Sunday, February 12, 2012
Murder Story - William Irish
Theme for the Week: Queen’s Quorum Titles
Name of the story: Murder Story
Author: William Irish
Source: After-Dinner Story (Queen’s Quorum Title #97)
Story Number: 43
William Tucker is a detective story writer who has a tough deadline to keep. But his present story will hardly tax him in terms of creating a story. He has been plotting to kill his colleague Henry -who has become famous only because William has been ghost writing for him. He has figured out the opportunity and the place but he has waited for 2 years to find the means to achieve it. He chances upon it when he is visiting his doctor, who incidentally happens to be the doctor for the hypochondriac Henry as well. Tucker goes to Henry’s house and on some pretext enters the bathroom where his medicinal kit is housed. He replaces the stomach tonic with a poison (prescribed for Tucker as ointment to be applied externally) and removes the electric bulb on the way out. Henry dies after consuming this poison in the dark.
Immediately after reaching home, Tucker writes his own murderous escapade as a detective story by just changing the names of the characters involved and sends it off to his editor. What then follows is a cat and mouse game between the cops and Tucker – each trying to outmaneuver the other with the cops coming out the victor in the end. Just before he is carted off, he gets a chance to check the reply from the editor for his submitted story – a reply which serves as a fitting punch-line ending for this good inverted detective story.