The Monster – Vincent Cornier
Theme: Crippen & Landru Lost Classic Series
Source: The Dual of Shadows – The Extraordinary Cases of Barnabas Hildreth
Story Number: 119
The only story in this collection which is an anomaly – in the sense that the solution is not dependent on any obscure scientific principle. This story was short listed for the Ellery Queen’s story contest and was included in The Queen’s Awards: Sixth Series in 1951.
It contains one of the cleverest ideas to be considered for a perfect crime. More like a perfect murderer. ‘The Great Travers Case’ starts with the finding of tortured animals on the Travers estate, followed by the cruel death of farm animals. Though many have a suspicion as to who is behind them, the police find no possible proof. When it finally looks like the killer has turned to humans, Barnabas is called in to investigate. And it doesn’t take him long to find the serial killer but he and the law is faced with a most curious situation – all the proof is available for his prosecution, the Judge will surely sentence him to death but immediately thereafter, the same Judge will have to release him and let him go scot free because of a loophole in the law! A loophole which no legislator had envisaged and a loophole which allows the perpetrator to walk out of the felon’s dock and continue to kill the fellowmen and women – to murder at will and whim!