Monday, September 19, 2022

Cold Case, by Bev Vincent


"Cold Case," by Bev Vincent, in Black Cat Mystery Magazine, Issue 12, 2022.

This is the second story by Vincent to make my best-of list.

I think it might have been my friend Michael Mallory who predicted that an increasing number of mysteries would be set in the pre-cell phone era, because those modern marvels make so many tropes of our field ridiculous.  (It's bad enough for the hero to enter the villain's lair without back-up, but when he can get help just by reaching into his pocket...)

Bev Vincent, on the other hand, demonstrates how you can make use of recent technology (and current events) to build a story.

Roger is a retired chemist living in Texas in the recent record-breaking cold spell.  One frosty morning he finds a dead man sitting on his porch. When the police arrive he refuses to let them into the house, due to COVID fears, which does not endear him to the shivering constabulatory.  So Roger, with plenty of time on his hands, decides to investigate.

Let's try to count the tech involved in this tale: cell phones, Google, Zoom, video doorbells, NextDoor... I may have missed some.  Not bad for a retired guy.

On top of that the story is witty. When a neighbor comes over dressed for the cold weather we get this:

"Is that really you in there?" he asked.

"I can see you," she said. "Undressing me with your eyes."

"That'd be a job," Roger said, hoping she couldn't see him blush.

The story is  a treat.

No comments:

Post a Comment