Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Portrait of H.S. Keeler

In a mystery novel from the 1940s* by the Chicago paper-blackener Harry Stephen Keeler (1890–1967), the greedy children of an eccentric moneybags receive instructions to light a candle and contemplate, for twenty minutes, a hideous self-portrait in the sitting room. One by one they pay the required visit, but finding the demand preposterous and the painting unsettling, each blows out the candle and leaves long before the requisite span. The sole exception—the one child with enough filial piety to hang out for a bit and attempt to commune with the spattered canvas—is rewarded. For at twenty minutes, the wax of the candle has melted enough to reveal a cylinder, in which reposes the codicil of a will. Our persevering viewer inherits everything....

Read the next exciting paragraph at The Chiseler!

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Blogger Richard P said...

Well said!

1:27 PM  

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