Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Girl Overboard - Q. Patrick
Theme for the Week: Murder on the Seas
Story: Girl Overboard
Author: Q. Patrick or Patrick Quentin
Source: Four and Twenty Bloodhounds
Story Number: 53
To a keen follower of Trant’s escapades, the story might sound familiar and may think that it is one of the already recorded cases of Timothy Trant but Anthony Boucher confirms in the introduction that this story, one of Trant’s deftest cases, was written specifically for this MWA anthology.
Lieutenant Trant of the New York Homicide Bureau has been on a one month vacation in Europe and is currently on board the S.S Queen Anne. He appears bored as he has been starved of his one authentic enthusiasm – his passion for murderers. Sitting in the lounge and contemplating about the various people on board, he is a mute witness to a strange drama. Mavis Marriner, England’s newest, prettiest and probably the least talented movie star looks like a classic example of a murderee to Trant. Claire Howard, wife of a Hollywood producer, thinks that Mavis is about to steal her husband which infuriates both Claire and Mavis’s fiancé - leading to a tension filled night of rising tempers and jealously among the dramatis personae involved.The next morning, Trant is called in by the ship’s captain to help him as Mavis is not to be found anywhere on the ship. A quick scrutiny of Mavis’s room shows that the girl was killed on board and then thrown overboard. 2 of the three suspects have perfect alibis. But there are sufficient clues available: spilled perfume and the milk in the glass which was left for her at her usual request time of 1 o’ clock. Trant consults the ship’s log to know the weather conditions prevailing at the time of her death and combining this knowledge with the two clues at his disposal sets a clever trap to nail yet another murderer, whom he really likes and feels a twinge of sadness for exposing him.