Sunday, January 22, 2023

The Grown-Ups Table, by Steve Hockensmith


"The Grown-Ups Table," by Steve Hockensmith, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, January/February 2023.

This is my  first review of a story published in 2023.  That seems like a good opportunity to remind you that authors/editors/publishers are welcome to send me books or magazines for consideration, paper or electronic.  I promise to  read at least the start of every story sent and review the best I read each week.

Speaking of which, we have here the seventh appearance by my friend and fellow SluethSayer Steve Hockensmilth.   If I understand this essay correctly he is writing a novel in stories and this is the third chapter. 

All the stories relate to the closing of the Monkeyberry Toy Store in River City.  This particular tale shows us the Christmas dinner of the family that owned the store, and a classically dysfunctional family it is.

We have Uncle Dan who can't stop spouting the philosophy of his favorite right-wing radio host.  And there is Cryptique who, until we turned goth a few months ago, was named Bobby.  (He's drinking coffee because it is "the only available beverage that is black.")

But the main character is Tia who has just graduated to the Grown-Ups Table.  And she is carefully orchestrating the ditnner conversation to reveal who murdered the family matriarch, Gammy Bibi.   

For me the hardest part of writing a story is the plot - as opposed to premise, characters, dialog, etc  This is especially true in the type of story in which clues are revealed.  I admire how Tia/Hockensmith reveal the pieces of the puzzle until only one suspect is left.  Clever and satisfying.   

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for another shout-out, Rob! It's always an honor to appear here!