"More Than Suspicion," by Joseph S. Walker, in A Hint of Hitchcock, edited by Cameron Trost, Black Beacon Books, 2022.
First of all: great cover.
This is the sixth story I have reviewed by Walker, and the second this year.
The place is a small town in Colorado. The time is just after Pearl Harbor.
Hannah is the projectionist in the town's movie theatre. She is also the de facto manager since her boss ran off and enlisted.
Supply chain issues leave her running Hitchcock's classic movie Suspicion over and over. You would not expect it to maintain much of an audience, but one newcomer returns to view it almost every night.
Darlene's obsession is based on her dislike of the film's ending, in which the husband turns out to be innocent and the wife merely imaging the danger she is in. "The end is the only part that's a lie. A pretty lie, but still. He kills her. Of course he kills her."
Clearly Darlene has a secret. It turns out Hannah has one as well - beautifully foreshadowed - and it is one she would love to reveal to Darlene, if she could gather the nerve.
You won't be surprised that Darlene's past comes calling and the two women have to work together if they want to survive into the future. A terrific story.