Thursday, January 26, 2012

Two Over Par - Kelley Roos

Story: Two Over Par
Author: Kelley Roos
Source: Four and Twenty Bloodhounds – the 3rd MWA Anthology
Story Number: 26
Jeff and Haila Troy are among the few genuinely likable young couples in the detective fiction created by the husband and wife team of Kelley Roos. Even though this detective duo is more famous for their exploits in the longer form (most notably in ‘The Frightened Stiff’, ‘Sailor, Take Warning’ & ‘If The Shroud Fits’), they have a few good short stories to their credit as well. This story ‘Two Over Par’ has won the EQMM award in the best story competition.
Jeff & Haila stumble across two dead bodies when they are looking for their golf balls in a thicket on the 9th hole. Both Mrs. Carleton and her caddie Eddie are dead due to a single bullet wound, both the bullets having been fired from the same gun. First they investigate the murder thinking that the rich man’s wife was the intended victim and the caddie was killed because he saw the murderer but the investigation comes to a dead end when they find no motive. The same is the result when the investigation is carried out with the pretext of the caddie being the chief victim. But nobody seems to dislike the young man.
Jeff keeps harping on the fact that the golf ball (which is inscribed in a particular way) being used by Mrs. Carleton wasn’t found at all in the thicket even though they found around 7 balls belonging to various other members. It is this fact which finally trips the murderer to commit a blunder and walk into the trap set up by Jeff.
The wit and humor one would associate with this author is abundantly evident even in a short story – one example is given below:
A girl of seventeen approaches Jeff asking him to investigate the murder as she believes that everyone will consider her as the chief suspect as she had been planning to kill Mrs. Carleton for the past 4 years. Jeff asks her to sit down to which she turns towards Haila and quips, “I’m practically on my way to the electric chair, and the man asks me to sit down!”


  1. I wish someone would collect all the Roos short stories and novellas in an anthology. It's a project Crippen and Landru should consider. I started buying issues of American Magazine on eBay just so I could read more of their work. Of the husband and wife sleuthing teams out there (so many of them!) Jeff and Haila are my favorites. Sharper and smarter than the Norths, more interesting that the Abbots, and funnier than Nick and Nora who really only appeared in one book. I don't count the movies which are the work of Harry Kurntiz (and others) not Hammett.

    1. I agree with you - the humor, the chemistry & the witty dialogue between the couple has really not been matched by any other detective duo.