Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Recent reading: Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine (March/April 2022)

I am so far behind in reading. I have three books in progress and the new Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock mags have already arrived, so it was a relief to finally finish something. 
 
"Send in the Clowns" by Paul Charles was probably my favorite. It's a murder mystery in which a minor, blink-and-you'll-miss-it clue gives the investigating detective the ability to unravel a clever but ultimately unsuccessful revenge killing. Dominique Beibau's "Russian For Beginners" is a claustrophobic tale of an avid spelunker lost in a Russian cave; the moment at the end when he finally figures how and why he got lost is absolutely haunting. I also enjoyed Edith Maxwell's "Bye-Bye, JoJo" a brief but entertaining tale about a woman who has no patience with noisy neighbors and their barking dogs.

Some other good ones: Michael Caleb Tasker's bleak "Another Saturday Night" looks at desperate lives in New Orleans. By the end, you do hope that the main character, Sal, a night shift blackjack dealer, does move on, hopefully to bigger and better things. Lou Manfredo's "Sundown" is an interesting whodunit about a pair of detectives seeking the killer of young woman. And I have a soft spot for Tim Baker's "The Rendezvous" because of its clever switch-up of a character's understanding of what it means when someone is about to report to the CIA - in this case, the Culinary Institute of America, not the spy agency. Oops!

In Anna Scotti's "Schrodinger, Cat" a woman confronts her college professor boyfriend after seeing him with another woman and has to deal with his increasingly bizarre explanations for his increasingly odd behavior. How and why she exacts revenge provided a neat twist ending. "Justice" by Cath Staincliffe starts with the line, "She used a claw hammer." Why she used a claw hammer is eventually revealed in a way that thwarts the very justice she was trying to achieve.

From "Bye-Bye, JoJo": If that dog doesn't stop barking, I'm going to kill someone. It's not like I don't know how.

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