Tuesday, February 27, 2024

"It Means That He Didn’t Kill These Four People at Random"

HERE IS Ed Hoch two years after the start of his writing career, his 13th published story being . . .

"Inspector Fleming's Last Case."
By Edward D. Hoch (1930-2008; FictionMags, 6 pages HERE; Wikipedia HERE; Michael Grost's megasite HERE).
First appearance: Crime and Justice Detective Story Magazine, January 1957.
It wasn't long before Edward D. Hoch's name would start making the covers on a regular basis.
Apparently never reprinted.
Novelette (16 pages).
Online at Archive.org (HERE).

   "I’m staying on this case till the end—till we capture this madman, or till I drop over from trying."

Mandatory retirement often hits people hard. In today's story, for a policeman being forced to give up his job, "hard" doesn't even begin to cover it . . .

Typo: "Mr. Wager".

Main characters:
~ James Mitchell:
  ". . . saw the axe, and he knew what the man wanted. He saw it go up and then start its downward swing. There was just time for him to throw his hands in front of his face. The
first blow of the axe tore at his fingers. He never really felt the second blow . . . ."
~ Inspector Arnold Fleming:
  "The Police Department had been his whole life, and now they were taking it away. Just one more case, and it would be all over."
~ The Police Commissioner:
  "He listened in silence for a moment and then hung up. Tiny beads of sweat were beginning to appear on his forehead, and Fleming wondered if it was warm in the room despite his occasional chills."
~ Carter:
  "What’s there to connect an old woman, a married businessman and a cheap hoodlum, even in the mind of a crazy man?"
~ Mr. Wagner:
  "'Poor Sadie,' Mr. Wagner said and shook his head sadly. 'Poor old Sadie' . . . ."
~ Mrs. Mitchell:
  ". . . a young, good-looking woman, who seemed somehow very small and helpless in the black dress she wore."
~ Ralph:
  "I killed them, I tell you. I killed them all."
~ Rhonda Roberts:
  "With a hatchet? Are you kidding? What do you think I am, a damn Indian or something? I’d have shot him. Right between the eyes."
~ Doc Adams:
  "Well, I suppose that one on First Street wasn’t really natural."

- "the Ripper or the Cleveland Butcher":
  One psycho from the 1880s (HERE) and another one from the 1930s (HERE) who were never identified, much less captured, but they weren't the only ones never brought to account; see also Wikipedia (HERE).
- "The teletype came to life then":
  "Teletype machines were gradually replaced in new installations by dot-matrix printers and CRT-based terminals in the mid to late 1970s. Basic CRT-based terminals which could only print lines and scroll them are often called glass teletypes to distinguish them from more sophisticated devices." (Wikipedia HERE.)
(Click on image to enlarge.)
- "morphine instead of the milder codeine":
  "Morphine is a strong opiate that is found naturally in opium, a dark brown resin produced by drying the latex of opium poppies (Papaver somniferum). It is mainly used as an analgesic (pain medication)." (Wikipedia HERE.) "Codeine is used to relieve coughing. Evidence does not support its use for acute cough suppression in children. In Europe, it is not recommend-ed as a cough medicine in those under 12 years of age. Some tentative evidence shows it can reduce a chronic cough in adults." (Wikipedia HERE.)
- Although subject to certain laws, mandatory retirement is still practiced in developed nations; see Wikipedia (HERE).

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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