Monday, April 29, 2013

Mortmain - Miriam Allen deFord

Story: Mortmain
Author: Miriam Allen deFord
Book: The Theme is Murder
A deputy sheriff is on his deathbed and he continues to live only through his will power and his ably supported doctor who visits him every day to treat him personally. He even has a resident nurse who caters to all his needs as he doesn’t even have the strength to get up from his bed. He is a wealthy man and he has no heirs – all his money is to be passed on to charities with a small allowance to the nurse. The nurse knows about the presence of ten thousand dollars in the wall safe which hasn’t been accounted in the will and she needs it badly. But she knows that the deputy sheriff is a wise man and it’ll not be possible to force him to part with that money. And she knows that he will not die in the very near future – this policeman is not the type who is gone take his own life to end the misery. The only way for him to die is for her to kill him – with poison! And the opportunity finally presents itself when the Doctor needs to go out of town for three days.
She knows that she needs to strike on the very first day that the doctor will not be visiting to provide herself the chance to escape the law. She decides to mix the poison along with the afternoon medicine so that the deputy is not suspicious. Once he takes his medicine, all that she needs to do is wash the container and the doctor on his return would have no grounds to suspect that his patient met an untimely death. Does it all end so smoothly? The reader knows that there’s some strange twist coming but no reader will be ready for the chilling and disturbing picture conjured up in the last two paragraphs of this story to leave a memorable impression in the reader’s mind!

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