The short stories in the September/October 2020 issue of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine kept me guessing.
Was it murder or suicide, in Mrs. White Hart by Elliot F. Sweeney. London PI Kasper was recommended, in a manner of speaking, for the investigation by a dead, dotty homeless woman. The PI goes deep undercover, disguising himself as a homeless alcoholic. This is not too much of a stretch for the deeply troubled man. Kasper endangers himself in the pursuit of the facts. This is a moody, bleak, vividly related tale.
Storage, by Dan Crawford, is by contrast light and humorous. The brief, amusing tale is set in a museum storage vault. There is a pleasant twist at the end.
When I began reading Fruiting Bodies, by Jane Pendjiky, mushrooms and a disgruntled wife figured prominently. I knew exactly where this was going. I was wrong. The story is beautifully written. And the unexpected ending was set up perfectly.
The cover story for this issue is Call It Sad, Call It Funny, by Christopher Latragna. When Henry’s lady friend and fellow gambler asks him to help her out of a tricky situation, he travels around Saint Louis in 1955 in a cab, seeking clues to a murder. I particularly enjoyed the cab driver character, Vincent, who becomes essential to unraveling the mystery.
Sharon Jarvis created a likeable female curmudgeon in Who Killed What’s Her Name? The retired lawyer with a bad memory for names is pulled in for questioning concerning a murder. Fortunately, Ms. Korbin stored all her old files. Will that be enough to save her from being accused of killing a former client’s wife?
I’m only a third of the way through this entertaining issue. I look forward to reading more stories guaranteed to take my mind off real world issues.
Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day. You're welcome, matey.
Our world has been on fire. For those of us living in the American West, this is literally true.
I watched a documentary on the history of forest fires I highly recommend. The Big Burn demonstrates the complexity of this issue.
The fires in Colorado have calmed some, while the West Coast rages on. Not until you have stood on a mountaintop and seen the vast expanse of national forest can you comprehend the daunting task "managing" these areas present.
Written August 29: I deleted social media app Facebook from my phone less than 24 hours ago. There was no dramatic change to my life last night because we were so busy getting ready to come up to the ranch. This morning, instead of having my face glued to my phone screen, I noticed the sun rising behind a bank of clouds, reddish from lingering forest fire smoke. Fog from last night's rain filled low lying places between the hills. I am watching a herd of bucks. Mule deer, five of them. One so young his antlers are barely there. They meander across our field. Relaxed. Glancing up at sounds, then returning their attention to grazing. Crows caw. I can hear the whir of their flapping wings. A young bunny hops by, cautious but seemingly comfortable with humans. The hummingbirds want their feeder refreshed, so I will end my morning musings here.
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