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The Cautious Safe-cracker

Short Story (1,850 words)

Artemus Wurrick is now a reformed criminal, reformed because of his habitual bad luck. In his last criminal venture he broke into the house of Alderman Stavely and succeeded in opening his safe. He then noticed that the Alderman's dead body lying under the desk, where he had fallen after a heart attack or stroke. Knowing he would be suspected, Artemus ran out of the house with the jewels he had taken and dropped them into an abandoned well near the house, and then tried to establish an alibi by committing another burglary at a tobacconists shop in the town. He was eventually arrested after several mishaps and given an eighteen month sentence, more than expected, since the new magistrate was severer than Alderman Stavely would have been. But will he eventually be able to recover the booty?

First published in John Creasey Mystery Magazine, September 1956.
Reprinted in The Second Bedside Mystery Book, ed. John Creasey, Hodder and Stoughton, 1961

Included in Crime and Detection, ed. John Higgins.