Everyday this week…Brett Rounsaville brings us the Weirdest Murders ever committed.
Today we’re talking about Upfield. Arthur Upfield. More specifically we’re talking about one of his better-known pieces of crime fiction and the weirdness that surrounds its history.
While still trying to “make it” as a writer despite two mild successes under his belt Upfield took a job as an itinerant laborer on Australia’s well known Rabbit Proof Fence project while he tried to come up with a new mystery for his fictional detective to solve. It wasn’t unusual for him to discuss the project of the campfire with other itinerant workers and eventually, with some help, he devised (bum bum bahh…) the “perfect murder.”
He figured if you burned the body, sifted out the left over bone bits, dissolved them in acid and threw all the ashes to the wind then there would be no evidence left with which to convict anyone. Great idea for a villain’s MO, right? Except with no evidence he found his plot stuck again with no great way for his detective to solve the case.
Back to the campfire.
Enter Snowy Rowles, yet another itinerant and one with a history of burglary. Without much to add to the conversations he nonetheless listened to the stories.
Soon after, two men disappeared and somehow Snowy ended up with a sweet new ride that looked suspiciously like one of the missing worker’s brand new Ford. It seems Snowy decided to take this whole “perfect murder” thing on a test drive.
Three murders deep, however, he got a little sloppy and didn’t quite do all the necessary “throwing to the wind” that might have been recommended in Upfield’s book.
In an additional case of bad luck, the officer assigned to the case instantly recognized Snowy as John Thomas Smith, an escaped convict. Suddenly the detective had all the time in the world to scrap up little tiny bits evidence that may or may not have been vaguely reminiscent of people while Snowy (er…Smith) flounder in a jail cell waiting to be executed.
No word on whether Upfield was more upset with providing inspiration for murder or with being so poorly emulated.
That’s all for this week gang! Now for my favorite part…time for the Weird Off! Let’s see your ranks when dealing with some of the Weirdest Murders ever committed. We have:
5. The “perfect murder”…on paper.