Three Is A Lucky Number by Margery Allingham, 1955
The magic trick:
Promising a deeply disturbed scenario in the very first paragraph
First sentence. First paragraph. You’re hooked.
It’s clear from the start that we’re entering a deeply creepy psyche, and the rest of the story delivers as promised. And that’s quite a trick on Allingham’s part.
At five o’clock on a September afternoon Ronald Torbay was making preparations for his third murder. He was being very careful. He realized that murdering people becomes more dangerous if you do it often.
Subscribe to the Short Story Magic Tricks Monthly Newsletter to get the latest short story news, contests and fun.