sabato 15 novembre 2014

Anthony Berkeley: Murder in the Basement ,1932

Another masterpiece signed Anthony Berkeley.

The novel goes back to the period of greatest international success and the height of his literary activity: of the same year is Before the Fact (The suspect) that had a well-known film adaptation by Alfred Hitchcock's nine years later; the year before, Berkeley had published another of his great success, Aforethought Malice (1931). And in 1933 will publish another novel fundamental: Jumping Jenny. The plot is gruesome.
Two newlywed return from their honeymoon and take up residence in a rented house. While she unravels the bags, he goes to inspect the basement where he would keep his wines. But a particular catches his attention: in a corner,  the brick floor is sunken, as if someone had dug to hide something. He thinks about a treasure, but instead finds a corpse of at least six months old, so decomposed beyond recognition and that by chance you can not understand that it was a female and had a scar in one of her thighs. The body is naked, but on hands, it is a pair of gloves. Why?
The Inspector Moresby Scotland Yard navigates in the dark: Who was the woman? And how did she end in the basement? Why did she have the gloves? The previous tenant was an old above all suspicion, and the date of death would seem to coincide in the period of August, when the old woman was on vacation and the house was empty: who could have the keys? Her relatives? The two only,  are two her nephews but they have solid alibis so as to be immediately ousted from the investigation. So what? At the painstaking police investigation does not miss a thing. Yet Moresby is unable to give a name to the body! The gloves are commonplace, and house by house investigations do not lead to results because no one in the houses nearby, saw nothing. It would be enough to know whose is that body and he - he's sure -  would be on horse, because the murderess would not escape.
But ... you do not find anything. As long as there is an his intuition: the scar. On the basis of the autopsy is established that the victim had been operated to the femur and was applied a metal plate welded to the bone after a fracture: the fortune that smiles is given by the fact that the plate is made of a material now abandoned, used only as an experiment in a few cases and certificates. In short, discarding all those who were not to have disappeared and whose relatives would have immediately reported their missing, you get to identify the victim in a Mary Waterhouse who had managed to get a job in a private school at Allingford, Roland House, in the staff administration.

Moresby remembers that the writer and amateur detective said Roger Sherringham, who helped him  in many cases, has been at the school long before; and so he informs him to ask if he remembers something about the environment. In fact, contrarily to what were the initial beliefs of the Inspector, once known the identity of the victim has not arrived to the identification of the murderer. And not even leaving the other opposite, that by the place of grave, he come to some result, because there is no way of figuring out how the body has arrived there, and especially those who might have the key of the house because has not been reported in the past, any attempt to break in to the house.
willingly accepts to help the Inspector, even he gives him a report that was drawn up long before picking his impressions about the people working in the school and that should serve as a canvas for a novel ever written. Basing on this Roger manages to figure out who might have been the killed woman without knowing it from the Inspector. However, to the next request by Moresby to be infiltrated by the police, he refuses, as the people he described welcomed him as a friend and he refuses to spy them now.
In practice he observes the actions of the inspector, acting when he considers appropriate it, because thet come to the identification of the case.
Also Roger does not figure out how Mary ended underground, in the cellar, until a disclosure of the police reveals that the bone plate was purchased from a prison, where the chick had been locked up a few years earlier, with a different name, as thief pickpocket: had slipped at the time of the capture of the police, and had broken his leg. Next, repented, after a course of shorthand-typing and some other works, and with a false surname she had been able to get a job at the school. So it is possible that Mary had not completely abandoned her occupation of the past, or that dated back to the time when she was a pickpocket, a theft at house of the old mistress of the house in Lewisham, # 4 in Burnt Oak, and also this is confirmed. So she had the key. But why did she end there?
Theinvestigations of the police in Roland House show a very diverse picture: to direct the school, nominally is the principal Harrison, but truely it’s the daughter, Amy, who directs, drawing more than a dislike. Amy is related to Mr. Wargrave, a Professor of Chemistry: the two, despite not loving, they know that only together they can achieve their purposes; then there is Elsa Crimp, another teacher romantically linked to the curate; Mr. Duff, Mr. Parker, Mr. Rice also their teachers: this is the lover of Mrs. Phyllis Harrison, the wife of the principal, who does not seem to notice anything, losing only in the way the school; finally, there is the housekeeper, Jevons.
Finally, the interviews reveal a particularly revealing: Mr. Wargrave was seen coming out from the room of Miss Mary Whitehouse, when the former was in school. Later it was known that the young lady was pregnant and that she would go away being to get married to an Australian: proof of this, was a ring with diamonds and emeralds that she sported on her finger.
The Inspector is convinced that he has found her murderer, and by this time the whole investigation is initiated in order to demonstrate that Wargrave killed Whitehouse, and to find the weapon. But the evidences are not there and the clues are so uncertain that not  even when Wargrave gets caught with a .45 revolver, his pistol during the First World War, whose the caliber corresponds to the bullet that killed the woman , you can connect him to her, because the gun is dirty and lacks the shell indicted. In conclusion ..
Then enters Sherringham and at a pyrotechnical finale he manages… to exonerate Wargrave, identifying the real murderer. However, he doesn’t deliver him to the police, because his purpose is not the purpose from Moresby, and even he invents a plausible story for the use of the Inspector, giving him a solution and in the same time saving from hanging Wargrave who took on himself the crime of another, and saving the real murderer who killed because he had blackmailed.
Another novel with a penetrating psychological insight, Murder in the Basement, is only apparently a procedural: in fact the procedural serves only to provide a basis for the survey, from which the Inspector and Detective diverge at a certain point in the identification of the guilty. The survey by Sherringham is very similar to that by Poirot: he uses the deduction, to which is added an in-depth analysis of human nature. And as Agatha Christie, Berkeley is also an innovator: in fact this novel in the history of detective whodunnit, reserves more of a surprise[i].
What I once again emphasize is the magnitude of Berkeley, not only one of the great masters of the British psychological police novel but also one of the most successful writers in the mechanism of multiple solutions: to frame the development in a sense, directing the reader's concentration on a given subject and then, at the appropriate time, rejecting it, and providing a solution entirely plausible, even more than it had envisaged until then. In this sense, here is the peculiarity of this novel: if for all its conduct seems a thriller as the victim is well known and well the murderer and and so the survey is only paid to see to realize the clues and turn them into overwhelming evidence , only to the end with the real solution, which runs in part from that envisaged until that moment, Sherringham can once again beat Moresby, and with a soaring, distorts the performance of the novel, directing it in the wake of Whodunnit classic.
In most, the style is crackling, never verbose and never tedious. And once again, the accuracy of Berkeley remembering true facts of blood and place them in the context of the novel affirms (The  Rainshill Case: the Deeming spouses), to make it more close to the British reader of those times. In addition, Berkeley, within the context of the narrative, put the humorous, which serve to better characterize the protagonists: as when Sherringham proposes to inspector who vowed to go away and to can not waste any more time, to be his guest at dinner: the only mention of tripe, a culinary specialty no british, and very Latin, instead convinces him to give up his commitments.

Pietro De Palma

[i] Read the next article: Anthony Berkeley Vs Patricia McGerr

giovedì 13 novembre 2014

Pat (ricia) McGerr : Pick Your Victim (1946)

The history of the  Criticism of Crime Fiction ascribes to Patricia McGerr a flash of genius that she would first applied in her novel: before she thought , the genre most commonly used was the "Whodunnit", that is, the discovery of the culprit: given a certain riot of suspicion and given a murder, you must find the murderer. In other words, the Cluedo in printed paper.
The first variation of this procedure,  was the so-called "inverted story": already known the murderer, the novel concerned about how it had come to suspect him, in short, a reconstruction of the events that had led to the capture of the guilty. And then of course there was a second variation: known the victim and known someone who wanted to kill, the plot was focused on the fact that the plan to kill was going to succeed or not, and of course the culprit was caught or escaped capture. No one had thought about a third variation. Usually they say Pat McGerr was the first to have innovated the genre : the survey, which is normally focused on the identification of the culprit, would have been by her moved on its opposite, ie on the victim.
Patricia ("Pat") McGerr (1917-1985) was one of the US crime writer. He won an Ellery Queen Magazine / MWA for a her short-story and the Grand Prix de Litérature policière in 1952 for Follow, As The Night. She was born in Nebraska where he graduated, and then took a master's degree in journalism from Columbia University.
Her fame is mainly due to her early success, Pick Your Victim (1946), which tells the story of a group of US Marines stationed on the Aleutian Islands during World War II, which, to pass the time and overcome boredom, reads everything that comes within range. Soon, newspapers, books, having made the rounds of all the soldiers, they deteriorate. And then, to have something else to read, take advantage of every situation even more original to pass the time.
The situation changes for the better, when one of them, Pete, receives, from his family, a package of food: the mother, so that the jars are not broke, has wrapped them in newspaper, and on these cuttings are pinning the 'soldiers' attention, especially on one of them which tells about the murder by an acquaintance of the owner of the parcel of food, the other person: Paul Stetson, the murderer, is the undisputed master of STUDS, an association founded by aims to put an alleviation with advice and guidance to the duties of those women who live particularly unfavorable working conditions, a kind of protectorate, as a union, to take care of them and protect them, protect even their working environment, the activity home, in which all women, according to the purpose of the foundator, deputies are: cooks, waiters, valet, women less defenses of all, because their menial tasks in the home. Now, the article tells their condemnation of Paul, guilty of having killed one of the leaders of his society; only that the victim's name is unknown, because where there was supposed to be his name, there is a tear, missing a piece of paper. Despite the soldiers put together the pieces, to want to make the page, in fact the hole is still there. The soldiers then bet among themselves, each pointing a certain amount, and the narrator telling the story of his work in STUDS, omitting nothing and then giving a certain amount of evidence that must be conveniently by his comrades, will win the soldier who, basing on the story, he will be able to make the name of the murderer, since the narrator can not participate in the bet and likewise will be the only one to have first response, given that he asked a colleague, Sheila, by letter.
The trick of the novel McGerr is clear: the soldiers to pass the time, bet, as they would bet about anything, the mail is to be able to put the name of the missing as a result of that hole.
The narrator, Pete, knows all the ten executives (Chairman Hunter Willoughby, Vice-Presidents: Frank Johnson (Head of the Legal Office), Chester Whipple (Head of Publicity), Anna Coleman (in charge of 'education), Carl Doherty (in charge of the Register of Members), Ray Saunders (President’s Office), Loretta Knox (in charge of the West Coast), Harold L. Sullivan (responsible for research), Secretary: Bertha Harding, Treasurer: George Biggers. it will provide a profile of each of them, based on their work experience and his direct knowledge of the possible victims. So essentially, there will be "a bet in the dark" as he wanted to do another comrade, leaving the decision to chance name of the winner, but it will be a sort of "Let's play the killer," a Clue reversed, whereas normally it starts from the victim and through a series of clues, trying to put a face to blame. Here, however, is the opposite: the culprit is unknown, but we do not know who among the ten leaders, was the victim. And that it should be inferred only on the basis of the story told by the narrator, working at Press department by that company.
The story that Pete does to his fellow soldiers, he begins with his inclusion in the organization of the Company Scuds, by Chet Whipple, the first of the ten leaders who he has known, because it is through him that he was hired. As he outlines the data indicative of the personality, his presumption, the adulation of the head and contempt for his colleagues, together with a good deal of gossip on the work of them that he, "upright man", turns to his wife and then pull back when accused.
So Pete already indicates a possible victim because there is someone who may have had grievances, to slander uttered by Chet and his wife not only against Mary Dalton, the companion of Biggers, but also to other people.
And so each chapter. So, a few pages later we learn that in society there were two women among the ten leaders.

George Biggers, talks to Pete and portrays the women of the company Anne Coleman and Bertha Harding, one against the other (you will see that it is the second against the first). Actually Bertha "is tough as nails, direct action, incisive in speech. "She wears suits, shoes, hair arranged in poses very strict and so manifest to others. In short Anne Coleman becomes the lover of Paul Stetson, the head of the company, which is at odds with his wife. One day the narrator and her friend Sheila become suspicious because Coleman that would have to be present at an event for her own statement and instead she didn’t go, they went to his house, and they find her dying, because she tried to suicide with barbiturates, and everything after a venomous letter she received, in which with signature by Stetson's wife, Claire, has returned  the key of apartment used by the lover (Paul Stetson), because the two, Claire and Paul, have decided to make peace. Truely, as turns out Sheila, the two didn’t make peace.
Someone who hates Coleman must have written the letter. Miss Harding is the one that would have benefited from the disappearance of Coleman But Harding is not alone. She’s linked to Ray Saunders, another of the vice-presidents. He could have given her the key that was in the President’s car, used by Saunders at the end of the week." So, all against all, a nest of vipers.
And so we have other potential victims.

Paul Stetson could kill:
his wife to live with his lover; the lover, to return to live with his wife; Harding, for attempting to commit suicide Coleman; Saunders for conspiring against him and his mistress. He could kill Chet Whipple for the smear campaign mounted by him in relation to other (perhaps even the Coleman).
The resentment against the Harding becomes tangible few pages later, when during a game of poker, the Harding talks too much and accused her head a mistake in playing colossal, humiliating him in front of everyone, more or less with these words: "..or you have not seen your cards right or the warmth of the room gave you in the head "
And yet other things.
In conclusion..each chapter offers fresh perspectives to identify new potential victims by Stetson. Among the comrades by Pete, is Joe that  understands everything and indicates the victim at the end of a certain reasoning, whose correctness is confirmed when, a few days later, comes to Pete the letter from Sheila,  containing a newspaper clipping, a twin of the deteriorated newspaper came to the military, where it is mentioned the name of the victim of strangulation.
This novel, however, was not the only attempt by Patricia McGerr to change the features of the classic Whodunnit. In fact, she repeated in another novel, Follow As in the Night (1950), published just a year before with another title, Save the Witness, the same basic idea used in Pick Your Victim: Larry Rock decides to kill one of the four women he loved. But which among his wife, ex-wife, his current companion or his lover? In 1947, however, he published his other novel that gave fame him, The Seven Deadly Sisters (1947) in which the reader is up to identify not only the victim but also the killer: the US Sally Bowen, has moved to England and there a letter informs her that her aunt was killed from her husband. Who is ? The letter did not mention the name by assassin or the victim. It 's a problem, because Sally has seven aunts all married.
We know that President Truman liked Patricia McGerr. At least liked some of her books, of strong religious inspiration: Martha, Martha (Martha, the sister of Lazarus, the friend of Jesus) or The Missing Years. The McGerr was a fervent Catholic, traditionalist, and in her novels are gathered some hints on the traditional role of women in society, for example in the American family. In fact, at least these two books were found in the study of Harry S. Trouman, at his home.
At this point, it is clear that Patricia McGerr, although not very popular and considered almost exclusively by industry insiders, has been an innovator in the Whodunnit, ascribing to her the invention of the displacement of the investigation not about the guilty, knowing the victim, but about the victim, the offender known, based on a summary of relevant facts. At least so speak a lot of sources.
Gadetection,  the web site more specialized about the Crime Fiction speaks about  Pick Your Victim by McGerr,  in this manner: “A stunning tour de force, from a then-debutant author. Reversing whodunit’s priorities in a revolutionary fashion, Mc Gerr reveals the guilty party from the start and turns on an unusual, compelling problem. Who has died? The answer is as surprising as expected, and wholly fair-play. As usual with McGerr, however, the book doesn’t limit to a well-exploited gimmick. We have in bonus some delightful characterization and a lively office-life evocation. Barzun and Taylor raved about this book. They were right.”
And Xaver Lechard says: “Pat McGerr’s “Pick Your Victim” is a comparatively little-known entry into the annals of crime fiction, but which is nevertheless held in high esteem among a small group of knowledgeable and well read Connoisseurs of Crime – praising the story for it’s unique take on the classic detective format, that’s both original and successful.”
In short, the experts recognize her an undoubted merit. But ... is it really so? 
I mean: really, for the first time, did she overthrow the terms of comparison  of Whodunnit?

                                                                                                                    End first part

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domenica 9 novembre 2014

George Meirs: Le Cadavre assassin, 1912

George Meirs is an author now forgotten.
The lodging of his novels is that of the so-called realistic mystery, but the French connotations set it apart from other novels of the period (early '900): first, it features adventure, to bring it closer to many other novelists of the period (Leblanc, Sauvestre, Leroux ); then there is a tendency to present a hero who is the protagonist of all the adventures (or nearly so); and finally there is sensationalism typical of the novels of the period, which is cloaked in mystery, in haunted castles, supernatural crimes, cursed jewels. For more Meirs has a significant portion of the sub-genre of the Locked Rooms and Impossible Crimes: is one of its greatest exponents, before Chesterton.
But who was George Meirs?
It was one of the many pseudonyms (AM, Asmodé Dayle, Héma, Adrien Méria, Jean Mires, William Thook, Weal) by Adrien Jean Remy Machaux. He was born May 21, 1878 in France. After studying at the School of Fine Arts in Paris, he became a draftsman. This characterization is in common with other French-speaking novelists, most notably Stanislas-André Steeman, who before exploring the genre literature, were designers.

Under the pseudonym of Adrien Meria, he worked for Le Rire, La Fin de Siècle, Frou-Frou and L'Assiette au Beurre. But above all, he founded a satirical magazine, which became very famous: The Gifle.
In 1911 George Meirs began, for the publisher Albert Mericant, the series of adventures of the famous English detective William Tharps.
The first books, with covers signed by him, were written in collaboration with J.M. Darros, aka Edmond Fricot: L’Enigme du train 13,1912La Carte sanglante,1912;  Le Cadavre assassin, 1912.
"William Tharps, the famous British policeman" (as titled his adventures, the most important series of detective novels in Italy, before the advent of the Mondadori publishing house, that is, "Detective Novels" Sonzogno), is a clone of Sherlock Holmes . Logical, esthete (as the hero by Shiel), Tharps is a graduate in Medicine (coincidentally like Professor Bell, a model for Holmes, which professes to be a former student). He also has his Watson, the lawyer Pastor Lynham; and as Holmes, he has an implacable enemy, Ludovic Marmont. If the mystery and sensationalist characterization are a common feature, even espionage is explored thoroughly in the adventures of Tharps. After 22 novels, Meirs abandoned William Tharps Meirs for a younger hero, Walter Clark, that was involved in a few of them.
During the war, George Meirs wrote the Novelization of Les Vampires, directed by Louis Feuillade, which told the struggle between the journalist Guerande and a mysterious gang of criminals whose leaders were called Le Grand Vampire, Venenos, Irma Vep, satanas.
His last work, a novel scandal over parliamentary life, Monsieur le depute et sa Maitresse, dates back to 1924. Until his death in 1962 in Reims, very sick, he did not write anything.

The first novel, co-written with JM Darros was Le Cadavre assassin (=The cadaver murderer, 1912). It 's the debut of Tharps that so pimp, is presented as the most direct and accredited heir of Sherlock Holmes, as a former student of Professor Bell that had provided the model for Conan Doyle for his famous detective. In fact, in the first pages Tharps who is depressed by the death of her former professor of medicine, states that "only a nice murder" could bring him up. The profession on the beauty of the crafted crimes, is a bit the leitmotif, which we will find expressed in Pierre Boileau, who will inherit a lot from Meirs, but derives his "profession of faith" directly from the aesthetics of crime, discussed in " Murder considered as one of the fine arts " by Thomas De Quincey.
And a nice murder happens to him, when his Watson, the lawyer Pastor Lynham, sees the title of a newspaper, which tells about a mysterious murder at Netley, a small town near Southampton: the late Duke of Willingham, waiting to be buried, who had watched over by a priest and an altar boy in a church closed and barred from the inside, he would have killed the priest, stabbing him. The oddity is the fact that the church had been barred with chains and padlocks from the sacristan, the person of the utmost confidence, which had remained in the sacristy, while in church watching over the deceased priest and an altar boy. The sacristan, questioned further by the Tharps, will reveal some shocking details that had anticipated the crime: the fall of a candle at the foot of the dead, the shroud that had stood before the eyes of terrified onlookers, and a current that had invaded the church. And, after the crime, the fact that was cut the ring finger of right hand by the priest, to steal a ring. This particular, however, would coincide with the release of the sexton of the church, which has charge of the portal shut behind him and to call for the intervention of some people passing by the church, which burst into the church armed, determined to find the murderess. But there is none in the church. At this point, the one that makes its way, is the supernatural assumption. From which it dissociates Tharps, who begins to investigate.
First of all, equipped with a large lens, aided by his assistant, who raises the dead man's head cold, he looks at the coffin beneath the body, revealing fragments of short hair blacks. And then the fingerprint of mud on the shroud. To keep in mind is that the presence of these signs is inexplicable: no rain for several days and there is not mud in the streets; and yet there is mud. From where he was taken?
From the initial investigation of Tharps does not show anything that would contradict the only three hypotheses about the death of the priest:
He was assassinated by a body that was animated at the moment, falling asleep again later in the sleep of death; or was murdered by the sacristan, such Southam, which would threaten the altar boy, not to speak, or else ...; or was murdered by another person, but they would have to find the strength to penetrate there, through the walls or the door, and not being able to completely access the bell tower. So what? The Inspector Gregger suspects the sacristan, because according to the logic can not be more responsible; also the popular rumor speaks about the fact  that the sacristan's wife was the mistress of the priest. Motive of murder it is the jealousy? Or / and the greed (because part of the goods would have gone to the woman, dying the priest)?
Tharps is doubtful. Both he and Linham hosted by a friend of Tharps, the banker Elijah Callon, they find out that he himself had become intimate acquaintance of the old duke Horace Jesson; and how the old duke, feeling close to death, he ordered that at the study of his notary, in addition to being read other bequests, was handed an envelope to his friend that it should be read only after he died: the old Duke confessed to have done something reprehensible. In addition, we learn that in the  ducal residence was in a room in which opened a secret panel by the hilt of a dagger old, used like a key.

The dagger can not be used for this purpose because through it the priest was murdered and then this knife is in the hands of the police, and then Tharps by the soft wax, produces a mold from which he forges a kind of key that allows him to open a secret compartment, in which, however, he does not find anything about was said from the old Duke.
The magazine must have been opened before them by others. Even by those who long ago, during the night, had terrorized the old man to the point to make him mad and then cause him from death. At that time nothing was stolen except for the value of the trinkets, so to accredit that the robbery was ruled out.
Gregger is ready to stop the sexton, while Tharps does everything to save him not believing him guilty. Tharps suspect a particular person, when he learns: the priest before his death had called “The Virgin Mary” and that "He had killed him," and especially when he learns that the church before it became the place of citizen worship, had been the old chapel of the ancestral castle that the duke had decided to destroy.
An attempt to get away Tharps and his subsequent assassination attempt, make it clear to the amateur detective who someone fears him so much that he groped to shoot: was found the shell of the bullet, a caliber 6, shot from a Webley pistol. It’s also that which directs the investigation of the police officer in one direction, supported by other findings and discoveries, After stopping the culprit, Tharps will explain the whole case and also the incredible dynamics of the murder.
Beautiful novel of the past, it blends skillfully even if naively, feuelliton, betrayed loves, disowned children, an heir who returns, a priest who dies inexplicably, a large inheritance, secret passages, two castles among which one destroyed, an old chapel of the destroyed castle, a pavilion of the guards where you see strange lights, ghostly apparitions, etc ..
All mixed up atmosphere and tension that makes reading the novel with passion, even though the style is that of a book written in 1912.
Direct seems to me the affiliation of this novel from Le Mystère de la chambre jaune by Gaston Leroux, who apparently impressed with his solution  many of the French writers who found him. Too many the leitmotifs of this novel: disguises and double identity; the issue of the curse - here, the contract thanks to a cursed dagger - which affects members of a family (a theme that will be picked up by Carr and Derek Smith for example); the theme of the return of the heir (present in most of the best novelists Anglo-Saxon); secret passages and hidden rooms (a characteristic example at Leblanc); the issue of the assassination taken almost as a work of art (it will return in Boileau), not by a common criminal but by a sublime murderer; the fact that the cadaver can in turn kill or his ghost appear (Boileau alone, and then with Narcejac, Leo Duvic, but also Hake Talbot); the disappearance of a finger (Steeman).

The solution of the Locked Room, despite takes place through a secret passage (escamotage  that complaints the age of the novel, and which in the following years will be completely abandoned, but that is still present in Connington and then in a novel by Herbert Brean, one of the friends by Carr), however it’s spectacular, because it confirms the astonishing fact that the murderer got up from the coffin and just wanted to kill the priest, even to steal the solid gold ring from the finger of the right hand by the priest, although the duke was already long dead.
All this is topped by considerations that make us rediscover the old-fashioned goodness of the investigation, acute observations that must immediately bring to mind Holmes, whose Tharps is credited to be the follower, which makes this novel very enjoyable.

Besides the murderer sets up an ingenious plan (you do not appreciate it at first glance, but it is in fact) to steal the murder weapon. It anticipates here, almost before a century, that trick at the base of "Fracture", thriller of 2007 with Anthony Hopkins: to wipe out the murder weapon. In the film, the weapon is changed between the cop's pistol and the killer's pistol, here the weapon, an antique dagger,  is only used  to kill, but the purpose is the same: to ensure that it is taken over by the police. In this way, the murderer, in the novel by Meirs, subtracts the only key to access not only to the magazine, but also to the secret passage in the church, making sure that it is taken over by Scotland Yard, and then subtracted to investigation on the spot. Really ingenious!
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