Murder mysteries and gory tales tickled my perverse sense right from early childhood. The flicker of interest ignited by the hair-raising tales by Earl Stanley Gardener( in which corpses got strewn around like junkyard garbage) soon turned into a burning flame by the blood-curdling fictions of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie. The passion finally became an obsession, thanks to the gore-in-gallons depictions on celluloid by that master 'terrorist' Alfred Hitchcock.
At the age of ten, inspired by the fluorescent hound in Sir A C Doyle's "Hound of Baskerville", I anointed our pet dog Jackie with some stinking ointment and watched him the whole night to see if he glowed in the dark but to no avail. The flip side of it was that the next morning saw Jacky shivering in cold after having lost all his fur, looking like a freshly shorn sheep. I can still hear the echoes of the sound thrashings I received from dad for my canine misadventure.
In those days, I was a miniature sleuth of sorts that earned me the sobriquet 'Nosy Parker". Though wet behind the ears, I always kept my powder dry. For, any matter needing nosing around in our neighbourhood was promptly referred to me, be it a pet that vanished or articles lost, needing to be found.
One fruitful mission that stood out in my detective 'archives' was the solving of the mystery surrounding the violent death of a pet cat in the neighbourhood. Having been summoned to the scene of the crime, I closely inspected the mutilated carcass of the cat(or what was left of it). Peeping from the torn entrails of the feline victim were a few bits of undigested dog biscuits that screamed out the evidence.
It didn't take long for me to to follow this lead to our own pet dog, Jackie. Blood stains on Jackie's snout and a piece of cat entrails in his kennel were unequivocal pointers to Jackie's being the psychopath killer. Apparently, the late cat had stolen a couple of biscuits from Jackie's larder and Jackie, a dog of few barks but firm and decisive action, took law into his own hands(or paws) and did the cat in. The whole murder investigation, as it turned out, was a open-and -shut case.
(To be continued in the other post "The Sleuth Surges On".)
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