The Contradictory Case by Hugh Pentecost
Source: The Quintessence of Queen #2
Story Number: 80
Hugh Pentecost was a prodigious author who created a number of series detectives: Luke Bradley, Dr. John Smith, Lt. Pascal, Pierre Chambrun, Uncle George, John Jericho, Julian Quist.
The story kicks off with Lieutenant Pascal interrogating one of the witnesses in a murder case at the scene of the crime. Eddie has confessed to killing Sam Lorrimer. Eddie was in the habit of takings bets from Sam for a Times Square bookmaker. After losing his bets for 50 dollars on each of the seven days, he puts a $ 1000 bet on a horse which came in at twenty-to-one. But Eddie doesn’t pass on the bet to the bookmaker and the horse ends up winning. Lt. Pascal doesn’t believe that this is a motive for murder even though the victim was found with a betting slip clutched in his hand. He punches a lot of holes in Eddie’s confession and proves to him as to why he couldn’t have killed Sam. This opens up the channel that he was trying to protect someone – which turns out to be a girl who would have checked in to the hotel at exactly the same time as Sam.
Eddie builds up a convincing story where he shows the girl couldn’t have killed Sam. Pascal again punches a lot of holes in his story and breaks her alibi. But Eddie justifies that if he being only 5 feet tall couldn’t have killed the 6 feet 5 inches tall giant, then so didn’t the girl who is much smaller than him.
“It begins with a bet that wasn’t a bet. A coincidence that wasn’t a coincidence. Then we had a murderer who didn’t kill anybody. Then we have an alibi that isn’t an alibi,” observes Pascal and goes onto unravel this puzzling case in a most emphatic manner.