"My Simple Plan," by Ariel Gore, in The Nicotine Chronicles, edited by Lee Child, Akashic Press, 2020.
The publisher sent me a free copy of this book. Much appreciated.
All the stories in this book are about tobacco; not all are about crime. This one definitely qualifies.
Our nameless narrator is stuck in a tiny village in Tuscany. The residents scorn him as a homosexual and, worse, an American. But he has a plan for making big bucks.
The Italian tobacco workers are on strike and our hero has two backpacks full of precious ciggies. He plans to wait a few days for desperation to build up and then sell individual smokes at a boomed-up price.
One tiny problem: someone who arrives in town with black market cigarettes is murdered. And that means: 1. Someone in town is willing to kill for a smoke, and 2. Anyone with cartons of cigarettes is an obvious suspect for the killing. So, that's two problems, really, and neither of them are tiny.
I saw one plot twist coming but another one delighted me. Very clever story.
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