Thursday, November 15, 2012
The Rubber Trumpet - Roy Vickers
Theme: Queen’s Quorum Titles
Story: The Rubber Trumpet
Author: Roy Vickers
Source: The Department Of Dead Ends, The Mammoth Book of Great Detective Stories
This Queen’s Quorum title collects the best ten of Roy Vicker’s celebrated Department of Dead Ends (DDE) detective stories. These are detective stories with a difference. As Ellery Queen says in his introduction, they are of the ‘inverted’ type of detective story. Knowing from the start who the murderer is, the reader is presented with the motive, the workings of the criminal mind, the crime itself, and all the clues. The ‘surprise’ in these stories is, of course, supplied by the way in which these murderers are detected; and this is where the DDE comes in – that repository of files which were never completed, of investigations without a clue and clues which led nowhere. From time to time, quite illogically, Inspector Rason finds a connection between happenings in the outside world and the objects in his Scotland Yard museum, events move inexorably to their appointed end!
George Muncey, under a fictitious name ends up marrying a maid, the marriage being witnessed only by the maid’s parents. The rubber trumpet of the story is a gift article bought by the maid on their honeymoon, the trumpet is thrown out of a moving train by George because he hates the noise which the trumpet creates, the police find a dead child on the same train and as part of this investigation, the trumpet which is retrieved on the railway line is sent to the DDE.
Since nobody knows who Muncey is, he thinks he is gone be safe if he murders the maid and he turns out to be right. He just moves to a different city, starts working in a chemist’s shop and ends up leading a married life with another woman. A few years down the line, the shop owner decides to sell some toys to his customers and one such toy on the counter turns out to be a rubber trumpet. This brings back some unnecessary memories for George. He destroys it in a furnace and puts the required amount in to the cash register. A few days later, the shop owner thinking that this would sell, brings out the entire stock of 77 trumpets! George Muncey again decides to pay for all 77 of them and destroy them. Unluckily for him, the case in which he is carrying them is stolen by a thief who ultimately is caught by the police. And what follows is a series of connections – leading the police to the murderer of the cold case of the murdered maid!