Showing posts with label faherty. Show all posts
Showing posts with label faherty. Show all posts

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The Hawaii Murder Case, by Terence Faherty

"The Hawaii Murder Case," by Terence Faherty, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, January/February 2017.

This is  the seventh appearance here by fellow SleuthSayer, Terence Faherty.  He remains the World Champeen in my blog.

Let's talk about pastiches.  Again.  It seems like there is something in the air, or the zeitgeist that is pulling htem at a high rate and high quality.

Last week it was Jonathan Turner's mash-up of characters created by Steve Hockensmith and Arthur Conan Doyle. Faherty himself has written clever send-ups of Doyle's work.  And Evan Lewis dazzled us with a reboot of Dashiell Hammett's Continental Op stories.

But today's story more closely resembles another series of Mr. Lewis: those about state legislator David Crockett who is the unfortunate bearer of the consciousness of his ancestor Davy Crockett.

Mr. Faherty introduces us to Kelly and David, a married couple who visit Hawaii.  David has some annoying habits, wanting to tell his wife everything he knows, especially about whatever book he is reading.  (Why no, I am nothing like that myself. Just ask my wife.  Or better yet, don't.)

But David is reading one of S.S. Van Dine's novels about that most irritating of Golden Age amateur sleuth's, Philo Vance.  (Ogden Nash wrote that he needed a kick in the pance.)  And when David suffers a concussion he becomes convinced that he is the great and annoying detective.  Bad for his wife, but good for justice since a mysterious death has just occurred...

Very funny and clever.




Sunday, February 14, 2016

The Blue Carbuncle, by Terence Faherty

"The Blue Carbuncle," by Terence Faherty, in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, February 2016.

This is the sixth appearance in this space by my former fellow-SleuthSayer, Terence Faherty.  That puts him ahead of all the other writers in the universe.  No doubt he is thrilled.

And this is the third winner in this bizarre series.  You see, Faherty claims to have found Dr John Watson's notebooks, containing the original drafts of the Sherlock Holmes stories, explaining what really  happened.  And they are pretty hilarious.

You may remember that in Doyle's version someone has stolen the precious jewel of the title from the Countess of Morcar.  A plumber is arrested but then Peters, a hotel commissionaire, gets involved in a street fight and ends up with a goose which, turns out to contain the precious bauble.  Now let's look at a passage from Faherty's tale:

    "Until now," Holmes added as he tossed the paper aside.  "The question before us is how the stone got out of the jewelry case and into the goose."
     "Excuse me for saying so," Peters interrupted, "but who gives a tinker's tintype?  We don't need to explain how it got in the goose to collect the reward."
    "What was I thinking?" Holmes said.  "Right you are.  Case closed.  Drinks all around."

Which might have been an amusing place to end the story, but Faherty has other, uh, geese to roast.  In fact he is about to skewer one of the great mystery tales of all time, and it is not by Doyle.  I will stop right here except to say the whole piece is very funny and clever. 

Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Man With The Twisted Lip, by Terence Faherty

"The Man With The Twisted Lip," by Terence Faherty, in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, February 2015.

Last week I noted that Kristine Kathryn Rusch and Brendan Dubois were tied for first place with five appearances in my best-of-the-week list.  By coincidence, a third writer enters that august rank today.

My former co-blogger Terence Faherty has come up with a great gimmick.  He claims to have discovered Dr. John Watson's notebooks, containing the rough drafts of Sherlock Holmes adventures, before they were "cleaned up for publication."  This is the fourth such publication and I consider it a significant improvement of the oroginal, which was not one of Doyle's masterpieces.

Both versions begin with a woman calling at the home of Watson and his wife, desperate because her husband has disappeared.  In Doyle's version the man is a drug addict and has vanished into an opium den.  In Faherty's tale the same man is a serial philanderer and is apparently staying in a hotel of bad repute.  In both tales Watson finds Holmes there in disguise but what he is seeking is different - although the solution has some amusing similarities. 

I won't go into detail.  Watson correctly notes that the story has the elements of a French farce and Holmes says he is just trying to prevent it from turning into a Greek tragedy.

"My husband returns!" Rita exclaimed.
"Not a moment too soon," Holmes said.
"You don't understand.  He's insanely jealous.  And violent.  If he finds me in here--"
Holmes sprang up.  "Watson, I bow to your experience.  Under the bed?"

Heresy of the best kind.  And it provides an answer to one of the eternal questions debated by players of the Game.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

The Mayan Rite, by Terence Faherty

"The Mayan Rite," by Terence Faherty, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, June 2013. 


"When I first heard 'Mayan rite,' I thought it might involve a human sacrifice.  Maybe even the removal of a beating heart."
Anya's smile died.  "Every wedding requires a human sacrifice," she said.  "And often the removal of a beating heart."

Well, I don't know about you, but that exchange certainly got my attention.  It happens deep in the middle of this story, which is largely a character study.  My co-blogger Faherty has a great talent for characterization through dialog.  See Anya above, for instance.

The protagonist, Robert, is a middle-aged guy, down in Mexico for a family wedding.  We don't learn a lot about him (not coincidentally he's the one who talks the least, a very reserved sort of guy).  His brother, on the other hand, is more outgoing: "Before we're done, Mexico's gonna be sending out for more tequila!"

But Robert is the one who notices what appears to be an unhappily married couple.  And he notices some bad stuff...  There is clever deduction in here too.  A lovely piece of work.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Margo and the Silver Cane, by Terence Faherty

"Margo and the Silver Cane," by Terence Faherty, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, January/February  2013.

Last week I saw All Through The Night, a weird movie with an amazing cast (Bogart, Lorre, Phil Silvers, Jackie Gleason, etc.) that starts out as a pretty good comedy and sort of devolves into the Bowery Boys versus the Nazis.  I bring this up because Faherty's plot hits similar territory: a Nazi plot against New York harbor in the days before Pearl Harbor.  I like his story better than the movie, though.

Margo Banning is an ambitious career woman, working as associate producer on a Sunday radio show.  One of the stars is Philip St,  Pierre, a self-proclaimed "radio detective."  And in this week's show he announces that next week he will be revealing the identity of a top German spy.  What follows is a lot of fun and amusingly written.  Take this conversation regarding one of the other performers on the radio show.

"You are not a radio detective?"
"That question takes us into the realm of philosophy.  Or do I mean psychology?  Are we who we decide to be or who the world tells us to be?  For example, I work with a woman who has forced her will upon the world.  She's become a former Broadway star despite the inconvenience of never having been a current one."
"Mamie Gallagher," Edelweiss said a little wistfully.  "She has a very attractive voice.  I imagine her blonde."
"So does she." 

The ending clearly hints at more adventures to come.  I look forward to them.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

After Cana, by Terence Faherty

"After Cana," by Terence Faherty, in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, September/October, 2012.

"You usually go door-to-door bothering people until one of them knocks you in the head."  That is a friend of Owen Keane, explaining his usual style of amateur detective work.  In this story his approach is more armchair-ish, if that's a word, but very satisfactory.

Keane is a troubled guy with a murky past, explored in previous Faherty tales, and when the current story opens he is accompanying a friend to the wedding of a couple he doesn't know.  The minister's familiar sermon on weddings creating a new community gets him thinking about people in his past, but a few days later the new couple is killed on their honeymoon, and that's what really gets him thinking.

Was it, as it appeared to be, a meaningless mugging death, or is something even more sinister going on?  Keane cleverly traces the roots back to an event that happened fifty years ago, and then forward again to the present day.  The story is well-written with nice characterization of the minor players, which help Keane reach the final deduction.  A nice piece of work.