A short story a day review

Month: March, 2012

“The Nail” by Pedro Antonio de Alarcon

by kattomic

“The Nail” by Pedro Antonio de Alarcon


Story 91/366

Pedro Antonio de Alarcon y Ariza was a 19th century Spanish novelist, essayist, travel writer and short writer. This story is filled with details about contemporary life including one gruesome custom involving the recycling of coffins that would work in a horror story. “The Nail” is a story of love and obsession and death. You can read it here.

See you tomorrow!

The Chicken Soup Kid, by RL Stevens

by djsacramento

#37: “The Chicken Soup Kid” by RL Stevens

Synopsis: All Quinlin’s gotta do to get out from under his gambling debt is one simple favor. That’s all.

As soon as he heard the footsteps, Quinlin knew they meant to kill him.

A very short, very good O. Henry-esque mystery featuring a loser and a can’t-lose proposition. A twisty trip from Point A to Point B indeed.

“The Chicken Soup Kid” appears in the collection Murder on the Menu, edited by Isaac Asimov.

The Other Man by Hilary Davidson

by sandraseamans

Billy is having an affair with a cop’s wife.  When the cop starts stalking him he gets scared and tries to break it off, but the wife won’t let him.  The twists in this story just pile up one on top of the other until the ending you never see coming arrives to take your breath away.  A rich, fun story.  You can read it here  http://www.beattoapulp.com/stor/2011/0731_hd_TheOtherMan.shtm

This story is a Spinetingler Award finalist.

The Unfortunate Misfortunes of a Man Named Lud, John Weagley, Fires on the Plain

by Patti Abbott

This is turning into a great site for stories. In this one Lud and Doc are selling a tonic. They place a bet that no one can beat Lud in a wrestling match. Of course, the match is fixed. Until a bear enters the ring. A perfect little story for a Saturday morning. Patti #93

Heat of Passion by Kathleen Ryan

by Barb Goffman

Published in the e-zine A Twist of Noir in February 2011


From the beginning of his career as a cop, Doug had been warmed about the bimbo-basement dilemma: You screw around on your wife, she’ll find out, and you’ll end up divorced and only being able to afford living in a basement. So when ya think about screwing around, you better decide if the bimbo is worth the basement. Well, Doug thinks he’s found a way around that …

This story is a finalist for this year’s Derringer Award in the flash-fiction category.

The Sapphire That Disappeared by James Holding

by Arun

Theme: Authors from the pages of AHMM

Source: Alfred Hitchcock’s A Hearse Of A Different Color

Story Number: 90

Laurie and John from the famous firm of Private Detectives ‘Landis & Landis’ are enjoying their holiday in Buenos Aires when they are asked to solve the problem of the missing Sapphire by the store owner Quesada.

The store had only two customers when the Sapphire went missing – a Mrs. Thompson and a Mr. Ortega. Thompson is looking for aquamarine necklaces where as Ortega is looking for  a suitable gift for his wife and requests to see some uncut stones. The clerk, on his way back to show Ortega the gems, trips over and spills a lot of stones on the carpeted floor and the stones are quickly retrieved by the store employees. But one valuable stone is found missing. The big Sapphire which would stand out on the dark carpet is nowhere to be found in the edgeless circular room. Both the customers are searched thoroughly and they are let go only after confirming that they didn’t have the stone on them or on their clothes. The only clue turns out to be a discarded bubble gum wrapper – but no one was chewing any gum nor was any gum found anywhere in the store.

Laurie and John exchange a series of hypotheses as to how the Sapphire could have disappeared but each one of them turns out to have already been verified with no result. They know that Ortega must be the guilty party and that a wad of gum was somehow involved but  how he managed to use the gum and hide the Sapphire remains a mystery.  The couple stumble across the vital clue when John bumps into a blind man after existing one of the Buenos Aires subway trains. A simple solution which is neatly done and fairly clued.

The Vapor Clue by James Holding

by Arun

Theme: Authors from the pages of AHMM

Source: Alfred Hitchcock’s Murders On The Half-Skull

Story Number: 89

Hub Grant and his wife have had an early start on their journey from Pittsburgh to Connecticut on a bitter cold still-dark morning. The engine develops a snag and Hub pulls into a gas station at around 5.30 in the morning. Since the gas station would open only at around 7, Hub decides to walk and check out if he can find some help from one of the houses he sees in the distance. The wife remains in the car.

Sarah Benson, the waitress of a Trucker’s rest house , is out on her way to open the shop so that the truck drivers who are regular customers, can stop by for their morning coffee. Sarah sees a man(Hub) walking down the hill towards her shop and when he is about to wave to her, she sees a dark sedan come down the hill, hit the man with full force and make a quick getaway even before Sarah could react.

Lieutenant Randall has very less to go on to catch the hit-and-run driver. The only description that Sarah can give is that she noticed a mist from the exhaust pipe which sort of covered up the license plate. It takes 12 more hours for Sarah to understand the significance of the mist from the exhaust pipe; she approaches Randall and tells him as to what the vapor clue signified; a fact which is more than enough to figure out who the hit-and-run driver was and apprehend him in a very short time.

“A Capitalist” by George Gissing

by kattomic

“A Capitalist” by George Gissing


Story 90/366

George Gissing was an early pioneer of indie publishing, publishing his first novel, In the Dawn (1880) at his own expense. It was a flop, but even when he acquired a publisher, he was exploited by them. Gissing did not have an easy life. His first wife was a prostitute and his second was insane. He wrote often about poverty and the working class, two topics he knew a lot about from personal experience.  This is a story about a man who enjoys the finer things in life and knows how to get them. “A Capitalist” originally appeared in The House of Cobwebs and Other Stories (1906) but can be read online here.

See you tomorrow!

Lamb to the Slaughter, Roald Dahl

by Patti Abbott

This is the classic story of the woman who murders her husband with a roast lamb and then serves it to the police investigating the crime. It was interesting to see this on you tube as an Alfred Hitchcock Presents. It certainly had a lighter more humorous air than I got from the story. Wonderful. Patti

Lord Humphrey’s Daughter, by John Grover

by djsacramento

#36: “Lord Humphrey’s Daughter” by John Grover

Synopsis: An overprotective father, a weather-witch daughter and an angry mob with torches and pitchforks. What does that spell? That’s right, people. FEAR OF PUSSY.

“That world is not for you! Enough of this. Stay off the balconies.”


Oh this story. This. Story.

Adrienne is the daughter of the title, and every time she opens her balcony doors o.O and whistles, men crash their ships into the rocks and everything bursts into flame. O.O

Lord Humphrey tries to protect his darling flower *.* from a band of young men from the village who are eager to take her away from dear daddy. (Shit, I don’t know the emoticon for stabbing myself in the face. Improvise, y’all.)

Unfortunately, Adrienne is dumb as a bag of rocks and so despite wanting to go into town and taste freedom, is mollified by daddy giving her a prism, because it is sparkly. Then there’s an angry mob and a fire and the monster the pussy Adrienne escapes and wanders out into the world accompanied by albatross familiars. And that’s basically where my interest picked up. Because I’m kind of over the story of the girl locked in the tower. I want to read about what happens when she gets loose.

“Lord Humphrey’s Daughter” is free online via Amazon.

“Because spending however many years in a tower is just the time to develop a whole host of skills.” –thornyrose42