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Tuesday, February 14, 2017

“Tales of Terror: 58 Short Stories Chosen by the Master of Suspense”, edited by Alfred Hitchcock and Eleanor Sullivan

631 pages, Galahad, ISBN-13: 978-0883657102

First off, full disclosure: Tales of Terror: 58 Short Stories Chosen by the Master of Suspense has been shamelessly attributed to Alfred Hitchcock in various editions’ packaging since not long after the ole boy shuffled off; in fact, the fifty-eight stories presented in this anthology were the work of the Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine (AHMM) and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (EQMM), both edited by one Eleanor Sullivan (while Hitchcock and Frederic Dannay and Manfred Bennington Lee, the cousins who wrote, edited, and anthologized detective fiction under the pseudonym of Ellery Queen) are now all long-dead, their respective magazines continue to publish). The title Tales of Terror is something of a misnomer, as most of the stories are suspense or even relatively straightforward mystery stories, while some are lighthearted little ditties; all-and-all it isn’t as brilliant a representation of either the AHMM or the EQMM as one would expect, but it’s still a rather good cross-section and core sampling of works from those publications back in the day from a variety of writers, such as: Bill Pronzini with The Arrowmont Prison Riddle, Margaret B. Maron with A Very Special Talent, Barry M. Malzberg with A Home Away from Home, and Patricia Matthews with The Fall of Dr. Scourby, along with stories as varied about a girl who stalks Jack the Ripper, a clairvoyant writer of newspaper obituaries, a homicidal partygoer in a sanatorium, and a police detective who lives vicariously through the exploits of one of his most notorious suspects.

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