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The Digest Enthusiast

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B.K. Stevens’ Leah Abrams

AHMM Oct 2002
AHMM Oct 2002 Cover by Dave Cutler

Author B.K. Stevens shared her thoughts on Leah in her interview in The Digest Enthusiast book six, excerpted below:

“One of the things I enjoy most about this series is Leah’s relationship with Detective (later Lieutenant) Brock. Amateur sleuths wouldn’t get far without a source of police information, and many amateur sleuth series involve female sleuths who have romantic relationships with male police detectives. But Leah’s happily married, and so is Brock—his wife never actually appears in the stories, but he mentions her often. So Leah and Brock are simply friends who like and respect each other. He’s more practical and sensible, and she’s more imaginative. He brings her down to earth when she gets carried away, and she helps him see possibilities that hadn’t occurred to him. Together, I think, they make a good detective team.”

AHMM Feb. 1998 Leah Abrams #1 “Death on a Budget”
AHMM Jan.1999 Leah Abrams #2 “Death on the List”
AHMM Oct. 2002 Leah Abrams #3 “Death of the Guilty Party”
AHMM May 2006 Leah Abrams #4 “Death on a Diet”
AHMM May 2010 Leah Abrams #5 “Death in Rehab”

Opening Lines

AHMM July 1991“On Monday, July 19, Jim Simpson did eight stupid things. Right in front of Harry Brock, the biggest gossip in the office, he got into a loud, bitter argument with Al Forbes. Next, at lunch, he told Mona Tarnak that the world would be a better place without slimeballs like Al.”

Opening Lines from “Final Jeopardy” by B.K. Stevens Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine July 1991 Cover by Val Lakey Lindahn, interior art by Jim Ceribello.

AHMM July 1991, page 18

TDE9 Status

After many years based in Portland, TDE world headquarters is migrating across the mighty Columbia to neighboring Vancouver. Not BC—WA—the little Vancouver, aka “The Couv.” This is a multi-step adventure with numerous action items and distractions. Nevertheless, I intend to have TDE9 out on time in January 2019. To date, fifty pages are designed and ready for final proofread.

If there’s a casualty of the Couv move, it’s here on the blog. Daily posts may suffer. I’ll try to be punctual, but don’t be surprised if I’m a no-show at times in the months ahead. Changes afoot!

Pageant Dec. 1969

Pageant Dec. 1969Excerpt from Tom Brinkmann’s article, “Sharon Tate’s Fate,” from The Digest Enthusiast book six:

The confusing cover blurb read, “Part 2–Behind Sharon Tate’s Tragedy! Stars Who Need Sex Clubs,” which made it sound like two articles, which in a way it kind of was.

. . . Last month the author described the orgies that led up to the horrifying slaying of Sharon and four others. This month he tells of his personal involvement with Sharon and her circle of friends and acquaintances. Also, he gives his reasons for blaming Hollywood itself in large part for the tragedy that took five lives.

Pageant Dec. 1969 back coverThis second and final part of the Pageant Tate feature focused on Jay Sebring, and is almost a mini-bio, with facts and figures, personal anecdotes by Hyams; and, it would be re-used as the Sebring/Tate chapter for his autobiography, which had the same story told slightly differently with some of the details left out and others added.

Tom Brinkmann writes about unusual, off-the-beaten-path magazines, digests, and tabloids. His Bad Mags website was active from June 2004–July 2017. His books, Bad Mags Volume 1 (2008) and Volume 2 (2009) are available from secondary outlets, including amazon.com

Edd Vick on genre

Arcane Arts
Arcane Arts Anthology (2017) with Edd Vick’s “Prophet Motive” Cover by Lieu Pham

Edd Vick’s comments on genre fiction, an excerpt from the interview conducted by D. Blake Werts, for The Digest Enthusiast book six:

“Mainstream writers start with character. Genre writers start with situation. That’s why people who mostly read genre stories can get bored and think too little is happening in a mainstream novel, just as a mainstream reader gets whiplash and feels there’s too little character development in a genre novel. This is a hugely gross generalization, and of course every writer comes up with their own melding of the two. It’s a continuum.”

B.K. Stevens’ Iphigenia Woodhouse

AHMM April 2000Ex-cop turned private detective, Iphigenia Woodhouse, premiered in the Mid-Dec 1991 edition of Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, in a story called “Night Vision.” Her assistant, Harriet Russo, appears on the cover of AHMM April 2000, painted by Tomek Olbinski, for the sixth mystery, “A Wild Justice.”

Author B.K. Stevens shared the series origins in her interview in The Digest Enthusiast book six, excerpted below:

Iphigenia Woodhouse began, in part, as a response to some of the fictional female private detectives who became popular in the 1980s and 1990s. I enjoyed many of the novels and stories about those detectives, but their lives seemed very different from the lives of most of the women I knew. Usually, these detectives had no family obligations: Their parents were dead, their husbands (if any) divorced, their children nonexistent. If they liked, they could choose mentors they found compatible, have sex with men they found attractive, offer guidance to young people they found interesting. All their relationships were voluntary and temporary: They didn’t owe anybody anything and could move on whenever they chose. If they decided to fly to another city to pursue a lead, they didn’t have to coordinate schedules with anyone or arrange for childcare. In those respects, they had more in common with traditional male fictional private detectives than with most women today. That’s fine—it’s probably healthy to fantasize about complete independence from time to time. But I thought it might be interesting to write about a female private detective whose life is both enriched and limited by deep, lasting ties and obligations.

AHMM Mid-Dec. 1991 Woodhouse/Russo #1 “Night Vision” reprinted in Women of Mystery, ed. Cynthia Manson (Carroll & Graf, 1992)
AHMM Dec. 1993 Woodhouse/Russo #2 “Sideshow” reprinted in Women of Mystery II, ed. Cynthia Manson (Carroll & Graf, 1994); reprinted as “Une simple diversion” in Histoires d’homicides a domicile (Livre de Poche, 1995)
AHMM Dec. 1994 Woodhouse/Russo #3 “Death in Small Doses” reprinted in Women of Mystery III, ed. Kathleen Halligan (Carroll & Graf, 1998); reprinted in translation in a collection published by Livre de Poche
AHMM May 1996 Woodhouse/Russo #4 “Butlers in Love”
AHMM Jun. 1998 Woodhouse/Russo #5 “The Devil Hath Power”
AHMM April 2000 Woodhouse/Russo #6 “A Wild Justice”
AHMM May 2003 Woodhouse/Russo #7 “More Deadly to Give”
AHMM May 2008 Woodhouse/Russo #8 “Table for None”
AHMM Jul/Aug 2013 Woodhouse/Russo #9 “Murder Will Speak”

Fawn the Dark-Eyed

Fawn the Dark-Eyed posterIn 1965, Joe Wehrle, Jr. launched Fawn the Dark-Eyed. Inspired by the heyday of newspaper comic strips like Flash Gordon and Modesty Blaise, the publication presented Fawn’s adventures in Sunday-sized comic strip pages. Unfortunately, this early version of Fawn only lasted two issues, with the second edition published in February 1966.

A third issue was planned, and Joe published a poster of Fawn in 1967 to bridge the gap between issues. All three items are relatively hard to find, but the poster is likely the most uncommon. Fortunately, a small stock of the original print run has been uncovered and is now available via eBay.

The second iteration of Fawn appeared in 1972, as a blonde, in the four-page comic adaptation of Joe’s short story “The Bandemar” in Sense of Wonder No. 12. The story and comic are slated to appear in The Digest Enthusiast book nine in Jan. 2019.

Fawn’s longest run appeared in 1974, in a second series of Sunday-sized comic strips in the Menomonee Falls Gazette No. 142–161, 163–171, 173–176, 178, 179, 181, 183 and 188.

Opening Lines

Story illustration by Michael Neno“Kiefer dropped down the rabbit hole. Deep inside his head he knew the descent into empty darkness was just another shot at teasing Death, an opportunity to rub shoulders with the Reaper. He sucked in a breath, filling his lungs with foul air as he swung from the edge of the trapdoor, arms and fingers straining with the effort.”

Opening paragraph from “Down the Rabbit Hole” by Lesann Berry, episode two of the Alternate History Archive, from The Digest Enthusiast book six, June 2017. Illustrated by Michael Neno.

Edd Vick on digests

Galaxy Oct. 1968Below are Edd Vick’s comments on digest magazines, from the interview conducted by D. Blake Werts, for The Digest Enthusiast book six:

When I was in high school I read all the digests I could lay my hands on, preferring one that’s no longer around named Galaxy. Where Analog tended to have more tech-oriented stories, and Fantasy & Science Fiction was usually more literary, Galaxy hit a sweet spot of SF focusing on characters and the soft sciences. I have a complete collection still, barring a couple of later magazine-sized issues from when it was being passed from one publisher to another.

The magazine nowadays that’s inherited that mantle is Asimov’s, where I’m very happy to have sold several stories. They’re a little more adventure-oriented, but that’s not an issue where I’m concerned.