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NOVEMBER/DECEMBER 2021

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:
An Excellent Team
Edith Maxwell

The Trouble with Rebecca
Larry Light

BOOK REVIEWS:
Booked & Printed
Laurel Flores Fantauzzo

EDITOR'S NOTES:
The Long Game
Linda Landrigan

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

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Murder, Mayhem, Whodunit. 
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SNEAK PEEK

I’m not a big fan of surprise endings, and yet I like to be surprised by a story. This isn’t so much of a paradox if you compare a story's plot to an unfamiliar back road. The sights and sounds are novel, the twists and turns . . .

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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
Publishing is a long game. From a story’s conception to its acceptance for publication to the day the magazine hits newsstands and mailboxes can take months, not to mention the collaboration of many people. Fiction, too, is a long game: A good story keeps the reader guessing until the end, but the satisfaction of the payoff may linger in the reader’s mind for years.

At AHMM, we’ve been playing the long game for six and a half decades. December marks the anniversary of our first publication. We’ve striven over that time to keep readers entertained with stories that pack a punch. Along the way, we’ve introduced many new authors and published new material from established favorites.

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.

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An Inside Look

excerpt2_An-Excellent-Team-shutterstock
Art by Shutterstock

An Excellent Team

by Edith Maxwell

It was a Tuesday morning when everything changed for Ruth Skinner.

As she walked past the massive Baker Boyer Bank building on Walla Walla’s busy main street, a young lady cried out near the end of the block. A man in a natty suit and bowler clapped a hand over her mouth. His hand on her arm in an iron grasp, he dragged her around the corner. A black touring car slowed. Its female driver gaped but didn’t stop.

Ruth set her mouth and hurried to the side street, but it was empty. Peering into the alley behind the building, she saw the man shaking the woman by the shoulders of her fitted red suit.

“Don’t you ever show your tawdry self in there again,” he snarled. He slapped her face with such force it whipped her head toward where Ruth stood. The woman’s cardinal-colored cloche nearly flew off. 

As the man closed his hands around her throat and squeezed, her terrified gaze fixed on Ruth. The woman’s eyes widened as her face darkened.

Ruth raised her Winchester .22 rifle. She cocked it and took aim.

“That’s not real nice, sir,” she called out. “You’d better let her go.”

The man loosened his grip and stared at Ruth. “Who the hell are you to tell me what to do?”

A deep voice sounded from over Ruth’s shoulder. “Just do as the little lady says, Baker.”

Ruth didn’t lower the rifle until the man dropped his hands. The accosted woman stumbled away down the alley in the other direction. A stocky man in uniform stepped next to Ruth.

“Sheriff Bertrand LaRue, ma’am.” He touched his hat.

“I’m Miss Ruth Skinner.”

Down the alley, the man he’d called Baker was disappearing into a rear door to the bank.

“It’s a dangerous business to be taking the law into your own hands, you know,” the sheriff said. “This is nineteen twenty, not frontier days.”

“That fella purt’ near killed her.” She gestured with her chin. “Who is he?”

The sheriff pulled a face. “The errant younger brother of one of the bank’s owners.”

“Does he always attack ladies like that?”

“I’m afraid he has a temper on him. He doesn’t hesitate to exert it on those weaker than he.”

“Why don’t you do something about the coward, Sheriff?”

“My hands are tied.”

Ruth stared up at him. “I suggest you untie them.”
 

A young woman in a red suit sat alone in the Cascades Cafe that afternoon, nearly trembling, nursing a cup of coffee. Dorothy Henderson surreptitiously sketched the flyaway blonde curls, the brown eyes about to brim over, the way the upper lip naturally folded over the lower, giving its owner a pensive look. Dot had driven by a young woman being attacked that morning. Was this she? Dot wasn’t sure. READ MORE

 

 

excerpt3_The-Trouble-With-Rebecca-shutterstock
Art by Shutterstock

The Trouble with Rebecca 

by Larry Light

For an introverted tech geek, he was good at tender talk.

“Don’t worry, darling. We’ll sort it out. Listen, I can’t talk now. Love you.” Max Winters hung up his desk phone. The little red light winked out. “Sorry. My wife. Cleaning lady hasn’t shown up.”

“Not a problem,” Sean said, wearing a tiger smile. The company’s CEO was a man who had no problems, and if he did, he squelched them. Pronto. Sean squinted at Max with an inspector’s intensity.

“I’m sorry. I had to see what she wanted.” As Sean’s smile fled, Max realized he should’ve gotten off the call as soon as the man appeared. He’d kept Sean waiting for twenty seconds. When Becca phoned, as she did often when he was at work, Max always found time to talk to her, no matter how busy he was. He never let her go to voicemail—even when his boss hovered outside his cubicle.

Sean looked around Max’s workspace, as if taking inventory. There could be nothing to find fault with. Max kept a very tidy desk. It held only a few neat stacks of papers and a framed picture of Rebecca. The bank of computers blinked to the side.

“Marriage is important, Winters.”

“I’ll second that emotion,” Max said. He hoped a flippant Smokey Robinson reference would set the right tone. Sean liked Smokey, and no one else. Max’s policy was to avoid displeasing Sean.

“I’ve never met your wife. She never comes to any company social activities.”

“Rebecca is a bit of a recluse. She’ll come to the next event. I promise.”

Something moved behind Sean’s eyes. “Did you enjoy the Saint Paddy’s Day party last week?”

“Sure did.”

That was the only answer. Every year Sean rented a ballroom in a local catering hall, and laid on the corned beef, the cabbage, and the green beer. Irish step dancers and bagpipers performed. Attendance was compulsory.

“In fact, Winters, I hear you had a particularly good time.”

Max’s heart slammed in his chest. Now he knew where this was headed. He said nothing.

The atmosphere of Sean’s disapproval thickened in the cubicle. He spoke in a low, deliberate voice.

“Single employees can date, Winters. That’s allowed.” He leaned in. “But married employees can’t fool around. Ever. We can’t tolerate it at this company. Understand?”

“I’m not fooling around,” Max blurted.

Sean replied as though biting each word. “Don’t. Contradict. Me. Ever.”

Max’s breath caught in his chest. The boss didn’t want to hear any arguments, justifications, or excuses.

Sean gave an exasperated sigh, like an old-fashioned locomotive expelling steam. “Scandal is not good for business. Especially our business. Don’t forget it, Winters. Ever. Or you’re gone.” READ MORE

 





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