Showing posts sorted by relevance for query mallory. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query mallory. Sort by date Show all posts

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Aramis and the Worm, by Michael Mallory

"Aramis and the Worm," by Michael Mallory, in ALfed Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, September/October 2017.

My friend Michael Mallory is making his fourth appearance in this space, his second time this year.  Being an actor he often writes about show biz and this is the case today.

Adrian Keel used to star in a lot of Grade-B movies filmed in exotic locations.  Key phrase is "used to."  He is ninety years old, lives in an apartment in London, and has all kinds of medical problems.  He wears adult diapers.

But he is called back to duty once more.  Not because of his acting talents, but because of his other job.  You see, he worked for MI-6, taking parts in terrible movies so he could go to trouble spots and report back.  Now his old boss has set him up in a movie that is filming in Cuba, so he can spot the Russian spy

"The Cold War is coming back, Adrian, and worse than ever."
"You believe Putin to be that dangerous?"
"Vladimir Putin is dead."
Adrian set down his wineglass.  "I've heard nothing of that."
:Nor has anyone else on the outside.  That bald, glowering, bare-chested man you see on the television is not Vladimir Putin., it is a brilliant double."

And then things get complicated.  A wild ride.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Montclair Dead-Star Comedy Revue, by Michael Mallory

"The Montclair Dead-Star Comedy Revue," by Michael Mallory, in The Mystery Weekly Magazine, May, 2017.

First of all, congratulations to The Mystery Weekly Magazine.  I understand that a story they published will be in the 2017 edition of Otto Penzler's Best American Mystery Stories, and another made the Distinguished Story list in the back.  That ain't no small stuff.

This is a good issue and the best story I have read so far is this historical show biz tale by my friend Mike Mallory, making his third appearance in this space.

Buddy Barker is short, fat, and funny.  He was born to be a second banana comedian in vaudeville, but it's the 1950s and vaudeville is dead.  Lucky for him he has found a job in live TV.  Unlucky for him somone commits a murder in the theater.  The producer decides that Buddy, who is liked by everybody involved, is the right guy to look into the matter for him.

But playing detective is not one of Buddy's specialties.  He's trying to stay out of the way of the cops and - much worse - an investigator for the House UnAmerican Activities Committee.

The story has some clever twists and the murderer's, shall we say, career path, is unique.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The Premature Murder, by Michael Mallory

"The Premature Murder," by Michael Mallory, in Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, Issue 7.

I have indicated before I am a sucker for stories that try to rethink some elements of our genre's history.  My old friend Michael Mallory does a fine job in this story.

The time is 1852, the place is Baltimore, and the narrator (anonymous, unless I missed his name somewhere along the line) is a new recruit for a private detective agency, trying to prove he is good for more than filing papers and fetching growlers of beer.

In a bar one night he meets a potential client, a down-on-his-luck actor who wants him to investigate the mysterious death of the actor's estranged son, one Edgar Allan Poe...

The story is full of detail and atmospheric language (our hero doesn't carry a pocket watch, he carries a repeater.  The gun in the story is a Philadelphia Deringer, spelled correctly for once.)  A treat, all in all.

This is my first encounter with Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, and I am enjoying it, but I resent paying for the twenty pages that repeat a Holmes story by Arthur Conan Doyle.  Don't most of us already have a copy of those books?

Sunday, May 22, 2011

The Real Celebrities

"The Real Celebrities," by Michael Mallory. Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. July/August 2011.



Okay, now i'm in trouble. Last week I lamented that for a second time in a row the best story I read was by a friend of mine. Now we make it three. In my own defense I don't think I have had any contact with Michael Mallory since we used to appear regularly in Margo Power's Murderous Intent Mystery Magazine back in the nineties.

Back then I seem to recall Michael writing mostly Sherlock Holmes pastiches and nonfiction about Hollywood. Now he has done a mash-up of sorts: fiction about Hollywood. How's this for an opening?

Since Marilyn Monroe hardly ever gave me the time of day, her sidling up to me meant that she wanted something. As a rule, Marilyn remained within her own little world, acting as though the rest of us didn't exist...

Okay, he's got my attention. Is this a historic tale about the real Marilyn? A fantasy story? Perhaps an insane asylum?

None of the above. The characters are impersonators who pose for tips outside Grauman's Chinese Theatre. The narrator dresses as Wolverine and is known as Hugh Jackman.

There are billions of little worlds floating around us and I love the stories that open the doors and let us take a peek inside one. Listen to "Jackman" explaining the service he and his friends provide: "For tourists, those of us on the boulevard are the real celebrities, the ones you can speak to and pose for pictures with. Those other ones, the figures you see on movie and television screens, they're nothing but illusions."

When one of them is murdered our hero feels obliged to try to figure out what happened. The plot won't have anyone puzzled, but you'll enjoy it, and the writing is just the sort of bitter sarcasm you expect from a tale of glitter-land's underclass.

"I'm an asshole' [he] said, by way of greeting.
"You're in the right town for it."