Saturday, November 27, 2021

"Alibi in Reverse" (Repost)

"Alibi in Reverse."
By Robert Leslie Bellem (1902-68).
First appearance: Mammoth Detective, March 1943.
Short short story (6 pages).
Online at The Luminist Archives (HERE; go down to text page 178).

     "Nosey Logan had a peach of an alibi; so perfect it was foolproof. But if he’d been without one, he’d have been safer!"

When hardcore criminals disagree, they tend to do more than just sniff and walk away . . .

~ Tim Jarnegan:
  "'If you’ve got a gun in there, better let it alone. Mine’s already out.' He displayed the snub-nosed .32 special in his fist."
~ Pop Conway:
  "'Sure I remember,' Pop said. 'We sent him up for three years on a bunko rap. It was Ace Cullane, the guy he worked for, whose testimony nailed the lid on him. We figured it was another case of thieves falling out—a big one feeding a little one to the wolves.'"
~ Ace Cullane:
  "Okay. Now get this. I’m gunnin’ for Ace Cullane, see? He ratted on me three years ago, an’ tonight I’m gonna get even."
~ Nosey Logan:
  ". . . swaggered in, a sallow little rat with a certain rodent bravado."

~ Dice Vallardo:
  "'Have it your way, copper,' Vallardo said smoothly. His voice matched his hair, sleek and oily. Sun lamps gave him a healthy tan the year around. He cast a flickering glance at Nosey Logan. 'Hello, skunk.'"

- Sound recording and wiretapping become plot points in the story; for background, consult the following Wikipedia articles: "LP record" (HERE), "Phonograph record" (HERE), "History of sound recording" (HERE), and especially "History of sound recording: The Electrical Era (1925 to 1945) (including sound on film)" (HERE), as well as "Telephone tapping" (HERE).
- A one-man pulp machine, Robert Leslie Bellem wrote literally thousands of stories under at least 45 pseudonyms in addition to his own (FictionMags); since his forte was crime fiction, he was able to enjoy a latter-day career in television script writing (which one may consider as pulp fiction in another medium; see HERE). As Kevin Burton Smith at The Thrilling Detec-tive Website says:

   "In his prime, it was said that Bellem was pumping out a million words annually, and selling almost every single one of them to the pulps. But he was more than merely prolific—he was a riot. The question, though, is did he know it? Was he was trying to parody the hard-boiled detective genre, barely ten years after its birth, with his stories of [Dan] Turner [the Hollywood detective], or (and this is even scarier) was he simply, completely unaware of how funny and original his style was?"
   — "Robert Leslie Bellem," The Thrilling Detective Website

- Also see Wikipedia (HERE) for a brief article about our author and (HERE) for one of Bellem's rare forays into SFF ("Robots Can't Lie").

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