The Smuggler of Samarkand by Martin Limon, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine September / October 2017
I have enjoyed previous tales in this series of short stories by Martin Limon featuring Il-yong, a Korean-American private detective plying his trade in China. In this story, a Muslim Chinese mother named Iparhan seeks to reunite with her adult son. Released after 40 years in a Chinese prison, she is dying. Her fervent wish is to see her son one last time.
Iparhan's son is a smuggler on the China-Kyrgystan border. Approaching him will be dangerous. Il-yong meets his guide, a tall woman named Fu Fei-fei, with hair like "a silky black river". They quote Mickey Spillane lines back and forth when they first meet.
A dicey situation turns even worse when Il-yong tries to convince Iparhan's son to visit his mother before she dies. I don't want to give away too much, so you'll have to trust me - the story is thoroughly entertaining.
For something outside the realm of short fiction, I attended a play with my two granddaughters, ages 12 and 16. Baskerville is a comedy take on Arthur Conan Doyle's The Hound of the Baskervilles. Both girls are active in school theater, and jump at any chance to see live theater.
Baskerville opened with slapstick humor and belly laugh inducing wordplay. I wondered whether this frenetic pace could be sustained. With occasional lulls in the hilarity, the play carried through to its climactic ending. The Fine Arts Center in Colorado Springs hosts this production through October 30.
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