Tuesday, July 20, 2021

"Heart Stopped—I Can't Feel a Pulse!"

"Right After the Doctor."
By Roy de S. Horn (1894-1973).
First appearance: Detective Novel Magazine, August 1944.
Illustrator unknown.
Reprinted in Top Detective Annual, 1951.
Short story (11 pages).
Online at Archive.org (HERE).
(Note: Text faded but legible.)

The love of money has been called the root of all evil, a fact an asthmatic sea captain is about to learn the hard way . . . .

Principal characters:
~ Captain Munroe:
  "Well, when a seventy-five-year-old man has chronic asthma and dies from choking to death, that's generally the diagnosis."
~ Royal:
  "The canary in the corner—did he die of asthma, too, Doctor?"
~ Kerry:
  "Thirty millions—and he ain't got no more use for it now than that canary!"
~ The parrot:
  "Quarr-r-rrk! Quarrk! All hands and the cook! The cook—the cook—to blazes with the cook. Quarr-r-rrk!"
~ Brewster:
  "I thought I told you to take those infernal birds out of here!"
~ Miss Fenner:
  "I did, Doctor. Truly, I did. But he ordered me to bring them back! Said he preferred honest pets to selfish humans!"
~ Cassidy:
  "Who the devil's been burning old rags in here?"
~ Welton and Harriet Munroe:
  "Captain Munroe's nephew" and "the Captain's niece."
~ Mrs. Murphy:
  ". . . a red-faced, middle-aged woman, unmistakably Irish . . ."
~ Meeghan:
  ". . . captain in charge of the precinct station."
~ The bearded man:
  ". . . looked dazed, nodded, and drew out a legal-looking paper."

Typos: "Well tear up the ticket" [We'll]; "desave" [?].

References and resources:
- "enough cyanide in him to kill a cow!": A favorite with many killers, fictional and real life:
  "If hydrogen cyanide is inhaled it can cause a coma with seizures, apnea, and cardiac arrest, with death following in a matter of seconds. At lower doses, loss of consciousness may be preceded by general weakness, dizziness, headaches, vertigo, confusion, and perceived difficulty in breathing. At the first stages of unconscious-ness, breathing is often sufficient or even rapid, although the state of the person progresses towards a deep coma, sometimes accompanied by pulmonary edema, and finally cardiac arrest" (Wikipedia HERE).
- "while I put on the darbies": "British slang: handcuffs; manacles" (Dictionary.com HERE).
- Roy de Saussure Horn wrote in different genres, including sea adventures, Westerns, war stories, and the occasional detective yarn; FictionMags's list of his short fiction begins in 1920 and runs to 1944, ending with today's story. Their thumbnail: "Naval officer, editor, publisher. Born in Boston, Georgia; died in Annapolis, Maryland."

1 comment:

  1. Roy deSaussure Horn was my great-uncle--I'm glad to find another of his stories featured online (I've been collecting what I could find in hard copy--mostly Argosy). He was an Annapolis grad (class of 1915) and wrote the lyrics to Navy Blue and Gold (the alma mater).