Monday, April 15, 2024

"The Dog Did Nothing To Attract Attention"

"The Adventure of the Cat and the Fiddle - A Sherlockian Sonnet."
By Vincent Starrett (1886-1984; Studies in Starrett HERE).
First appearance: The Baker Street Journal, January 1948.
Reprinted in EQMM, October 1961 (today's text).
Poem (1 page).
Online at The Luminist Archives (HERE; go to text page 113).

   "And strange events went forward, as we know."

You don't have to be an expert Sherlockian (or "Holmesian") like Vincent Starrett to catch the allusion in the last line, but for those of you who miss it go (HERE).

~ ~ ~

NOT all of Vincent Starrett's mystery fiction centered on his most famous series character Jimmie Lavender, such as this one: the authorities conduct ("whenever the police had nothing more urgent to occupy them") a search for a . . .

"Man in Hiding."
By Vincent Starrett (1886-1984; Wikipedia HERE).
First appearance: EQMM, December 1964.
Reprinted in:
  - Masterpieces of Mystery: The Grand Masters Up to Date
  - Ellery Queen’s Anthology #56, Summer 1987
Short short story (7 pages).
Online at The Luminist Archives (HERE; go to text page 105).

   "It was the dog that recognized him."

THAT brilliant detective M. Dupin taught us that, to conceal something, hiding it in plain sight might be the best approach.

Main characters:
~ Dr. B. Edward Loxley:
  ". . . sat quietly at his desk in the great Merchandise Exchange reading his morning mail."
~ Lora Loxley:
  ". . . murdered by suffocation, had been buried for nearly three weeks . . ."
~ Gloria:
  "The rest of his wealth, in cash, was waiting in Paris—as was Gloria."
~ Miss Marivole Boggs:
  "The newspaper stories about that doctor are getting shorter every day. I'm beginning to believe he really was murdered."
~ Lawrence (Larry) Bridewell:
  "There was no doubt about it—Larry was looking back."
~ Mrs. Montgomery Hyde:
  "He loves everybody."
~ Jackson:
  "The lawyer laughed heartily at his own witticism."
~ Sergeants Coughlin and Ripkin:
  ". . . from Headquarters."

Typo: "visitiors".

References and resources:
- "The Merchandise Exchange":
  "Chicago Mercantile Exchange was known as the Chicago Butter and Egg Board when it was founded in 1898, and futures available through the exchange were initially limited to agricultural products. In 1919 the Board was restructured and the name changed to Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which reflected a new focus on commodities beyond butter and eggs, including potatoes, onions, and cheese. In 1972, CME introduced the first financial futures market, offering contracts on seven foreign currencies." (Wikipedia HERE.)
The hideout
- "in the river or floating on its way to the Gulf of Mexico":
  "The Chicago River is a system of rivers and canals with a combined length of 156 miles (251 km) that runs through the city of Chicago, including its center (the Chicago Loop). Though not especially long, the river is notable because it is one of the reasons for Chicago's geographic importance: the related Chicago Portage is a link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basin, and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico." (Wikipedia HERE.)
- Hollywood loves to incorporate dogs into their productions, from Rin Tin Tin and Lassie to crime-busting canines like the one that fingers (paws?) the murderer in the adaptation of an S. S. Van Dine story (WARNING! SPOILERS! Wikipedia HERE).
- We're of the opinion that our author has taken one of the most sensational real-life murder cases of the early 20th century and reversed the geography—and he all but admits it was his inspiration: e.g., "as forgotten as Dr. Crippen"; "as he had looked, with the neat little beard and mustache." Just before that notorious wife killer was captured, an alert ship's captain noted in a wireless message: "Mustache taken off growing beard." (Wikipedia HERE.) It would be quite a while before Britain's Hollywood committed the story to film and inserted a kink into the usual narrative. (WARNING! SPOILERS! Wikipedia HERE.)
- We have made contact with Vincent Starrett, Sherlockian par excellence and fine mystery writer, several times in the past: (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), (HERE), and (HERE).

The bottom line:

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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