The first story I read was Off-Off-Off Broadway by Dara Carr. Tessa is an animal photographer, shooting pet portraits in her garage studio. Her attempt to coax a pose out of an aging English bulldog is interrupted by the dog owner's wife Amber, a has-been actress. Tessa becomes entangled in what she suspects is a plot by Amber to hire a hit man to kill her philandering husband. The ending is one of those "how is she going to get out of this" situations, which was set up nicely by the author.
The story Mourning Man by Michael Bracken is a touching tale wrapped up in a dangerous game. Cab driver Johnny Devlin is pressured into driving for a robbery when he can't pay a loan shark back for the money he borrowed to pay for his wife's funeral. You can read about the author's inspiration for this story here.
Robert Lopresti's entry in this issue of AHMM is Nobody Gets Killed. I am impressed by how this author handles both humor and serious subjects with equal skill. This story is one of the serious variety. You can read about the author's inspiration and the writing process here. This story proves that AHMM publishes variety. This is not a standard mystery story. Instead, during a routine traffic stop, tension builds to the conclusion of a piece that reads more like literary fiction. Nicely done.
Next, R. T. Lawton wrote another in his Paris Underworld series set in medieval France, The Left Hand of Leonard, starring an inept orphan boy pickpocket. This time, he is pressed into service to help steal religious relics from a cathedral. You can read the historical background for this story here. Having read one of the million biographies of Joan of Arc within recent memory, I found this story particularly fun. In typical Lawton style, there is skillfully delivered action, tension, and humor.
Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine is available in both hardcopy and by electronic subscription. Maybe one day I'll nab a subscription for my Kindle, but for now I'll stick to hardcopy. Maybe I like a little of that Pony Express speed in my life.