Monday, June 28, 2021

"Old Fitzhugh's Room Was Locked and Bolted from the Inside"

IN COMMITTING a locked room murder, a killer has a chance to make a clean getaway 
when . . .

"Death Takes a Bath."
By Lampoon—ESS.
First appearance: Campus Humor, Winter 1957.
Short short short story (4 pages).
Online at (HERE).

     "The police say it was accidental death."

Three armchair detectives debate the salient points of an acquaintance's watery demise . . . .

Main characters:
~ Bentley:
  "How in the world do you get three?"
~ Herberts:
~ Genevieve:
  "Yes, like Columbus or Galileo. I made a few discoveries . . ."
~ Fitzhugh:
  ". . . did not step into that tub of his own free will."
~ Charlie:
  ". . . old Fitzhugh treated him badly."

References and resources:
- "He had been reading Finnegan's [sic] Wake": Depending on who you ask, it's either absolutely brilliant, engenders multiple headaches, or induces narcolepsy:
  "Finnegans Wake is a book by Irish writer James Joyce. It has been called a work of fiction which combines a body of fables ... with the work of analysis and deconstruc-tion. It is significant for its experimental style and reputation as one of the most difficult works in the Western canon" (Wikipedia HERE).
  "into a tub with James Joyce": "Joyce's method of stream of consciousness, literary allusions, and free dream associations was pushed to the limit in Finnegans Wake, which abandoned all conventions of plot and character construction, and is written in a peculiar and obscure English, based mainly on complex multilevel puns" (Wikipedia HERE).
- Our author might have been influenced by Dorothy Sayers's first Lord Peter novel, Whose Body? (1923):
  "Thipps, an architect, finds a dead body wearing nothing but a pair of pince-nez in the bath of his London flat" (WARNING! SPOILERS! Wikipedia HERE; text available at Faded Page HERE).

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