Sunday, March 28, 2010


Continued form the last post, A Sleuth Is Born ......

At 14, during the Christmas season, I had scripted and directed a drama called 'Murder by Poison' in which the children from the neighbourhood donned the grease-paint. The enactment progressed without a hitch till the interval when the events took an unforeseen twist. In the drama, the hero was to drink a glass of lime juice to which the would-be murderer had surreptitiously added the poison. Soon after drinking the juice the hero had 'fallen down dead' as dictated by the script. But when the time came for the hero's 'body' to be produced for post mortem, the 'corpse' was nowhere in sight. Without the knowledge mine, the script writer, the plot had thickened. The actor ( who played the murder victim ) had quietly slipped into the loo, leaking, as he was, like a defective municipal tap, from the wrong end of his alimentary canal. And he refused to come out of his sanctuary.

As was found out later, a boy had played a prank by adding a dose of castor oil to the lime juice. In the mean time, pandemonium had broken out in the auditorium as the drama had come to a grinding halt. It was, indeed, a testimonial to my ingenuity that I managed to effect impromptu changes to the script and went on to complete the play by changing the title from 'Murder by Poison' to 'A Case of Missing Corpse' !!

The Sleuth Turns Scribe

With such background, it was no wonder that in my late teens, the cacoethes scribendi (persistent itch to write) took the better of me. I came to the conclusion that the time was ripe to transcribe my fertile imagination into concrete words and write a murder mystery of my own. After protracted mental churning, a plot emerged which I considered at that time to be the cream of an idea.

The story revolved around a love triangle involving two friends, let's say, men A and B, and a girl C. A was murdered and B was implicated for the crime based on:
a) presence of the accused at the scene of crime on the day of the murder
b) the obvious motive, the love triangle
c) B's finger prints on the murder weapon - a knife
d) presence of A's blood in the scrapings of B's palm collected soon after murder

B's pleadings of innocence were rejected by the court against the backdrop of foolproof set of evidences, particularly the the blood on B's palm on which the outcome of the case hinged. Just when an adverse verdict was about to be delivered, entered the super sleuth, Merry Passion(no relative of Perry Mason).

Merry Passion argued in front of the magistrate that B, in fact, was innocent. Mr Passion claimed that he had carefully examined the sample containing the scrapings the palms of the accused, B.
Apart from A's blood, it also showed a few parts of a dead mosquito under the microscope. Merry Passion contended that on the night of the murder when B was in A's house, the B had swatted a mosquito that had just bitten and sucked the blood of A. "That explains the presence of A's blood on on B's hands", declared Passion. The magistrate dismissed the prosecution's case and granted B an honourable acquittal.

At the time I wrote this murder mystery, I had no doubt that it was a masterpiece. So I sent it to a reputed periodical for publication. But, alas, someone in the editorial staff had killed the story.

And to this day I am searching for the killer. One more 'Case of Missing Killer' for you.

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