I laughed out loud while reading this story in Mystery Weekly Magazine. I'm fond of Ian Flemings' James Bond, so the title The Spy Who Read Too Much caught my attention. Raymond Michaels delivers an entertaining tale based on a spy fanboy gone wrong.
The dialogue was killer, with hilarious back-and-forth between a PI and a dim client.
Nervous laughter. "Oh, she's just a housewife like me. Y'know, running the family."
"And she knows that Pendleton works for the CIA?"
A pause. "Well, she's a good friend. I can trust her. She wouldn't tell anyone."
Why should she? It seems the entire neighborhood already knows that Pendleton is a spy.
Something about the woman's missing CIA agent husband doesn't add up, especially when the PI's lawyer taps into his connections and comes up empty. There are many funny moments, such as during the attempt to track down Pendleton, when the PI's secretary can't quite fake a French accent.
Humor is not easy to pull off. If you like your mystery with a chuckle, try this story by Raymond Michaels.
You can find this story on the back issues tab of the Mystery Weekly website. Subscriptions for Kindle available here.
It might seem odd to write about a home improvement project on what is supposed to be primarily a writing blog. This has consumed so much of my mental and physical energy the past two weeks, I really can't think of anything else. Besides, Mystery Thriller Week begins soon, and I'll be posting daily on nothing but writing topics. So here goes.
The carpet was iffy when we moved into this house over a decade ago. Time did not improve the situation. At long last, we began the project to replace carpet with wood floors.
My husband hired Hardwood Cafe in Colorado Springs. The project involved a long hallway, the dining room, upstairs living room, stairs, and refinishing the kitchen and landing.
We were able to have the existing wood floor in the kitchen sanded and refinished, and the rest of the floor woven in to match. This limited options on flooring materials, as we needed to match the variety of wood already in the house. Unbelievably, the entire floor looks like it was installed the same day. I can't see any difference between the kitchen and the rest of the upstairs.
I love how the existing wood floor is now lighter and more natural looking. We like the irregular look of the oak, with knots and color variations.
One more coat of protective sealant, and we're done. We'll be moving our furniture back in by this weekend. As I said a few posts ago, change is uncomfortable. Soon, all the inconvenience of not having the use of half our house for days will fade. I anticipate my allergies and asthma settling down in a few weeks, after all the dust is cleaned up.
The project has eaten into my writing time, but not as badly as I expected. I had to keep up with the day job, of course. I've been using whatever time and energy I have left to work on my many ambitious 2017 writing projects, leaving little for the mundane household chores that still require attention. I'll catch up on that stuff - later.
Below are a few before and after photos.
Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine
A sailboat graces the cover of the October 2016 Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine. When I started reading Variable Winds, I was happy to realize the boat involved is an old wooden sailboat. I attended an antique boat show at the Dillon, Colorado, reservoir one summer. I had an idea what these boats looked like. I don’t know anything about sailing, yet taking a trip with Annie Beckwith on her wooden International 210 was quite interesting. Better still, the detailed descriptions played into the mystery.
Annie is taking one last sail before putting the boat up for the season. A few skillfully dropped clues hint that something may be amiss. The descriptions of the boat, the ocean, and the incoming squall are lush.
“It was the end of the sailing season for most, though some sailed into October. A gorgeous day like this could be misleading, Annie knew. The waves rolling along the surface with their glittering shards of light and shifting colors could turn in an instant into a roiling, killing mass. She checked the wind direction and looked around her. To her surprise she was alone."
Just because she is alone doesn’t mean Annie is safe, from the changeable sea or from someone who wishes her harm. Oleksiw builds tension with her lone character in a boat. Did I briefly think of The Old Man and the Sea? Yes, I did, although this is a very different story. It takes skill to create a tale with one character in an isolated setting.
Judging from my review last week of a short story with a character locked in a car trunk, I must find these situations appealing. Something to think about….
You may be thinking I have dangled a treat in front of you to which you will have no access, being a magazine issue from several months ago. However, you can purchase individual copies of AHMM back issues in several places, including Magzter.
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