"The Groucho Marx Murders"
"AUTHOR'S NOTE: Max Allan Collins' 'Public Servant,' written when Collins was eighteen years old and published in HARDBOILED #1, inspired me to go back and re-examine the stuff I was writing when I was that age. A nostalgic couple of hours' searching through my files turned up a lot of junk and a couple of gems.
"'The Groucho Marx Murders' is, I think, one of the gems. Unfortunately, it was bounced by Fred Dannay and Ernie Hutter, and in those days I didn't realize there was anyplace to sell crime stories other than EQMM and AHMM. Worse, I firmly believed that anything Fred and Ernie wouldn't publish must be, by definition, a lousy story. So I not only filed my rejects, I forgot them.
"Rediscovering 'The Groucho Marx Murders' provided some interesting insight into the writer I was at eighteen. The reader, too. I was sucking down lots of Ellery Queen and S.S. Van Dine novels around that time, and it shows, it shows.
"I'd tell this story differently if I wrote it today but, then again, I probably wouldn't write it today at all. The plot's too contrived by my current standards.
"It's a crisp little piece, though, and I'm delighted to see it in print after all these years. Maybe I could have sold it to a slicker publication for more money, somewhere along the line. But I like what Wayne and Todd are doing with HARDBOILED and I think perhaps this particular magazine is the perfect home for this particular story.
"I hope you enjoy it.
"And if you don't he said, with eyebrows arched and cigar awaggle I'll sentence you to 10 years in Leavenworth. Or 11 years in Twelveworth. Or 5 & 10 years in Woolworth...."
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