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About the author:
Not wanting to waste his time going to college, Piper was a self-taught writer, "without subjecting myself to the ridiculous misery of four years in the uncomfortable confines of a raccoon coat."
His first short story was published in 1947, when he was 40 years old. He was primarily a gun collecting writer of short stories and science fiction: his only mystery (the Murder in the Gunroom, published in 1953) highlighted his knowledge of guns - but perhaps it would have been better for him if he never had those deadly weapons: after first shutting off the utilities in his Pennsylvania apartment in November of 1964 and putting painters' drop-cloths over the walls and floor, Mr. Piper used a handgun from his collection and shot himself. His suicide note was very short: "I don't like to leave messes when I go away, but if I could have cleaned up any of this mess, I wouldn't be going away. H. Beam Piper'"
Unfortunately, his demise was Shakespearian, in that he was depressed about a perceived failure of his career - which was not true, because his agent had died before having a chance to inform Piper of a successful sale of his writings.
One of Piper's science fiction novels, Lone Star Planet, features a legal system that considers the killing of a practicing politician to be justifiable homicide. This philosophy of his is based loosely on The Malevolent Jobholder, an essay by H.L. Mencken, in which he writes: ..."But now imagine any citizen free to approach him in open court and pull his nose. Or even, in aggravated cases, to cut off his ears, throw him out of the window, or knock him in the head with an axe. How vastly more attentive he would be to his duties! How diligently he would apply himself to the study of the law! How careful he would be about the rights of litigants before him! How polite and suave he would become! For judges, like all the rest of us, are vain fellows: they do not enjoy having their noses pulled..."
Murder In The Gunroom
A Magic Lamp Classic Mystery
H. Beam Piper
The Lane Fleming collection of early pistols and revolvers was one of the best in the country. When Fleming was found dead on the floor of his locked gunroom, a confederate-made Colt-type percussion .36 revolver in his hand, the coroner's verdict was "death by accident," But Gladys Fleming had her doubts... enough
to engage Colonel Jefferson Davis Rand - a pistol collector himself, to catalogue, appraise, and negotiate the sale of her late husband's collection.
There were a number of people who had wanted the collection, but had anyone wanted it badly enough to kill Fleming? And if so, how had he done it?
Here is a mystery, told against the fascinating background of old guns and gun-collecting that will keep your nerves on a hair trigger even if you don't know the difference between a cased pair of Paterson .34's and a Texas .40 with a ramming-lever.
- Publication Date:
- 1882629531 / 9781882629534
- Page Count:
- Binding Type:
- US Trade Paper
- Trim Size:
- 6" x 9"
- Black and White
- Related Categories:
- Art / Digital