MARTIN H. GREENBERG, Editor – Deadly Doings. Ivy, paperback original; 1st printing, 1989.

#3. JACK FINNEY “It Wouldn’t Be Fair.” Short story. First published in Collier’s, 28 August 1948. Reprinted in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, November 1951. Added later (see comments): Also reprinted in The Comfortable Coffin, edited by Richard S. Prather (Gold Medal, 1960). Not known to be collected. Adapted for TV on the series Rebound (1952-53), date unknown.

   This one’s a gem, one I’ve never heard of before. And unless you have a supply of old magazines of your own handy, this paperback anthology put together by Martin Greenberg is probably going to be the least expensive place you’re going to find to be able to read it.

   In it a Homicide detective named Charley has a girl friend named Annie (played by Jeff Donnell in the TV version) who unfortunately thinks he’s a moron. Why? Because he solves his cases by good old-fashioned police work, not by finding clues and and making brilliant deductions from them, the way it’s done in books.

   To settle their differences, Annie asks to be taken on Charley’s next case of murder. She is in her element now, making brilliant deductions on her own, all of which are hilariously wrong — except for one thing. When Charley and his Lieutenant nab the killer, by good old-fashioned police work, guess what? I bet you know.

   A fine, fine forerunner of the Schlock Homes stories, one later set of tales this is prime example of, but without the puns. You can’t have everything!


Previously in this Martin Greenberg anthology: P. D. JAMES “Murder, 1986.”