miércoles, 1 de junio de 2011

THE GUTTING OF COUFFIGNAL By: Dashiel Hammett

The Continental OP has been hired to guard presents given at a wedding, on a small and exceedingly exclusive island called Couffignal. In order to

live on the isle, an income in the millions is expected. Late at night, as a storm is raging, the lights go out across the island, followed by the sounds of gunfire. The hired detective is asked to go down to see what is causing the scene. Rain is pouring down. He discovers an armed car has come across the bridge, which has been blown u

p to prevent any outside forces impeding the robbers' escape or the rescue of the denizens, and a machine gun is firing on anyone in sight. The rest of the gang members rob the houses, stealing millions. The only way off the island is by boat, but when the Op tries to explore the bay, he is shot at by another machine gun. Throughout it all, an escaped political refugee, Princess Zafrina, accompanies the detective as he elusively chases the robbers in the rain. He tries

to recruit the citizens to help him, but observes "You can't fight mach

ine guns and hand grenades with peaceful villagers and retired capitalists."

Finally, he realizes he has crossed paths with the same people over and over. Upon this discovery, the Op deduces that someone

was using the noisy and sporadic shooting to create the illusion of a large robbery, when instead it was a small job between only a handful of men. Chasing one of his perps, the Op twists his ankle and can hardly walk. He spots a crippled young man, forces him into a chair, gives him $5 as collateral, and takes the crutch out of his hands to aid his ability to walk. Upon ret

urning to the safety of the Princess' home and being tended to, the Op finally understan

ds that Zafrina is the mastermind behind the entire plot and is robbing her neighbors.