Thomas Burke: The Hands of Mr. Ottermole

May 9, 2009

Today I reread this famous story that I have in the book Murder Most Foul: A Collection of Great Crime Stories (Gallery Books). It is also in another book in my library: Great Short Tales of Mystery and Terror (Reader’s Digest).

As the title of the first anthology suggests, it’s a crime story, though some might want to call it also a detective story. True, in this story a newspaper reporter acts as a detective. But in a detective story¬†the perpetrator of the crime is caught finally and is hauled away to meet his just deserts. That doesn’t happen here.

A series of murders takes place on quiet London streets.  The victims are ordinary people in ordinary occupations. The strangler vanishes from the scene even as the police come upon the scene on hearing a commotion. No one knows what his motives are and how the murders are executed.

I am afraid full text is not available online. It is among search results on Google Books but several pages are hidden.

This story bears resemblance to a famous Agatha Christie novel but I shall not say anything more.