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The Doomsday Pattern

Novella (14,100 words)

Marc Chantois, an honest engineer, inherits a house in Brittany from his ne'er-do-well jewel-thief brother Pierre, and is asked by the Department of Patterns (a branch of the Sûreté) not to sell it but to occupy it for a while. He makes the acquaintance of Pauline Melin and woos her. She comes to stay in the house, but there is a curious burglary. Could Marc's brother be alive after all?

This story was followed by seven more which featured the Department of Patterns. The principal character in the later stories was the patron, Papa Grand, who is not mentioned in this one.

Suspense, January 1961.

Included in the collection The Minerva Club and other stories, US, Crippen and Landru, 2009.