Monday, June 18, 2018

The End of the World, by Susan Breen

"The End of the World," by Susan Breen, in Malice Domestic Presents: Murder Most Geographical, edited by Verena Rose, Rita Owen, and Shawn Reilly Simmons, Wildside Press, 2018.

Cosima Bell lived in the thrall of her father, a pianist who became obsessed with the music of Liszt and dedicated his life to mastering the complex music.  (Cosima was named after the composer's daughter... creepy.)

When the story begins dear old Dad has just been convicted of murdering several young men in the basement.  Cosima insists to the press that she had no idea what he was up to but, well, let's say she isn't out trying to prove him innocent either. 

She has enough money to start a new life which she does by heading to a resort in Tahiti.Very peaceful and beautiful, except the couple a few cottages down keeps arguing about money.  Nothing unusual about that, except that the quarrels are about ten million dollars.  And the quarrels are getting nasty. 

If another crime occurs, will Cosima be trying to explain she didn't know anything about this one too?

A tricky tale that caught me by surprise.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Kyiv Heat, by Alex Shaw

"Kyiv Heat," by Alex Shaw, in Noirville, Fahrenheit Press, 2018.

 Gennady Dudka is a top director of the Ukraine's Security Service.  He is too set in his ways to cope with new technology.  "Dudka's radio, like him, was old and refused to retire."  Just before the Kyiv Day holiday he receives a disturbing package from as it turns out, an old friend who is a retired KGB agent.

Dudka is under pressure to find out who set a bomb that killed a reporter.  His friend's information suggests it was Ukrainian spies working for the Russians.  But can the information be trusted or is someone being set up?  And if so, who is the schemer and who is the potential victim?

A neat little tale of the world in which the back of every cloak is targeted by a dagger.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Where the Strange Ones Go, by Steve Hockensmith

"Where the Strange Ones Go," by Steve Hockensmith, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine, May/June 2018.

This is Hockensmith's second appearance here.

It's 1995 and a young and naive college student gets a job as a receptionist at a video matchmaker service.  (The story is peppered with sad and hilarious ads, like the woman who prefers lizards to other pets, or the man who offers to take you on a tour of Ed Gein's farm, the inspiration for the movie Psycho.)  

She quickly figures out that her main job is providing  a layer of protection between her slime devil boss and his dissatisfied customers.  But things have a way of turning around and the ending is full of clever twists.