Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Man Who Murdered in Public - Roy Vickers

Theme: Queen’s Quorum Titles
Story: The Man Who Murdered in Public
Author: Roy Vickers
Source: The Department Of Dead Ends
A unique story in this collection in the sense that everybody knows that the protagonist is a murderer but they just can’t prove it! George Carshaw’s first victim is Elsie, the maid against whom he harbors a revenge for the treatment she meted out to him in his younger days. Mode of murder – death due to drowning when the boat was overturned – the nearby tourists on the other boats see the accident but they don’t notice George holding the girl under the water. The verdict: death due to accident.
Second victim happens to be his first wife with the same modus operandi. The wife dies because she doesn’t know swimming. He pleads in front of the coroner that he couldn’t have saved her because he himself doesn’t know swimming. Every time he escapes the death row, he changes his name and moves on to a different location. Third victim happens to be his second wife in exactly the same manner as the previous one. This time, the police smell a rat. They realize that he collected huge insurance money on both the occasions. They also stumble upon the first death but they fail to see any motive in the first one. The public prosecutor declines to proceed with the case.
George is not so lucky when his third wife is killed in exactly the same manner – in front of all the witnesses. In the coroner’s court, a lawyer starts questioning whether he had taken insurance against his wife. When the answer is affirmative, they present to the coroner’s jury the two previous instances where George got away with murder and the insurance money. They come out with a verdict of willful murder and George is committed for trial on the coroner’s warrant. In the actual trial, it is proved that George is an expert swimmer but it doesn’t stop the clever defense lawyer from saving his client on a technicality.
So what more could the police do to apprehend this multiple murderer? Well, the help comes in the way of a ruby bracelet - a bracelet which is on the list of things stolen in a case that the police are investigating – a bracelet which the police find in a pawnshop – a bracelet which was given as a gift to the maid Elsie.

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