Here's my list of favorite short stories from another fantastic year of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. As some of you may have noticed, I have been running a little bit behind in my reading in recent months. No matter. I feel it is important to really take the time to enjoy each and every story. Therefore, without further delay, here we go:
January/February Winter Double Issue: This was one of the best issues ever. It was so difficult to chose a favorite between "The Crossing" by Brendan DuBois and "Message from the Morgue" by Doug Allyn. Additionally, this issue included the return of two of my favorite characters, Spade and Paladin, in "The Really Big Ka-Boom" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Other stories I enjoyed included: "The Banquet Left Her Cold" by John H. Dirckx, "Trip to Reno" by S. L. Franklin, "The Headless Horseman" by Eve Fisher, and "A Year Without Santa Claus?" by Barb Goffman.
March: Mystery writers just starting out will want to check out J. A. Moser's short story, "Blueprint." It's clever and concise. I, also, enjoyed reading "A Joy Forever." I always look forward to reading short stories by B. K. Stevens. Next, it's not often a story with a paranormal element is included, but this issue has one. "The Woman in Brown" by Tony Richards was just what I was looking for. Finally, Susan Oleksiw's story, "Perfect In Every Way," transported me to India. Great issue!
April: Jay Carey's short story, "We Are All Accomplices," stood out this month. It's set in the future, and the fifteen year old Eureka is an interesting character. I, also, enjoyed reading "A Crown of Thorns" by David Edgerley Gates. Finally, I was happy to see another story featuring Madame Selina and Nip in Janice Law's, "The Ghostly Fireman."
May: My two favorite stories this month were "Two Bad Hamiltons and a Hirsute Jackson" by Robert Mangeot and "Rabbit and the Missing Daughter" by Leah Cutter.
June: "Sewing on Sunday" by William Dylan Powell was one of the stories that caught my attention this month. The others were "The PLT" by Bob Tippee and "Entwined" by Brian Tobin.
July/August Double issue: This issue includes so many great stories. My favorite was the Black Orchid Novella Award winner: "Dyed to Death" by K. G. McAbee. If you haven't read it already, check it out. Other stories I enjoyed included: "Shooting at Firemen" by Robert Lopresti, "Little Miss Somebody" by Robert S. Levinson, "A Death in the Village" by Nick Spencer, and "Tangled Webs" by Albert Ashforth.
September: "Joyride" by René Appel is an excellent story. I reread it several times, so be sure to check it out. Also, I enjoyed "Just a Old Lady" by O'Neil De Noux and "La Rouge Jolie" by Shauna Washington. The Mystery Classic, "And Already Lost..." by Charlotte Armstrong appealed to me as a former high school teacher. I'm definitely going to check out more of Armstrong's stories.
October: This issue had a variety of short stories that intrigued me. My first pick was "A Pushover Kind of Place" by Bob Tippee, followed by "The Cunning Woman" by Kathy Lynn Emerson. Also, I was very happy to see one of my favorite characters, Cyrus Auburn, return in "Solo for Shoehorn" by John H. Dirckx; please keep these stories coming. Finally, check out C. B. Forrest's story, "The Runaway Girl From Portland, Oregon."
November: This was an awesome issue. Be sure to check out "The Truth of What You've Become" by Joseph D'Agnese and "Hagiophobia" by William Burton McCormick. Elaine Viets has come up with a winning new series featuring a death investigator in "Gotta Go." Finally, I always enjoy reading stories featuring characters Madame Selina and her sidekick Nip; "The Dressmaker" by Janice Law is a fun story to read.
December: In the final issue of a fantastic year of short stories, three stories stood out: "Lake People" by Theresa E. Lehr, "Industrial Gray" by Catherine Dilts, and "Larry's Story" by David Braly.