Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine – July/Aug 2024

Sister publication to the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, AHMM also has a reputation for bringing fine short mystery and crime stories to its avid readers. This particular issue is full of notable ones and leads off with one of my own. Here are my favorites.

This issue includes the winner of the 17th Annual Black Orchid Novella Award, and this year’s winner is Libby Cudmore’s story, “Alibi on Ice.” Girl-of-all-work Valerie holds down the desk at a low-budget private detective’s office. While running an errand, Valerie discovers a semi-conscious young woman, half-buried in snow. Valerie digs her out and calls the authorities, who whisk her away in an ambulance. Her boss Martin is out sick, and when Valerie tells him about her discovery, she also relays her conviction that the woman was purposefully left there. Abandoned. Thus her first investigation begins, and, between her own doggedness, some clever analysis, and encouragement from Martin’s sick-bed, Valerie solves a challenging case. He’s proud of her. You will be too. Nice one!

In “Time Lies” by Ken Linn, a seven-year-old girl, found asleep in a phone booth, says she’s a time-traveler from 1963. Who and why? It’s up to a part-time investigator and high school math teacher to help the sheriff discover the answers.

“Delivering the Egg MacGuffin” by Joslyn Chase is a masterful exercise in misdirection, appropriate to the plot device Alfred Hitchcock himself made famous. I laughed out loud!

“Home Game” by Craig Faustus Buck is another story moving along smoothly in one direction that takes a sudden tum and ends up somewhere else altogether. Very clever.

I really loved John M. Floyd’s romantic “Moonshine and Roses” about—well, about a lot of things. Lost fortunes, lost loves, and how they may be found again, along with justice for some notorious bad guys in the wilds of Kentucky.

“Among the Long Shadows” by Vicki Weisfeld (me!) is my fourth published story featuring young Sweetwater, Texas, reporter Brianna Yamato, fighting the good fight against crime in her community and the prejudices of the good ol’ boys. The story takes place at Avenger Field outside Sweetwater, the place where, during World War II, women pilots were trained to take on aircraft support missions, freeing up the men for combat. It’s now home to the Woman Airforce Service Pilots (WASP) World War II Museum. When I’m writing a story, I like to include an element that gives me the excuse to do some research, which always stimulates new ideas for plot and character—in this case, a murdered woman flying instructor and former stunt-pilot with the Aero-Belles. Read an excerpt here.