Showing posts with label Darkhouse. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Darkhouse. Show all posts

Monday, June 20, 2016

Blank Shot, by Craig Faustus Buck.

"Blank Shot," by Craig Faustus Buck, in Black Coffee, edited by Andrew MacRae, Dark House Books, 2016.

This is the second appearance on this page by Craig Faustus Buck.

Amnesia appears in fiction more often than it does in real life.  But then again, so do dying message clues, femme fatales, genius detectives and a lot of other tools of the trade.  The trick is what use you make of the item.

Buck has taken us to 1960, East Berlin at the height of the Cold War.  Our protagonist has been shot in the head, a grazing blow that vaporized his memory - or most of it.  Now the cops want to know what happened, and the deadly secret police, the Stasi, are lurking on the sidelines, up to God knows what.

Our hero speaks German and English.  Which is he?  He has the name Slade tattooed on his arm.  Is that his name?  Will he figure out who he is before the shooter realizes he is alive and makes another try?

A fine piece of work.



Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Hotel Hate, by Michael Chandos

"Hotel Hate," by Michael Chandos, in Black Coffee, edited by Andrew MacRae, Darkhouse Books.

This story is set in the world of prohibition in one of the fancy backwoods hotels where gangsters could relax until the heat cooled down.  Our narrator is the owner of Hotel Hatteras in Michigan, called Hotel Hate by her rotten husband who deserted her years ago.  Now he's back and trouble follows...

A nice tale with plenty of period touches.

Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Theory of Murder, by Dennis Palumbo

"A Theory of Murder," by Dennis Palumbo, in And All Our Yesterdays, edited by Andrew MacRae, Darkhouse Books, 2015.


Mea culpa: It took me so long to get around to reading this book that I forgot how I received it.  I should say it was a gift from the publisher.

Wish I'd thought of that.

It's Bern, Switzerland, 1904.  Hector, a clerk in the patent office, is suspected of a series of grisly murders.  Luckily a friend of his, also a patent clerk, is looking into the crimes.  And Albert Einstein is a pretty bright guy...

You may know that 1905 was the "Annus Mirabilis" in which Einstein published four papers that turned Physics on its head.  In this story we see him pondering on some of these points, providing some of the most amusing moments.

For example, he shows up at Hector's house in the middle of the night:

"My God, Albert, do you know the time?"

"More intimately than most, I promise you." 

A very clever story.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

The Beethoven House, by Albert Tucher

"The Beethoven House," by Albert Tucher, in And All Our Yesterdays, edited by Andrew MacRae, Darkhouse Books, 2015.  

Mea culpa: It took me so long to get around to reading this book that I forgot how I received it.  I should say it was a gift from the publisher.

Last year I noted in this space how cold war spy stories tend to center on Berlin.  In the highlight, so far, of this collection of historical mysteries,  Mr. Tucher moves southeast to another hotbed of espionage: the capital of neutral Austria.

It is 1955, three years after Vienna ceased to be a divided city.  Benjamin is a CIA agent and a local cop calls to inform him that one of his contacts has been found murdered.  Apparently Wolfi Stendl had acquired two tickets to the hottest show in town - the grand reopening of the Opera, after many years of reconstruction after the war.  Why did someone want those seats enough to kill for them?

There are wheels within wheels here, betrayals of betrayals, which as Benjamin notes, is the Viennese way.  An entertaining story of the bad old days.