Thursday, January 12, 2012

The Tale of Sir Jeremy Fisher - Don Carleton

Name of the story: The Tale of Sir Jeremy Fisher

Author: Don Carleton
Source: The Times of London Anthology of Detective Stories
Story Number: 12
In the search for a potential new Conan Doyle, the Times of London, in conjunction with British publishing company arranged a special detective story competition in the spring of 1972. The panel of judges included five luminaries, one of them being Dame Agatha. It seems they received more than a thousand entries and out of these, the best 10 have been included in this anthology including the top 5 winners.
 “For resolving the most ingenious crime in ‘The Tale of Sir Jeremy Fisher’, Don Carleton won the second prize in this competition,” the judges quote in the introduction.
Scene of the crime: A three tiered pool. A big reservoir on top, from the reservoir water tumbles from a pipe down a narrow gulley to a shallow pool. From there it cascades down a wider gulley into a deep dark pool.
Jeremy Fisher, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Wessex is found drowned in the lower pool with some head injuries caused before the death. A research scientist was on a boat in the reservoir, a group of archaeologists were on the site above the river, a student canoeing alone & a couple who saw Jeremy fishing 15 minutes before his death are the only witnesses and also the suspects, as each one of them has a likely motive. Nobody was seen approaching the dead man; all the others were constantly under observation by at least one other person.
After interviewing all the suspects, the Inspector(nameless throughout) has only 2 clues – a bottle of wine tied to a tree branch was found shattered with the broken string still tied to the branch and the broken paddle which the canoeing student claims was due to the river(which no one believes). Consulting the weather records and considering the motives of the various folks involved in conjunction with the two clues, the inspector shows how a murder could have been committed in that pool without anybody ever going near the victim.
Tomorrow’s post will feature the winning entry. J

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