Tuesday, March 27, 2012

The Case Of The Helpless Man - Douglas Farr

Theme: Authors from the pages of AHMM

Story: The Case Of The Helpless Man
Author: Douglas Farr
Source: Alfred Hitchcock's A Hearse of A Different Color
Story Number: 87
Rudolph Iser is in a vegetative state after a stroke; he is completely paralyzed, can't move or talk, but can only hear and see. He has left two-thirds of his legacy to his nephew George and the remaining one-third to her niece Karen. Karen approaches her uncle and tells him that she will correct the errors in the will as he can't do anything about it. She brings  the drunken nephew into the room, places him in a chair in the line of the arm of the helpless man, puts a gun into the paralyzed hands and shoots at George.
The clever detective who is on the scene quickly realizes what must have happened there - he asks the helpless man to answer his questions with a Yes or No answer by moving his eyes. From this he elucidates that it was Karen who killed George. But he goes away a defeated man when Karen doesn't budge with her story that it was her uncle, with some miraculous last ditch effort, who shot George - a theory which no medical expert can refute.  
The detective knows that Karen killed George but he is helpless, the uncle knows that Karen is gone get away with murder but more importantly she will become the sole heir to his legacy and yet he can't do anything about it! Rudolph also knows that he is in his final moments, that he might not be alive when the detective comes back with more evidence or more questions. Will Karen get away with murder? Will she get her uncle's legacy which she has so schemingly aimed for? Or will the uncle, without the availability of any of his faculties, be able to do something to make sure that she doesn't inherit? Boils down to a fitting climax.

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