Saturday, February 4, 2012

The Amorous Corpse - Peter Lovesey

Story: The Amorous Corpse

Author: Peter Lovesey
Source: The Sedgemoor Strangler & Other Stories of Crime, The Mammoth Book of Locked Room Stories & Impossible Crimes
Story Number: 35
The detective constable receives a call from the post office saying that a man who tried a hold up is now dead. The man seems to have died of a heart attack and the body is taken away to the morgue. From the fingerprints, it turns out that the dead man was an ex-convict named Jack Soames. When the DC goes to his house, the girl friend Zara informs him that Jack was making love to her at 9.15 and hence couldn’t have been anywhere near the post office when he was supposed to have died. She further tells him that he left the house at around 10 and went to the benefits office. Zara identifies Jack in the morgue.
The DC then tracks Jack’s wife (separated for years) through the register of electors and asks her also to visit the morgue and confirm that it is her husband – which she does. The only anomaly is Zara’s testimony with respect to time. He decides to visit the Benefits Office as a means of checking up and to his surprise the security tapes show very clearly that Jack was indeed alive and present at the benefits office at 10.15. So how did the man end up in the benefits office at 10.15 when he was already dead at 9.15? A little bit of clever thinking and a detailed analysis of the video tape which shows the presence of another individual related to the case helps the rookie constable to crack this impossible crime of the amorous corpse which, I must say, reveals one of the most opportunistic murderers that one could come across!

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