Saturday, January 22, 2022

"Why Not, Say on the Next Murder, Take a Leaf from the Book of Sherlock Holmes"

JUST THE OTHER day we featured a Runyonesque tale about double dealing in the sports world and expressed our disappointment with the story's Big Reveal. With that in mind, today we travel to the Great White Way with the same author and the same character as they test the validity of . . .

"The Sherlock Holmes Theory."
By Jack Kofoed (John Christian Kofoed, 1894-1979).
Illustration by Parkhurst (1876-1962; HERE).
First appearance: Popular Detective, September 1950.
Reprinted in Popular Detective (Canada), September 1950.
Short short story (9 pages).
Online at (HERE).

     "Baldy Simmons, the sage of Broadway, faces the fury of an armed killer in the dressing room of Julie Hart, dancer!"

Every gunsel seems to think he's not only smarter than the cops but also immortal—O'Hara, for instance, is of that opinion; but a gorgeous doll is about to prove how wrong a gunsel can be . . . .

Comment: This Baldy story isn't as entertainingly-written as the previous one, but plot-wise it's an improvement.

Main characters:
~ Julie Hart:
  "You mean to kill us?"
~ Captain Peter Bellamy:
  "Were it not that I have only three more years to go before starting to draw a pension, I walk straight down to West Street and jump into the river."
~ The taxi jockey:
  "Listen, mister. I ain't a hero and I do not wish to be a hero. If there are guys with guns in there let them go their own way. I go the other."
~ Harry Bushel:
  "I do not expect to see you here. As a matter of fact, I do not expect to see anyone I know."
~ O'Hara:
  "I want you to do me a favor."
~ Hippo Smyle:
  ". . . is the most stupid man I ever meet, all muscle and no mind."
~ Baldy Simmons:
  ". . . a phrase here and there if often the solution of a problem—and observation and deduction are not words to lie fallow in a dictionary."

Typo: "prlobably".

References and resources:
- "Moscow Mule": There's some uncertainty as to where it originated:
  "A Moscow mule is a cocktail made with vodka, spicy ginger beer, and lime juice, garnished with a slice or wedge of lime" (Wikipedia HERE).
- "at the Mocambo": Only an author can move a building two thousand miles in one sentence:
  "The Mocambo was a nightclub in West Hollywood, California, at 8588 Sunset Boulevard on the Sunset Strip" (Wikipedia HERE).
- "into a cab, which is one of those two way radio affairs": Relatively new at the time:
  "Taxicabs proliferated around the world in the early 20th century. The first major innovation after the invention of the taximeter occurred in the late 1940s, when two-way radios first appeared in taxicabs" (Wikipedia HERE).
- "I turn to the stool-pigeons": Feathers they do not have:
  "Informants are extremely common in every-day police work, including homicide and narcotics investigations. The term 'stool pigeon' originates from the antiquated practice of tying a passenger pigeon to a stool. The bird would flap its wings in a futile attempt to escape. The sound of the wings flapping would attract other pigeons to the stool where a large number of birds could be easily killed or captured" (Wikipedia HERE).
- "reading Variety": Seems reasonable that Baldy would be a reader:
  "Variety has been published since December 16, 1905, when it was launched by Sime Silverman as a weekly periodical covering theater and vaudeville with its headquarters in New York City" (Wikipedia HERE).
- "an old-time speakeasy": "Swordfish":
  "Speakeasy bars came into prominence in the United States during the Prohibition era (1920–33, longer in some states). During that time, the sale, manufacture, and transportation (bootlegging) of alcoholic beverages was illegal throughout the United States. Speakeasies largely disappeared after Prohibition ended in 1933" (Wikipedia HERE).
- "like Ingrid Bergman": She could act, too:
  "Ingrid Bergman (1915-82) was a Swedish actress who starred in a variety of European and American films, television movies, and plays. With a career spanning five decades, she is often regarded as one of the most influential screen figures in cinematic history" (Wikipedia HERE).
That's Ingrid on the right.
- For more about our author and his series character see our previous posting (HERE).

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