer . . .

Major characters:
~ "Poor Joe":
  "No one knew his name. Because of his constant reiteration of poverty and his apparent destitution, he was known as 'Poor Joe'."
~ Cullen:
  ". . . the man detailed on the case . . ."
~ "the chief":
  "Just forget you ever had anything to do with this office."
~ Spencer, the narrator:
  ". . . I did feel as though someone had tied a handkerchief over my eyes and told me to 
sit still and wait until I found out why I had been blindfolded."
~ Mr. Sperry:
  "Do you like dogs?"
~ Miss Stark:
  ". . . I think she had resented my calling at the front door."
~ John Stark:
  "The door closed and a big, swarthy man in corduroys and carrying a shotgun questioned 
my presence with a keen glance and a quick shifting of his eyes to the woman."
~ Sheila:
  "She seemed to want to tell me something—or, at least, that is what I thought then. I am positive of it now."
Typo: "It was about to glance round".

- Hercule Poirot also had to deal with a mute witness to unveil a concealed murder (IMDb HERE) and (SPOILERS: Wikipedia HERE).
- Henry Herbert Knibbs's short fiction career started out near the top in The Smart Set in 1914 and ran for 28 more years until 1942, the majority of his stories appearing in The Popular Magazine, Adventure, and Short Stories, with only a few of them featuring his continuing cowboy series characters The Tonto Kid (1934-35) and Slim Akers (same). FictionMags's thumbnail: "Poet and novelist. Born in Clifton, Ontario; died in La Jolla, California."

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