"The Fine Detective story does not contain 'a' clue but it is a ladder of clues, a pattern of evidence, joined together with such cunning that even the experienced reader may be deceived: until, in the blaze of the surprise ending, he suddenly sees the whole design."
- John Dickson Carr
Monday, February 27, 2012
Look At The Birdie - Kurt Vonnegut
This week, I'll be featuring some random stories read over the past few weeks and hence won't fall into any particular theme. Story: Look At The Birdie
Author: Kurt Vonnegut
Source: Look At the Birdie: Unpublished Fiction by Kurt Vonnegut
Story Number: 58
Kurt Vonnegut, most famous for his novel Slaughterhouse-Five,has quite a few short story collections to his credit as well. While Mortals Sleep(2011) & Look At The Birdie (2009) are the 2 most recent ones published posthumously. They do not contain mystery stories per say but the latter title could serve as a terrific introduction to his short fiction for those who aren’t acquainted with him. The 14 stories in this collection have all his trademarks – wit, humor, humanism and that sucker punch towards the end of the story which would leave the reader stunned & elated.
The title story in this collection starts off with a catchy line: I was sitting in a bar one night, talking rather loudly about a person I hated - and a man with a beard sat down beside me, and he said amiably ‘Why don’t you have him killed?’ This bearded person introduces himself as a quack psychiatrist turned ‘murder counselor’ and goes on to propound his theory of how he can get someone murdered without anyone getting the wise of it and how he has been usingthis new technique to relieve the anxieties of his paranoid patients. What follows is a bizarre exchange of dialogue between these two individuals which effectively leads to a fitting twist like the old-fashioned O. Henry surprise ending!