Thanksgiving provided time for gathering with friends and family. The feasting and conversation was great, but I really enjoyed having time away from work to simply sit and read.
I read another story from The Killer Wore Cranberry: A Fifth Course of Chaos. Earl Staggs provided a heartwarming tale, Stakeout in a Maple Tree. Sheriff Mollie investigates the theft of fruit, vegetables, and a chicken from the farm of town crank Callie. Mollie isn't all that interested in helping the foul tempered and bitter Callie, but it's her duty. She stakes out the orchard. The case takes an unexpected turn, which results in healing of old wounds. I really enjoyed this story, demonstrating the variety of tone and writing styles in this anthology.
Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine publishes double issues, making for a thick magazine packed with mystery stories. I read four stories one morning. As busy as life has been, I can't describe the joy of leisurely turning the pages of a good magazine.
I read The Chair Thief, by Robert Lopresti, which reminded me of why I was so happy to have a break from the office. Larry and Nate obsess over the loss of a vacant office chair to a rival. The twists and turns the story takes as they maneuver to gain the Gaines Executive Model X7 results in quite a shocking ending. But totally believable to anyone who has been burned by office politics.
The House Across the Street, by Robert S. Levinson, likewise has a startling ending. Sid and Myrna Franklin are only mildly curious about their new neighbors, an attractive young couple. While they insist they are dull homebodies, Phil and Bethany insist on striking up a friendship. The Franklins finally agree to host dinner. It's well worth reading to discover how the dinner goes.
In Ghost Busters, by Carol Cail, Tirzzy comes to the aid of her friend Willa, who has recently moved to a retirement village. Troubling petty thefts and scary noises and lights late at night have ruined what Willa hoped would be paradise. Tirzzy enlists Julian, a guy intimidating in size and appearance, but with a kind heart, to trap the thief.
The cover story is Harlem Nocturn, by L. A. Wilson, Jr. Travis Redman is a man with secrets, and a past he would prefer to leave behind. The problem is, the past has a way of hanging on, and to bury his secrets he would have to end friendships with the people who knew him when, the Carolina refugees. It's post WWII, and African American servicemen still face racism instead of a returning hero's welcome. In this atmosphere, Travis is pressured into solving a mystery. He uncovers more than he expected.
Each of the short stories I read this week made my vacation more enjoyable.
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