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.