Bloehm’s Wall by George Emmett

by Arun

Source: Ellery Queen’s Crime Carousel

Story Number: 83

This story was picked as the best first story of the year 1965 by Ellery Queen. Carl Bloehm is a bedridden patient who is waiting for the cancer in his body to put an end to his miserly life. His wife gives him morphine shots to make him sleep. And when he is awake, his screams(due to the pain in his body) could be heard  miles away.

On a Saturday when his wife is away to receive a package from the berthing ship, Bloehm wakes up to the presence of a visitor in his room. He recognizes him as Emil Weiss, a person who was sentenced to prison for a murder which he hadn’t committed; a person against whom Bloehm testified to wrongly accuse him of the murder for which Bloehm himself was guilty. Bloehm has all along been expecting him to come back for his revenge and he is pleased that he has come back at this stage of his life when the existence on this planet hardly means anything to him. He rather sees Weiss as a Godsend; a means to end his life without he having to commit suicide.

During the course of their conversation, when Weiss hesitates to carry out the deed for which he has come, Bloehm resorts to needling him, he says disparaging things about the girl who was killed – who meant so much to Weiss, he tries all the dirty tricks in the book to incite him and make him take out that gun which is visible under his coat and shoot him but Weiss sees through this performance and holds back. Will Bloehm finally get his wish fulfilled? Will Weiss get his revenge? Weiss certainly gets his revenge but not in any way imagined by Bloehm!

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