Black Cat Mystery Magazine: Issue One opens with a note from editors John Gregory Betancourt and Carla Coupe stating that their magazine will focus on mystery short stories. In addition to publishing the occasional classic piece from decades ago, they will publish quality mystery stories regardless of the niche the story fits in the genre. In short, this is a magazine designed to appeal to all mystery readers. That goal is easily met in the first issue.
“Getting away” by Alan Orloff starts the issue off. Eddie “Light Touch” Elkins needs a new identity and he now has one thanks to his new passport. The forgery looks perfect. Good thing the guy at Lloyd Birnbaum Travel knew who to hook him up with so that he could make a clean getaway. For the guy at the travel agency, having a side business is important, as the internet has pretty much killed the travel industry. Why use a travel agent when you can make all the arrangements yourself?
Back in the day kids were respectful when they walked through the neighborhood. Those days are long gone in “Fairy Tales” by Art Taylor. In the here and now, William Washington is fed up and getting closer and closer to taking back his neighborhood.
At 92 Uncle Eb tends to tell the same several stories over and over including the one about he meet Aunt Flo. It is part of his routine at the Choctaw Nursing Home. So too is the Wednesday visit with his nephew, the sheriff of Lamar County. This Wednesday he is running a bit behind due to a murder. He has a tale for his uncle and his Aunt in “Eb and Flo” by Josh Pachter.
Her cat, Sammy, is missing as the “Crazy Cat lady” by Barb Goffman begins. The horror and suspense author, Zephyr, is sure somebody has been in the house. Zephyr is a bit spooked, but as she looks around she begins to think her worry was for nothing as Sammy is fine though he does not seem pleased. He might have a good reason.
She is looking forward to seeing Benedict again. The rendezvous is set for thirty minutes from now. Her only obstacle is how to get away from her husband so she can do what she yearns to do in “A Pie To Die For” by Meg Opperman.
Albert Poe loves introducing new attractions to visitors at the world famous wax museum. The latest unveiling in 1888 goes spectacularly wrong in “Murder At Madame Tussauds” by Dan Andriacco. The new figure was supposed to be a wax impression of Ormond Struthers known to one and all as the “Grosvenor Square Ghoul” with wax impressions of some of the heads he had severed. The latest addition looks all too real because it is. Time to contact Scotland Yard. They will need help and that is where the ‘Count of Conjuring” and his assistant will step in whether they are wanted or not.
Katie Harrison is in big trouble as “Rooster Creek” by John M. Floyd begins. As long as she can balance on the chair with that rope around her neck and up into the tree she will be okay. How she got to this position in the month since she stepped of the stagecoach in Perdition is the focus of this highly entertaining western tale.
Her name is Marilyn Baker. She is a bank teller at First American Union. She is unforgettable in “Don’t Bank On It” by Jack Halliday. Good thing he is a private investigator.
Every town has that notorious motel where business is done in hourly increments. In “Dixie Quickies” by Michael Bracken, the Dixie Motel located on the outskirts of Chicken Junction is one such place. The twelve rooms are the site of quite few romantic encounters. The most recent encounter did not result in a happy ending for one guy as he is very much dead in his room. His death and the repercussions of that are going to become a bigger and bigger problem in this steadily expanding tale.
Kaye George is up next with her tale, “Flight To The Flirty Flamingo.” In this case, the main setting is not a motel, but a strip club known as “The Flirty Flamingo.” Fin runs the place and treats the talent right and makes sure the customers do too. Jodie Vive is in trouble and on the run for good reason. Whether Fin can help with a problem that big is the real question.
“The Italian Tile Mystery” by James Holliday was originally published in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine in September 1961 and is republished as the next story in this first issue of Black Cat Mystery Magazine. It is a drab wintery day with the rain coming down in Positano. The dampness penetrates everything in the village on the cliffs above the Mediterranean Sea. That penetrating dampness invades the guests of Savoia Hotel. Several of the guests are huddled in their sweaters before the fire while being intrigued by a certain table and the tiles across its top. The table was created by Lemuel v. Bishop. He was an American who lived in Italy most of his life. During those last months as he battled illness he lived at the hotel and created the table. The table holds a secret that several guests, including two mystery authors, are determined to figure out.
“Beside A Flowering Wall” by Fletcher Flora comes next. This short story was originally published in April 1968 in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. Ruth has a sterile stale life of regimen. She lives this certain way in order to hold things together. That is until Pat Brady calls and intrudes into her life once again.
“The ABC’s Of Murder” by Josh Pachter winds up the first issue. Every letter of the alphabet has its own special mystery related designation in this poem dedicated to all things murder and crime related.
Black Cat Mystery Magazine: Issue One is a broad spectrum mystery magazine filled with good stories. Built off of classic tales as well as modern ones, the reads here all meet the editors stated intention of ignoring niches and being open to all types of tales. This is a magazine designed to appeal to a broad swath of mystery readers and does so with ease. Black Cat Mystery Magazine: Issue One is also a good one.
Black Cat Mystery Magazine: Issue One
Editors John Gregory Betancourt and Carla Coupe
eBook (also available in print)
Material was purchased to read and review back in December 2017 by way of funds in my Amazon Associate account.
Kevin R. Tipple ©2018