The Marionettes (Henry)

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The Marionettes
Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A doctor, who is also a skilled burglar, is called to attend to a man who is gravely ill. The man reveals the location of stolen money, but it turns out to be a lie.

One night, a man named Charles Spencer James, who was both a doctor and a burglar, was walking down a dark alley carrying a medicine case. A policeman stopped him, but after seeing his professional card and the medicine case, the officer let him go. Little did the policeman know that the medicine case contained tools for burglary and a stash of stolen money.

Later that night, Dr. James was called to attend to a man named Chandler, who was suffering from a heart attack.

Doctor Charles Spencer James — doctor and skilled burglar; calm, well-dressed, and manipulative.
Chandler — gravely ill man; bold, dissipated, and remorseful.

Chandler's wife, Amy, was also in distress, and Dr. James attended to her as well.

Mrs. Chandler — patient's wife; Southern, exhausted, and grief-stricken.

While treating Chandler, the doctor learned about a sum of money that Chandler had hidden in a safe.

The money—the twenty thousand dollars.

Dr. James decided to steal the money, but first, he needed to ensure that Chandler would not survive to reveal his crime.

Dr. James administered a powerful heart stimulant to Chandler, knowing that it would ultimately cause his death. As Chandler lay dying, he revealed to Dr. James that the money in the safe was actually lost to bookmakers, and that there was nothing left for the doctor to steal.

Where—should it be, but in—the safe—there?

Despite this revelation, Dr. James continued with his plan and opened the safe, only to find it empty.

After Chandler's death, Dr. James lied to Amy, telling her that her husband had left her a sum of money in the safe. He even went so far as to place the stolen money from his earlier burglary in the safe for her to find. Amy was touched by her husband's supposed last act of kindness and forgave him for his past transgressions. Dr. James left the scene, his crime undiscovered, and Amy was left to mourn her husband and rebuild her life with the help of her loyal servant, Cindy.