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December 31, 2010

Best short story on the BBC

The Smart Detective
 Short story is a very powerful way of narrating a tale. The tale has to be gripping and the effect should not be lost on the readers. Let me narrate a story that was chosen as one of the best short stories ever written and it was narrated on the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation).

This particular story was selected as the best among the many short stories that were sent to BBC as a part of a contest. The short story is titled “the smart detective”.

This story is about a famous and a clever criminal. Let us call him Anderson. Anderson is a master con artiste. He is a charmer and is notorious at swindling people. He is on the run. He is being chased by a detective from the world famous crime detection centre in the world – the Scotland Yard. The detective's name is Richardson.

Richardson is chasing Anderson all over England. But catching Anderson was a very elusive task. He appears to be in the grasp of Richardson but manages to slip out at the last minute. Richardson was getting frustrated. He had to catch Anderson before he could slip out of England.

Finally Richardson traces Anderson to a water front. Anderson was planning to board a ship to go to France. The situation was desperate and called for a drastic action. Bu there was a problem. Richardson did not have a photograph of the criminal. He has to be doubly sure before an arrest could be made. A false arrest could lead to a very embarrassing situation for the Scotland Yard and might result in a libel action.

Anderson was at a stationery shop. Richardson who was in his civics (Civics means being in civilian dress i.e he was not wearing his uniform) had a brain wave. He slides up to Anderson, takes out his Parker pen and requests Anderson to try out the pen. He tells him that the pen  was not working and says “check it out”. Anderson writes something on a paper and immediately Richardson arrests the criminal.

How did Richardson get the confidence that he had his man? The solution is very simple. Most people are narcissistic and would love to write about themselves given the smallest opportunity. Like all of us Anderson when presented with an opportunity signed his own name. And luckily Richardson had the signature of Anderson and he affected an arrest.

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