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Old 08-02-2017, 11:17 PM   #1
GrannyGrump
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Cobb, Irvin S.: Windfalls (collected shorts). v1. 03 Aug 2017

WINDFALLS
A gathering of short stories BY IRVIN S. COBB (1876–1944)

The contents of this book first appeared 1911–1930 in various magazines. Text is in the public domain in countries where copyright is “Life + 70” or less.
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Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb was an American author, humorist, editor, and columnist from Paducah, Kentucky who relocated to New York in 1904 for the remainder of his life, writing for the New York “World”, “The Saturday Evening Post”, “Cosmopolitan”, and other newspapers and magazines. Cobb wrote more than 300 short stories and 60 books (most of these being collections of his stories and articles). Some of his works were adapted for film.

Cobb was one of America’s most popular humorists during the first third of the 20th century, but his writing was not limited to comedy only. His descriptive writing was masterful, and his stories were often dramatic, poignant, tragic – even terror-ridden.

*******
This is my own compilation. The stories in this collection were found in magazine archives at Hathi Trust.

EXCERPT (from “Old Ben Alibi”)
Spoiler:
If Ben Ali Crisp, of The Daily Star, better known among enemies as Old Ben Alibi, had not been about the smartest city editor on the hemisphere he would have made a great detective. Probably it isn’t going too far to say he might have made the great detective of his generation; one whose name would live on afterwards, bracketed with the names of McPartland and Pinkerton, Byrnes and Burns, and whose work, by lovers of the comparative, would have been likened to the fictional achievements of Sherlock Holmes and Hawkshaw and Nick Carter.

Those in place to know the facts conceded to him an indubitable genius in this direction. Police Commissioner Dudley did, for one. District Attorney Salmon did, for another. And neither Salmon nor Dudley liked a hair in Crisp’s head. However, this prejudice of theirs in no wise distinguished them as persons holding to a unique view. Of those who did not like a hair in that grizzled head there was, as you might say, one for every hair. To go about Park Row publicly disliking Crisp merely was expressing a common sentiment.

Still, at that, and even so, the estimation in which the members of his own staff and the members of other staffs held him had nothing to do with the special gift which had been given Ben Ali. Call it intuition, call it a flair for deduction and elimination, call it a sublimated news sense, call it an apt instinct for reaching a conclusion by processes of addition and subtraction. Call it whatsoever you please. Whatever it was, he had it and there was no denying he had it. He’d proved it more times than several.
For instance, mark that time away back yonder when Crisp had been star man on the old Intelligencer. The Intelligencer has been a memory and a shelf-load of mildewed files these twenty-odd years, but the recollection of Crisp’s work on the Starbuck kidnaping abides as a green spot in the minds of many unofficial historians.

At one o’clock one morning he limped into the Intelligencer shop with a bundle on his arm and a crumple of scribbled sheets of scratch pad in his hand. He was streaked with coal soot and smeary with brick dust and one wrist dripped blood where broken glass had nicked it. Tradition records how he traveled the length of the city room till he came to the far end where old Walrus Clarkson sat on the night desk getting ready to put the late mail edition to bed. He halted and Clarkson looked up at him from under his green eye-shade, and there befell a little pause while all others present stared at the pair of them. Crisp loved the dramatic and the spectacular; all good newspaper men do. He prolonged the stage wait, noticeably. Then:

“Boss,” he said, “here’s the story of the missing Starbuck baby.”

And laid down his scrambled wad of copy in front of Clarkson.

“And here’s the Starbuck baby.”

And put the bundle down on the desk alongside the copy.
______________
OCR errors were corrected; punctuation, diacritics, and italics formatted. Story titles are cross-linked to table of contents. Initial publication is cited at the end of each story.
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Last edited by GrannyGrump; 08-03-2017 at 06:43 AM. Reason: add excerpt
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