Mysterious Photograph

Each issue features a Mysterious Photograph. Readers are invited to submit a 250-word (or less) flash fiction story based on the photo. The person who invents the best mystery story receives a prize of $25, and the story is published in a future issue.

The Story That Won the September/October contest:


© / Kireevi


by John Bright

“They pooped on Agatha Christie! And look at the edge of this copy of Chocolates. They peed on Anthony Berkeley! You’ve got to buy some traps . . . and not those worthless live-catch gizmos . . . some real break-their-necks traps! I’ve heard enough of your squeamish excuses.”

She’s right, of course; I suppose our books are valuable. But they aren’t first editions or anything and you can still read them. “But dear, those traps are so cruel; sometimes it just smashes their little . . .”

“Then try that fly-paper stuff! They walk across; they get stuck; you just throw ’em away.”

Just like her to not think about the poor things super-glued to paper at the bottom of a trash bin. “But sweetie, that sounds so awful. They just get more and more . . .”

“Then buy some rat poison!”

“Poison?” She may have something there. I’ve never considered it before. “Yes, sweetie, yes . . . something that wouldn’t cause suffering, but . . .”

“Just get some cheap stuff at the hardware store; don’t analyze it to death!”

Maybe she’s right, something simple . . . but rat poison wouldn’t do. “What about arsenic? Remember in Strong Poison where . . .”


She probably doesn’t get the Sayers reference. She collects books; I’m the one that reads them. “Perhaps a nice Francis Iles concoction? Not that cruel stuff like in Malice, but that stuff the mystery writer in Before the Fact suggested. She claimed it was painless.” And untraceable.

“Just do something!”

“Yes . . . yes, of course, dear. You’ve given me an idea!”


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