"Smoke" (Text Key 4664)

short story

"Smoke," which appears on Faulkner's sending schedule for 1930, was initially published by Harper's Magazine in April 1932. Republished in Doctor Martino and Other Stories in 1934 by Harrison Smith and Robert Haas of New York, and also available in a German printing in English at this period, "Smoke" eventually became the opening episode in Knight’s Gambit (1949). Our representation of the story draws on the Vintage International paperback edition of that book (2011).

A murder mystery, "Smoke" marks the first major appearance in Faulkner's canon of Gavin Stevens, the county attorney with an inquiring mind; Stevens had a minor role in "Hair" (1931), but after this story Faulkner often casts him in the role of private investigator. In "Smoke," he at once solves a homicide, reveals the murderous truth behind a supposed death by misadventure, and prevents a third homicide. While Stevens's grandstanding before the jury, which throws suspicion on each suspect in turn before unmasking the guilty party, recalls the techniques employed by other fictional detectives, such as Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot, his incriminating subterfuge with smoke closes this initial entry in Knight's Gambit with the chivalrous attorney’s first successful gambit.

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Harper's Magazine
First Publisher Date: 
April 1932
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Vintage International
Edit Copy Publisher Location: 
New York
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How to cite this resource:
Joiner, Jennie J., and Mike Wainwright. "Faulkner's 'Smoke.'" Added to the project: 2016.  Additional editing 2021: Stephen Railton. Digital Yoknapatawpha, University of Virginia, http://faulkner.iath.virginia.edu

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