The Flaw in the Frame by Homer Eon Flint

The Flaw in the Frame by Homer Eon Flint
Publisher: Musa Publishing
Genre: Suspense/Mystery, Historical
Length: Short Story (15 pages)
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Reviewed by Astilbe

No way out of the locked room?

Jefferson has been given an option, if it can be called that. Either he provides a ruthless detective with the password to an illegal speakeasy or he’s framed for murder. The detective, who doesn’t believe Jefferson’s insistence that he doesn’t know the password, has thought of everything. Jefferson is trapped. The minutes tick away.

How do you outwit a criminal whose profession has taught him every trick in the book?

Jefferson has only has a few minutes left before Detective Barnes’ foolproof scheme is put into motion. Every detail of this subterfuge has been meticulously pre-planned, and none of the captive’s negotiation attempts are working. I felt sympathetic disorientation and vulnerability for Jefferson as I read, and I couldn’t imagine how he could ever escape the detective’s clutches.

It’s rare for me to be caught off-guard completely, but I definitely didn’t see the ending to this story coming. I did briefly wonder if a certain aspect of the plot would have reasonably been overlooked or misunderstood by real law enforcement officers during this time in history. Even without the sophisticated testing devices of this century I could think of at least one way in which the detective’s claims might have fallen apart under closer scrutiny.

The twist was so creative and perfectly suited for everything I knew about Detective Barnes and Jefferson, though, that my questions turned out to be a momentary blip in an otherwise great tale. As sad as I was to see it end, fifteen pages was the perfect length of text to tease out what was actually happening with these characters without skimping on details or making the clues too easy to decipher.

The Flaw in the Frame kept me guessing until the very end. This is a terrific choice for readers in the mood for something out of the ordinary who are well-acquainted with the most common conventions of the mystery genre.

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