Thursday, May 17, 2012

Mom Remembers - James Yaffe

Theme: Crippen & Landru Series
Story: Mom Remembers
Author: James Yaffe
Source: My Mother, The Detective
Story Number: 114
The last Mom story is a double bonanza in that there are two murder mysteries solved – one by Mom and the other by Mom’s Mom!
The case that Dave is investigating deals with what the police think as an open and shut case. Eighteen year old Ortiz is seen running away from the scene of the crime where a taxi driver has been stabbed after a holdup went terribly wrong. The witness is none other than Dave himself. But Ortiz says he was nowhere near the scene of the crime but decides not to reveal where he was at that crucial hour.
Mom compares this case to the first ever case that she was involved in, 45 years ago, on the eve of her marriage to Mendel. Mendel ends up drunk during the party dedicated to him on the eve of his marriage – which is considered as a sin by his Father (who is a Rabbi). A quarrel ensues and Mendel walks out of the house in a wild mood promising his Father that he would commit more sin. Next day, he is arrested for the murder of a girl and though he agrees that he committed a sin, he declines that he killed her. At the same time, he is very rigid in not giving away his whereabouts during the crucial hour of the crime. It’s Mom’s Mother who comes to the rescue – she poses a different question to 4 different individuals and based on the answers she is able to free Mendel and catch the guilty party.
Mom applies the same logic and the same motive from the old case to the present case; poses her customary 3 or 4 questions and shows how the police have blundered again in thinking that they have an open and shut case!

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