02
Feb
09

accessory before the fact

I confess a partiality for Algernon Blackwood’s short stories and Munsey’s is a firehose of stories and books – if you’re looking for Robert Chambers and Ambrose Bierce or film noir or Victorian drama, you could do much worse.

This is a fast read about the protagonist suffering a premonition of robbery and death at the hands of a pair of ersatz German tramps in the lobby of a traveller’s lodge. This robbery is conducted at speed on a track and is a textbook bandit mugging which for a low-fantasy or early modern game would be a good event.

Though he is nobody special, he tries to interfere with destiny as he realises he sees the assailants out of their disguises and the proposed victim, who rebuffs his offer of help. In an unexpected twist, the protagonist cannot interfere due to his fear of the consequences.

The story moves to the crime having taking place and the impact of his premonition (it traps him into inaction – how does he explain what he knows without revealing his premonition – something that a policeman would never believe or accept). It’s pure Twilight Zone/Outer Limits fodder.

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