Wednesday, November 1, 2023

"Besides, Why Would I Want To Kill Him When I Was Hoping for a Part in the New Play He Was Producing?"

"Suspicion of Murder."
By Eric Hatch (1901-73).
Illustrated by George Hughes (1907-90; National Museum of American Illustration HERE).
First appearance: This Week Magazine, August 2, 1953.
No known reprintings.
Short short short story (2 pages).
Online at (HERE).

   "The question should have been so easy to answer. But it was not. At least not in a way that this gently menacing policeman would understand
—and believe."

Being in the wrong place at the wrong time can have its downside—including becoming the prime suspect in a mysterious death . . . but can it save a marriage?

Main characters:
~ Thornley Pride, the victim:
  "'Maybe he turned you down,' said the Inspector. Thornley Pride had not turned her down. She had only just started to read for him when . . ."
~ Katherine Barnes:
  "She was an actress. She had played her part—the role of the perfect, yet glamorous and romantic young wife."
~ Inspector Moore of the NYPD:
  ". . . the man who sat at Thornley’s Pride’s desk—the big, gray-haired man who had just asked her so matter-of-factly, and so absurdly, if she had killed Thornley Pride. He was a police inspector and he was waiting patiently for her to answer."
~ Henry Barnes:
  "But Henry didn’t know any chorus girls and wasn’t in love with anybody. Katherine’s blue eyes filled with tears. This was the real trouble—and it had been breaking her heart. Henry wasn’t in love with anybody."
References and resources:
- "the Tombs":
  Ellery Queen (the detective) spent some time there:
    "The Tombs is the colloquial name for the Manhattan Detention Complex (formerly the Bernard B. Kerik Complex), a municipal jail at 125 White Street in Lower Manhattan, New York City. It is also the nickname for three previous city-run jails in the former Five Points neighborhood of lower Manhattan, in an area now known as the Civic Center. The original Tombs was officially known as the Halls of Justice, built in 1838 in an Egyptian Revival architectural style, similar in form to a mastaba. It may have been this style that caused it to be called 'the Tombs', although other theories exist." (Wikipedia HERE.)
- FictionMags indicates that, starting in 1925, Eric Stowe Hatch's short fiction appeared intermittently for the next four decades, culminating in 1965.

Unless otherwise noted, all bibliographical data are derived from The FictionMags Index created by William G. Contento & edited by Phil Stephensen-Payne.

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