In 1947, Federal taxes were due on March 15, the ides of March, the day of Caesar’s assassination. March 15, by the way, was the deadline date from 1918 to 1955, when it was changed to the current April 15. This story focuses on private investigator Michael Magoon’s need to get his tax return in on time; apparently, extensions were not a known entity at the time.
Originally part of the radio series (aired as “The Income Tax Robbery,” on March 12, 1942), this short story is not strong on plot, but does have some witty dialogue and interesting social commentary. For instance, talking about the haute monde, the authors, sons of immigrants, write:
“The measure of Mrs. Clementa Van Sicken Van Dome’s social standing was
that she was invited to all the most exclusive functions in New York and never
went to any. She herself gave one party each year; her guest-list was more care-
fully scrutinized than the personnel at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and only those were
invited whose forefathers had settled in the New World before 1651 and whose
fortunes had not been tainted by trade for at least six generations.”
This story filled the March niche in the Calendar of Crime collection, made the cousins some extra money while they finished work on what some say was their best novel.