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Thursday, June 12, 2008

Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine July/August 2008

I received this special double issue of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine a few days ago, and have been luxuriating in dipping into it since, sampling one story at a time and making the magazine last. Cover story is Tom Wasp and the Tower of London by Amy Myers, an amusing yarn involving a couple of incorrigible chimney sweeps, which gives a whole new view (from the chimney-tops!) of Victorian London -- and a good feel of the time and setting it does provide, too. "Plus . . ." says the jacket blurb, "Brendan DuBois, Joan Druett, Martin Limon, And the winning Black Orchid Novella."

Yes! Another Wiki Coffin story! Murder in the Hold. For those not in the know, the short stories featuring our young half-Maori, half-Yankee detective are set on a small and elderly Nantucket whaleship in the year 1831. In this episode, Wiki finds a clubbed body in the blubber hold, and is immediately accused of the crime -- "I hear that Maori warriors kill with clubs in New Zealand," says the first mate darkly. 'Nuff said ...

For those who are wondering about the Black Orchid Award: When AHMM and the Wolfe pack (see their website in the side bar) launched the competition, the idea was to celebrate the heritage of Erle Stanley Garner's Nero Wolfe, the epitome of the twentieth century detective. They say that John Gregory Betancourt's story stood out. Well, to be frank, this story reminded me more of Erle Stanley Garner's other great creation, Perry Mason -- plus perhaps the quadriplegic detective (whose name I can't remember) described by Jeffrey Deaver -- because the detective is grappling with the crippling after-effects of being run down by a New York cab. (Oh boy, have we all nearly been there.) As such, it is marvellous. A highly recommended read.

More to come ....

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

You mean Erle Stanley Gardner, not Garner. But Nero Wolfe is Rex Stout's creation.

Daniel Armstrong