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Carla Coupe

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James Holding’s Leroy King

Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1

Excerpt from the review of Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1 from The Digest Enthusiast No. 7:

Together, Martin Leroy and King Danforth make up the fictitious mystery writer “Leroy King,” the creation of real-life writer James Holding (1907–1997). A concept perfect for its original run of ten stories in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. Their third outing, “The Italian Tile Mystery,” reprinted here, originally saw print in EQMM Sept. 1961.

The mystery is a puzzle, and the writing partners and their wives sleuth out its solution in this enjoyable puzzle procedural. The editor’s notes reveal a forthcoming complete collection of Leroy King stories from Crippen & Landru—The Zanzibar Shirt Mystery.

Kaye George’s Flirty Flamingo

Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1

Excerpt from the review of Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1 from The Digest Enthusiast No. 7:

The Flirty Flamingo is a strip club where an ex-cop named Fin often stations himself at the end of the bar. “Usually he let Joe, the barkeep, handle the rough customers and was only there for unofficial backup.” But when new girl Jodie Vive shares her story, Fin finds himself mangled up in high-profile politics and murder. “Flight to the Flirty Flamingo” by Kaye George is smart, tart, and fleet.

Michael Bracken’s Dixie Quickies

Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1

Excerpt from the review of Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1 from The Digest Enthusiast No. 7:

A southwestern no-tell motel with hourly rates is the scene of the crime in “Dixie Quickies” by Michael Bracken. Bodies are bad for business, so when Maria, one of several illegal immigrants who keep the sheets fresh, gives night manager Tiny Campella the news, he takes over the clean-up duties without bothering local authorities. Of course, that’s just foreplay for the action to come. Bracken’s mini-bio proclaims he’s the author of over 1200 short stories, and his impressive pedigree shows throughout this sterling example of his dandy work.

John M. Floyd’s Rooster Creek

Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1

Excerpt from the review of Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1 from The Digest Enthusiast No. 7:

“Rooster Creek” by John M. Floyd is a nicely constructed yarn set somewhere in a rural past. Katie Harrison can’t resist a final look at her childhood farmhouse as she’s passing through. Bad idea. There’s a reason the new owners conduct their maniacal mischief in the middle of nowhere.
In her first encounter with the farmhouse matron, Katie asks:

“I thought you were Mrs. Carter. You’re not?”
“I am. But Mrs. Carter doesn’t care for questions,” the woman said stiffly, “unless she’s the one asking them.”

That dubious exchange should’ve sent Katie packing, but she unwisely digs deeper into Mr. and Mrs. Carter’s weird ways until she reaches the end of her rope.

Dan Andriacco’s Murder at Madame Tussaud’s

Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1

Excerpt from the review of Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1 from The Digest Enthusiast No. 7:

Dan Andriacco’s passion for Holmes and Watson is evident in “Murder at Madame Tussaud’s,” where Professor Carlo Stuarti employs his remarkable powers of observation to sleuth out everything Inspector Catchpool of the Yard overlooks or misinterprets. Stuarti, dubbed the “Count of Conjuring” by his PR man Jack Barker, is a prestidigitator by trade, but Barker does his best to immerse the magician in headline-grabbing crime solving for the halo effect on the Professor’s stage show

Meg Opperman’s Pie to Die For

Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1

Excerpt from the review of Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1 from The Digest Enthusiast No. 7:

Annie is not the happily married newlywed she appears to be in Meg Opperman’s “A Pie to Die For.” Just a few months into her marriage a phone call from Benedict triggers an itch.

“My breath caught. My insides tingled. I could feel the heat stealing its way up my neck toward my cheeks.”

Annie struggles for an excuse to sneak away the night before her mother-in-law is due for Thanks- giving dinner. It’s no surprise she prefers action over approval, but Annie is far from predictable. Op- perman’s stories have appeared in EQMM, Wildside’s Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, Weird Tales, and anthologies. Her story “Twilight Ladies” won the Derringer Award for best short story in 2015.

Josh Pachter’s Eb and Flo

Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1

Excerpt from the review of Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1 from The Digest Enthusiast No. 7:

The sheriff of Lamar County tackles his first murder case since his election in 2012. Down-home but savvy, he nails the perp between visits to his uncle and aunt at the Choctaw Nursing Home in “Eb and Flo” by Josh Pachter. An affecting mash-up spun from elements of Pachter’s real-life past. Pachter is a frequent contributor to EQMM—his own stories and the translation of Dutch and Flemish work for EQMM’s Passport to Crime feature.

Art Taylor’s Fairy Tale

Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1

An excerpt from my review of Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 1 from The Digest Enthusiast No. 7:

Neighborhoods age along with their denizens. As they change, not all their residents adapt, like William, in Art Taylor’s “Fairy Tale.” William don’t like the new flock of school kids hanging around all the time—their attitudes and their—his word—entitled behavior. He don’t like the word old neither. But his kids are grown and long gone, his wife’s passed on, and if you saw him, you’d be hard-pressed to avoid the “O” word. Taylor takes you inside the man’s head so you can feel his rising ire first hand. With nothing else to occupy his grey matter, William can’t help but pick at the things that irk him, staring out at the street in front of his house. Almost like he was looking for trouble.