Murder in the Gunroomby H. Beam Piper
Murder in the Gunroom features a detective whose expertise in antique guns makes him the perfect candidate to crack the case of a collector felled by one of his own weapons. The Lane Fleming collection of early pistols and revolvers was one of the best in the country. When Fleming was found dead on the floor of his locked gunroom, a Confederate-made Colt-type percussion .36 revolver in his hand, the coroner's verdict was "death by accident." But Gladys Fleming had her doubts. Enough at any rate to engage Colonel Jefferson Davis Rand-better known just as Jeff-private detective and a pistol-collector himself, to catalogue, appraise, and negotiate the sale of her late husband's collection. There were a number of people who had wanted the collection. The question was: had anyone wanted it badly enough to kill Fleming? And if so, how had he done it? Here is a mystery, told against the fascinating background of old guns and gun-collecting, which is rapid-fire without being hysterical, exciting without losing its contact with reason, and which introduces a personable and intelligent new private detective. It is a story that will keep your nerves on a hair trigger even if you don't know the difference between a cased pair of Paterson .34's and a Texas .40 with a ramming-lever.
Henry Beam Piper was an American science fiction author. He wrote many short stories and several novels under the name H. Beam Piper, and is best known for his extensive Terro-Human Future History series of stories and a shorter series of Paratime alternate history tales. Piper's work falls into two camps: stark space operas, such as Space Viking, or stories of cultural conflict and misunderstanding, such as Little Fuzzy and the Paratime stories.
Piper's characterization was rooted in the notion of the self-reliant man: an individual able to take care of himself and both willing and able to tackle any situation which might arise. This is perfectly exemplified in a bit of dialogue found in his short story Oomphel in the Sky": "He actually knows what has to be done and how to do it, and he's going right ahead and doing it, without holding a dozen conferences and round-table discussions and giving everybody a fair and equal chance to foul things up for him."
- Pulpville Press
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This was a very exciting mystery story. I love mysteries, and it was a good one.