ROBERT R. MILL “Murder on the Island.” Short story. “Tiny” David #1. [Corrected to #2. See Comment #1.] First published in Blue Book, May 1933. Collected in Murder on the Island and Other Stories of “Tiny” David and the Black Horse Troop (Black Dog Books, paperback, 2004).

   We don’t get to see any of the Black Horse Troop in this, the first story of 47 in all, all appearing in Blue Book magazine between 1933 and 1942. The Black Dog collection contains only four of them. The rest I imagine I’ll never get a chance to read, never having collected the magazine, and the ones I did own for a while are long gone.

   In this one, we meet only Trooper Edward David and his immediate superior, Sergeant James Crosby. The setting is somewhere in the Adirondacks in New York State, as Tiny and the sergeant are rowing to an isolated island where a wealthy man and his daughter are living, along with several servants. Disliking publicity, visitors are generally not welcome, but an urgent telephone call from Joseph Bahn has them heading that way in rowboat, and in a hurry.

   Once there they find the body of the Bahns’ butler, dead, having been shot in the head. Although six foot two and weighing 220 pounds, “Tiny” David may appear lazy and slow-witted, but he’s one observant fellow, a lot sharper than his sergeant, and when he senses that something is wrong with the scenario they’ve been presented with, you can count on his sense been exactly right.

   What this story turns out to be is a perfectly ordinary detective mystery, a rather light-hearted approach that even without a challenge to the reader, an equally observant reader can see and interpret the same clues that Tiny does.

   For more on the author and the series, here’s a link to Sai Shankar’s Pulpflakes blog and his essay on both: