AT FIRST everything about the dead woman's estate seemed copacetic, until . . .
"The Furniture Talked."
By Everett Rhodes Castle (1894-1968).
Illustration by Walter Skor.
First appearance: This Week Magazine, October 19, 1952.
Short short story (6 pages).
"The thing didn't hit me until almost an hour later."
You can learn a lot from a lamp . . . .
~ Doc Breene:
"I had no idea when my telephone rang at two minutes of ten, that Fate had selected me to put the finger on one of the most audacious criminal conspiracies to hit our town in decades."
~ Lieutenant Arthur Mayo:
~ Max Scoville:
". . . played it smart, too. He knew Martha wouldn't live forever."
"With a tired little gurgle the butler pitched forward."
References and resources:
- "the Hepplewhite bookcase in front of me": If you happen to have one, you're set for life:
"Hepplewhite produced designs that were slender, more curvilinear in shape and well balanced. There are some characteristics that hint at a Hepplewhite design, such as shorter more curved chair arms, straight legs, shield-shape chair backs, all without carving" (Wikipedia HERE).
- "a Chippendale card table": It'll cost you a pretty penny to play solitaire on it:
"Chippendale furniture is much valued; a padouk cabinet that was offered for auction during 2008 sold for £2,729,250" (Wikipedia HERE).
- "genuine K'ang Hsi worth a king's ransom": Over 400 years old and still in one piece:
"Delicate K'ang Hsi porcelain was loaded onto the 1715 Fleet galleons after a voyage halfway around the world from China aboard the Manilla Galleons in the Pacific Ocean. Mule trains from Acapulco to Vera Cruz would connect the trade routes and transport goods from the Pacific Fleet into the Atlantic Fleet" (Wikipedia HERE; info about the Chinese emperor who unwittingly lent his name to this style is HERE).
- From all appearances, Everett Rhodes Castle's publishing career was a long and lucrative one for him, stretching from 1917 to 1956 (FictionMags data), almost entirely in the high-paying slicks of the era. Castle had several series characters: Wet Smacks for the Saturday Evening Post (1931-32); Mr. Bullfinch in the Post (1933); Margaret Reddy, also in the Post (1934); Col. Humphrey Flack in the Post (1936-38, 1943, 1945, and 1946); Jefferson Davis Pope (in This Week, 1936-37); and Mrs. Tupper (This Week, 1938-39). One of them went on to star in the early days of TV.
- Our author was also coincidentally involved with the pioneering efforts of post-World War II television programs through one of his series characters:
"Colonel Humphrey Flack — Alan Mowbray, one of the founding members of the Screen Actors Guild, starred as the titular Flack, a con man who partnered with Uthas P. Garvey (played by Frank Jenks) to con other con men, and gave part of the money they 'borrowed' to those in need. The show, based on the short stories of Everett Rhodes Castle in the Saturday Evening Post, first aired on Wednesdays on 9 p.m. (then Saturday, then Friday) and ran from October 1953-July 1954, when it was cancelled (not before two guest appearances by Jack Klugman, however). But four years later, in a move that makes re-making The Incredible Hulk less than 40 months after Hulk seem sensible, the cast and crew of Humphrey Flack got back together, and re-shot every episode, scene-by-scene, for CBS Films, presumably for the added quality. It was re-named Colonel Flack, and later, The Fabulous Fraud, a much better and accurate title" (Vulture HERE; also see Wikipedia HERE and the IMDb HERE).