In the annals of criminal justice occasionally there will appear a case so mystifying, so intriguing, so astonishing that law enforcement and civilians alike find themselves caught up in the drama and action of the never-ending struggle between the forces of law and order and the chaotic nightmare of the underworld.
And then, on the other hand, there's this.
Ripped from actual "Dramatic Crime-True" files - usually we call these things "true crime", but whatever - ripped from those files comes this amazing story of what might have been a perfect crime, if not for the brilliant deductive work of Detective Cornish of Scotland Yard. Not to be confused with Detective Scotland of Cornish Yard, a different official entirely.
"Yes, I'm Sam Furnace, contractor and builder. No, I don't build furnaces. I don't have anything to do with furnaces. Now just sit down there at the MURDER DESK and... what? Did I say "murder desk?" I'm pretty sure I didn't.
Help! Fire in the furnace! No, not the actual furnace where you'd expect fire to be, but Sam Furnace's office - it's on fire! I bet now he wishes he'd built with brick like the fine, inflammable structure next door!
All over 1930s England, blokes were burning to death while seated calmly at their desks due to "flash fires," which I suppose were a thing back when people smoked like chimneys and cleaned their clothes with gasoline. AKA "the good old days."
I'll say this for Scotland Yard, the feelings of the victim's family are foremost in their thoughts. Before they've investigated the potential crime scene, examined the body, or performed even the most rudimentary police work, they're parading a line of unsuspecting relatives past the char-broiled remains of what they believe is Cousin Furnace. Just don't, you know, turn him over or anything.
Luckily Scotland Yard has the height, weight, and dental records of every rent collector in London on file. You can't be too careful!
Getting the drop on those landladies, wearing little hats, pointing and hollering "That's him!" - nothing but excitement for Scotland Yard.
we know he's in there... I'll rap at the door!
WELL I'M INSPECTOR C
AND I'M HERE TO SAY
THAT FROM WHAT I SEE
IT'S CRIME THAT DON'T PAY
IF YOU ON THE LAM
AND YOU THINK YOU CAN RUN
LEMME TELL YOU WHAT
IT AIN'T GONNA BE FUN
BREAK IT DOWN!
At first Furnace thought the place was surrounded by "boobies," and he got all excited.
At one point Scotland Yard training placed a lot of emphasis on officers sitting in boxes and hurling nightsticks at suspects. This particular method didn't catch on.
"Yes, of course I need a heated room! My name IS Furnace, you know! That's right, like the escaped murderer wanted by the police, why do you... OH CRAP"
Scotland Yard once again proves its law enforcement bona fides by failing to search their prisoner, which allows him to commit suicide via cyanide capsule and, mercifully, end this tepid story. You'll never hang Furnace! You might install a few, or repair one or two, but you'll never hang one!0
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