Wednesday, April 10, 2024

"Science Proves That a Man Can Kill Himself Without Committing Suicide!"

"Perfect Murder."
By H. L. Gold (1914-96; ISFDb HERE; Wikipedia HERE).
Illustrated by [Frank R.] Paul (1884-1963; ISFDb HERE).
First appearance: Thrilling Wonder Stories, March 1940.
Reprints page (ISFDb HERE).
Short short short story (4 pages).
Online at The Luminist Archives (HERE: It will be necessary to download the entire issue; go to text page 74).

   "Perhaps the only object worthy of attention was the corpse lying near the bile-green armchair."

"It was a perfectly ordinary perfect crime," we're told. "Random had been murdered in a locked room, with a gun that lay twenty feet away, and, as subsequent investigation proved, he hadn't an enemy in the world." Who, indeed, would have it in for Harold, a nonentity to the world at large, universally regarded as "meek and inoffensive"?

Main characters:
~ Harold Random, Sewage Disposal Department employee:
  "'I've stood for enough,' he stated. 'You're trying to get me out of the way so you can step in. You know I'll win her anyhow!'"
~ Mr. Feeney, the janitor:
  "Why couldn't it be suicide?"
~ "a man, faultlessly dressed":
  "Sarcasm always was wasted on you."
~ Marguerite:
  "She's such a lovely thing, even without her fortune, that I know you'd hate to lose her."
~ Will Hanson:
  "H-m-m-m. Then Marguerite hasn't married that ugly ape yet. You know—Will Hanson."

Typo: "she [?] going to take the leap" (missing "is").

- Several years ago, we updated Gold's story "Grifters' Asteroid" (HERE). Since then, we've also updated the short story bibliography; see "Resources".

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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