Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Deal Me In: "The Man Who Traveled in Elephants" & "Murder on St. Valentine's Day"

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

I have gotten behind, so this post will cover two stories in one. Last week's story was "The Man Who Traveled in Elephants" by Robert A. Heinlein (found his short story collection 6 X H) and was chosen by drawing the ten of hearts from the deck. 

John Watts used to be a traveling salesman and his wife, Martha who loved to travel and see new things, would go with him on the road. They loved visiting all the carnivals and festivals and country fairs that they found along the way. Even after John retired, they still traveled, claiming (to those whose curiosity was such that they just had to know why they traveled so much) that now John "traveled in elephants." And now--now Martha is gone and John is keeping the tradition alive by traveling on his own. But then the bus he's on has an accident and he finds himself at the most fantastic festival he's ever seen.


Next up, after drawing the eight of spades, is "Murder on St. Valentine's Day" by Mignon G. Eberhart (found in Ellery Queen's Anthology 1966 Mid-Year Edition (Vol. 11).

One way and another, my widows have caused me considerable mental anguish, due in the main to their recurrent impulses to invest money in nonexistent oil wells, or to finance expeditions for the discovery of buried treasure.

Our narrator, James Wickwire, is a senior vice president at the local bank. He manages the estates of various widows who are clients of the bank. Most of them cause him anxiety--but not Clarissa--she had always kept her head when it came to money matters. Could balance a bank book with the best of them and never fell for wild cat schemes. That is until the day a young assistant cashier brought him a check for $20,000 written in lipstick on a dainty, lace, heart-shaped handkerchief from Clarissa to an unknown handsome young man. He thinks Clarissa has finally fallen for a slick line...but he didn't expect it to lead to murder.

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