The following two stories are from The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot, available in paperback and Kindle editions. Inspector Gerard is a parody of “two-minute mysteries,” those short, pithy little short stories in which the reader tries to solve the crime along with the detective giving minimal information.

I grew weary of these stories and their sometimes ridiculous solutions, such as the story in which a man was arrested for murder because—to paraphrase the solution from memory over twenty years later—“No native of San Francisco would refer to the town as ‘Frisco.’”

Thus, Inspector Gerard was born: an absurdist, postmodern parody of the two-minute mystery and its conventions, as well as a send-up of the hardboiled noir detective.

These two selections—“Dial ‘M’ for Malfeasance,” perhaps the Platonic idea of the Gerard story, and “Sleazebag in the City”—are among the best of the ten stories featured in The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard.


Dial “M” for Malfeasance

Inspector Gerard awoke in a drunken stupor, his vision a haze of grey. Just then, he heard a lone pair of hands clapping, and a figure emerged from the darkness.

“Impressive display, Inspector Gerard, but I’m afraid your efforts were all for naught.”

“Give it up, Cerebro; the cops will be here any minute.”

“I think not, Gerard.” Cerebro laughed wickedly. “Hypothalamoid, Corpus Callosumite, attack!”

Inspector Gerard dodged quickly, but knew he had to beat the two goons fast.

Cerebro cackled, “Ah, Gerard, I’ll let you go if you find the Nubian Urn by the next full moon.”

Inspector Gerard smiled knowingly. “I believe you know the location of the Nubian Urn as well as I do.”

Cerebro looked astonished. “I-I don’t know what you mean, Gerard,” he stammered.

“Oh, I believe you do. You see, the Nubian Urn is already in your possession, Cerebro. In fact, it’s in your briefcase.”

Cerebro crumpled. “How did you know?”

How did he know?


Solution: The location of the Nubian Urn came to Inspector Gerard in a dream. Also, Gerard knew Cerebro would already have the Nubian Urn because Gerard had lost it to Cerebro at an estate sale. Gerard was outbid then, but now Cerebro had tasted the bitter nectar of justice.

Sleazebag in the City

Inspector Gerard stood in the pouring rain of downtown Aurora. He lit up a Cool Extra Tar brand cigarette and leaned against a lamppost with a dim, flickering light.  A moth fluttered amid the drops of wet goodness toward the pseudo-utopia of the ill-lit luminance. A car whizzed recklessly by, hitting a mud puddle and subsequently soaking Inspector Gerard in the resultant spray.

A stiff air of stale death clung to the air that night, like the cloying mass of pungent fertilizer, fermenting like old gym socks and dirty money. Gerard looked expectantly at his watch. The incandescent glow told him it was twelve ‘til midnight. Gerard breathed deeply, sucking in the nicotine-infested smoke of his tar-induced cigarette. He smiled slightly, then began to ruminate.

As he drifted into deep thought, an image appeared in his mind’s eye. A woman, in a red dress and high heels, walked toward a balding fishmonger. The fishmonger’s dome grew redder than the woman’s dress, and the woman broke a heel. Suddenly, the fishmonger fainted.

Just then, Gerard was taken from his odd vision by a sharp, piercing sound. Gerard swirled on one foot, dislocated his ankle, and fell face first in the gutter. His mind went blank as death fell upon him.

So ends the life of Inspector Gerard, Ultimate Flatfoot.


“Wait a minute,” a casual observer proclaimed, “Inspector Gerard can’t die. He’s the Ultimate Flatfoot.”

“He can and has,” stated another, equally casual observer.

“I believe the real question is,” another, even more equally casual observer said, “who killed Inspector Gerard?”

The three all nodded in agreement. At that very moment, Inspector Gerard walked in. The three casual observers gasped.

“The person that killed me off was none other than Tyler Cook!” Gerard proclaimed, smiling knowingly.

The three casual observers stood blankly in utter stupor. “How did you know?” one of them asked.

How did he know?


Solution: For one, Gerard would never smoke or imagine bald fishmongers or women in red dresses. This means only a twisted creator could be responsible for this travesty. Further evidence is that Tyler Cook was getting tired of scratching out whole, exotic stories and plotlines for the adventurous Inspector Gerard. Cook planned to kill off Gerard once and for all so that he could end the tiresome series. Then he realized his friends would bemoan the death of Gerard, so he brought the Ultimate Flatfoot back to life. It’s actually quite elementary. Inspector Gerard lives!


“Dial ‘M’ for Malfeasance” and “Sleazebag in the City” are excerpts from Tyler James Cook’s new short story collection The One-Minute Mysteries of Inspector Gerard: The Ultimate Flatfoot.