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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2018

Welcome to Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine! Discover original, spine-tingling stories by top-notch authors and new writers from all corners of the mystery genre, plus news, reviews, and more… to make your blood run cold!

EXCERPTS:
Mistress of the Mickey Finn
Elaine Viets

A Bad Day for Algebra Tests
Robert Lopresti

BOOK REVIEWS:
Booked & Printed
Robert C. Hahn

EDITOR'S NOTES:
Meditations on Murder
Linda Landrigan

MYSTERIOUS PHOTOGRAPH:
The Story That Won
In 250 words or less...
 

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SNEAK PEEK

Wrap Up a Mystery
It’s that time of the year, a season observed by many with an exchange of gifts. We hope you’ll consider this issue a neatly wrapped package of criminous cadeaux.

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Awards

Over 60 Years of Awards

157 Nominations from the full breadth of mystery genres

37 Award-winning stories 

Edgar, Agatha, Barry, Arthur Ellis, Robert L. Fish, Macavity, Shamus, Thriller, Anthony

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FROM THE EDITOR
Great stories of any genre are rooted in characters — well-drawn, individual, and credibly motivated…

ABOUT AHMM
Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine is one of the oldest and most influential magazines of short mystery and crime fiction in the world. Launched over 60 years ago, today AHMM maintains a tradition of featuring both promising aspiring writers and talented authors, spanning the full spectrum of sub-genres from dark noir to graphic works.

AUTHORS' CORNER
Meet the Who’s Who of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine authors! View The Lineup of contributors in the current issue, see what motivates our writers, and much more.

CURRENT ISSUE
In our third annual Case File essay, Joseph Goodrich considers the music that puts him in the mood to murder—if only on the page. Meanwhile, a dozen thoughtful short story writers offer their own engaging meditations on a range of nefarious deeds.

An oft told ghost story that no longer scare the kids still may have its uses, as Max Gersh demonstrates in “The Week Before November.” Sharon Hunt’s “The Keepers of All Sins” considers a history of death by water for the men of a wealthy family. A young couple’s canoe trip reveals the horrifying truth of their relationship in our cover story, “Leah,” by Julie Tollefson.

THE CRIME SCENE
"Skeletons in the Closet”… Get the latest news, check out Editor Linda Landrigan's blog, enjoy lively podcasts, test your mystery puzzling mettle, see if you have what it takes to be a mystery writer. It's all here.

More From Dell Magazines!

 

An Inside Look

Mistress_Mickey_Finn_Ron_Chironna
Art by Ron Chironna

Mistress of the Mickey Finn

by Elaine Viets

“She cleaned me out. She took everything—even my towels.” Will Drickens’s nasal whine echoed off the marble floor in his Fort Lauderdale beach house.

The thirty-something hedge-funder pleaded for help with sad, puppy-dog eyes—at least, he tried to look sad. Private eye Helen Hawthorne saw a hound with skin tanned and oiled like a Coach bag. Will wore enough flashy designer labels to stock a mall. Phil Sagemont, Helen’s husband and partner, had trouble hiding his contempt for their new client.

When the trio made their introductions in the empty foyer, Will had slyly checked out Helen’s long legs and curves. She was glad they were safely upholstered in a sleek black Armani pantsuit. Phil, dressed in Florida formal—tan pants, navy polo, and boat shoes—got a dismissive glance from Drickens. Helen saw her husband’s eyes drift to Will’s bald spot. She knew Phil was proud of his thick, silvery hair, which he wore in a ponytail.

The two forty-something private eyes followed their unhappy client into his bare living room, painted a fashionable gray. “Look at this room! Not a thing in it.” Will’s reedy voice bounced off the hurricane windows and marble floors.

Big as a hotel ballroom, the living room had a dazzling view of the white sand beach and azure water.

“We get the point,” Phil said. “You could have just told us.” Helen gave her husband a quick nudge. Coronado Investigations needed the business.

Will’s whine drilled through the soothing sounds of the surf. “But it has more impact if you see it. My entire art gallery is gone! Look!”

They followed him down an interior hallway lined with hooks.

“What kind of art did you have?” Helen asked.

“The best. Six LeRoy Neimans. My favorite was Playboy—that’s a Playboy bunny. I also had Sinatra, Elvis, Four Jockeys, Surfer, and Sailboat. Great investments: Neiman’s dead, so he’s not making any more.”

He opened the door to a chamber big enough to stage a Broadway musical. “She stole my Vividus bed.”

“Your what?” Phil said.

“It’s probably the most expensive bed in the world,” Helen said. “It’s made from things like cashmere, silk, and lamb’s wool.”

“Sixty thousand bucks,” Will said. “Worth every penny.”

“I’d like to see that,” Phil said.

“So would I,” Will said, trying—and failing—to sound wistful. “I’m staying at the Ritz until my new furniture is delivered, and the bed isn’t the same. It’s been eight months now. The police aren’t taking me seriously. They took a report and fingerprinted my house—you can see the print powder everywhere—but I heard them snickering at me.”

“I can imagine,” Phil said.

Helen glared at him, but their clueless client had no idea Phil was subtly mocking him.

“Find any prints?” Helen asked. 

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Bad_Day_For_Algebra_Kelly_Denato
Art by Kelly Denato

A Bad Day For Algebra Tests

by Robert Lopresti

“Petey! Wake up! It snowed.”

Peter Saverlet wanted to turn over and go back to sleep. He had nowhere to go, so who cared about the weather? He wasn’t a schoolkid looking forward to a day off. That was the worst part of being unemployed, you never got a day off. Someday he’d—

He sat up, eyes wide. Maybe someday was today.

He ran into the main room of the mobile home. His brother Paul was looking out the window, skinny frame bouncing with excitement.

“Look at it, Petey! Isn’t it beautiful?”

Peter grinned. “It sure is.” The fresh white stuff had covered all the beer cans and old tires in their yard. It had to be a foot deep. “What time is it?”

“Seven in the a.m. I woke up to take a leak and saw what it was doing, so I woke ya right away. Is this the day, Petey?”

The big brother nodded judiciously. “I think so, Pauly. Get dressed. We’re gonna get rich.”

 

“What the hell is wrong with kids today?” asked Sonny Fonk.

David didn’t answer. He knew what a rhetorical question was, even though Sonny probably didn’t.

“When I was a kid—” Sonny jammed the old truck into gear. It would need a new transmission soon. “We were thrilled when school was closed. Now, all you do is whine, whine, whine. You oughta be out playing in the snow.”

David thought about pointing out that he couldn’t play in the snow because his mother’s boyfriend—“Uncle Sonny,” he was supposed to call him, which was stupid enough to be appropriate—had corralled him to help plow driveways.

That was the sort of work Sonny liked. Occasional, haphazard, and, since he didn’t have a business license, slightly illegal.

“I was supposed to have an algebra test today,” David said.

“Typical! You’re all brokenhearted ’cause of that? What kind of kid wants to take a test? And in math yet!” Sonny shook his crew cut in
disgust.

“I studied for hours last night. Now I’ll have to do it all over again.”

“You don’t have to do it at all. What the hell did algebra ever do for anybody? I didn’t take it and look at me.” He strained again to get the protesting stick shift into gear. “Damned snow.”

“We could move faster,” David said, “if you would plow the road in front of us.”

“Nobody’s paying me to do that. I’m not gonna wear out my plow on a public road. That’s what I pay my taxes for.”

As far as David knew, Sonny never paid any such thing, except for the unavoidable sales tax, but saying so would not improve things. He also didn’t mention that the reason he wanted to do well in math was to get into a good college, as far away from Sonny and his love-blind mother as possible.

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