Sunday, January 19, 2020

Deal Me In: "Chicago Night's Entertainment"

Jay's Deal Me In Challenge has us reading 52 short stories--one per week; one per card in a deck. For details click on the link. And my list of chosen stories may be found HERE.

Last week's story was "Chicago Night's Entertainment" by Ben Hecht (from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine July 1958) chosen by drawing the eight of clubs. This installment in the challenge is a very short one and is actually a sketch from Hecht's A Thousand and One Afternoons in Chicago. Sergeant Kuzik of the first precinct is speaking to the unnamed journalist who provides the reader's point of view. Apparently, the journalist has asked Kuzik to relate some of his most interesting cases for a newspaper article. The sergeant insists that he needs time to remember his stories properly and the proceeds to give us little paragraph snapshots of some of his cases. We get a peek at the man who killed his wife and used her skull as an ashtray and the alderman who was a terrific hypnotist and convinced one of two burglars robbing his house that he (the burglar) was a policeman and he should shoot the other burglar, among others.

Overall--a very unsatisfying little sketch. Hecht gives us just enough to get us interested in the little snippets, but it would have been a far more entertaining night in Chicago (well, in Bloomington, anyway) if he had chosen one of the stories and given it a full run.

Up next, having drawn the seven of diamonds, we'll have Hugh Pentecost's John Jericho in "Jericho and the Dying Clue."

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