Friday, January 11, 2013

"The Grave Grass Quivers," by MacKinlay Kantor (1931).

I had the strange notion that Doctor George Martindale, after unloading the sad story of his youth, had taken two days in going deliberately and completely insane.
—MacKinlay Kantor, "The Grave Grass Quivers" (Omnibus 184)
In "The Grave Grass Quivers," a country doctor suspects that his father and brother were murdered years ago, but thinks he can finally prove it with the assistance of a younger colleague. The story resonates today as the doctor conveys the anguish of himself and his family in not knowing what has happened to their loved ones.

Novelist MacKinlay Kantor playing the guitar: Sarasota, Florida
MacKinlay Kantor plays the guitar.
July 1950. Photo: State Library
and Archives of Florida
MacKinlay Kantor (1904–77) is probably best known for his Pulitzer Prize-winning Andersonville (1955) and Glory for Me (1945; the basis for the film The Best Years of Our Lives), but he also wrote pulp stories and the story and screenplay (the latter with Dalton Trumbo) for the film Gun Crazy (1950). "The Grave Grass Quivers" was first published in the Elks Magazine in 1931 (repr. The Third Omnibus of Crime, ed. Dorothy L. Sayers, 1935; EQMM, Mar 1949; and It's About Crime, 1960).

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