I finished the November / December 2020 issue while sitting in a hospital waiting room. This seems appropriate – that 2020 seeps over into the new year with no change of pace. Did we really expect the dawn of a new year to instantly shed all that was crazy about the previous year? All went well with my husband’s out-patient surgery, and he’s recovering quickly.
All is well with Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, too. I received the next issue before I finished reading this one, but that was not for lack of interest in the fifteen short stories. With amazing variety of tone and story-telling style, I was entertained from cover to cover.
Spoiler alert – since the new issue of AHMM is already on the shelves, I’m not going to be as careful not to reveal clues or endings.
A Report on the Ladies’ Playground Committee of Prescott, N.H. by Brendan DuBois – Two armed thieves grow impatient waiting for their partner to arrive with their share of a robbery. A group of nice young mothers look like an easy target. What they don’t know about the Ladies’ Playground Committee is that all are military veterans.
A Pageant to Die For by Shauna Washington – A Las Vegas beauty pageant goes off the rails when the emcee is murdered. No one is terribly surprised the offensive letch has finally met his just end. “He had his hands in every trade and whatever else he could grab, including every female in sight.” But the who-dun-it and why proves a surprise to wardrobe designer Stacey Deshay.
A Matter of Values by R. T. Lawton - In an era of nickel payphones, a slightly crooked cop tips off a brothel to a police raid. Slightly, because while he liberally bends the rules, he doesn’t take mob money. Unfortunately, a city councilman is found dead in a brothel bed. Our dark hero set about solving the mystery, out of loyalty to friends, in his own sense of values born of the harsh reality of the streets.
On Loan from the Artist by Robert Mangeot – A meek man working for a sleazy payday loan company is inspired by his boss’ illegal acquisition of a sculpture titled BOLD. Bench begins by offering customers fair rates and leniency with repaying loans. He is concerned with how his insufferable boss stole the sculpture from the artist’s widow, and seeks a way to make it right. The meek man’s foray into a life of bold actions does not end well.
Lee Lofland shares Halloween cases in his non-fiction article Case Files – On the Beat on Halloween.
I'm ready to begin the first issue of AHMM in this new year. I am certain it will prove as entertaining as last year's collections of stories.
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