Sunday, May 06, 2007

Rainy Sunday

No tornadoes, so far, thank God. But cold steady rain. I worked most of the day then grabbed a few paperback anthologies and magazines dating back three or four decades and started looking for something that would grab my attention. Sat in a comfortable chair and read probably a dozen stories.

If you're lucky enough to have access to the Jan 1985 Mike Shayne magazine, let me recommend the James Reasoner story in there The Elephant's Graveyard. This is one of his best Cody stories--maybe THE best--a character study of a young man who went to Mexico on a college tour sixteen years ago and vanished. His sister was recently informed that he was in Mexico now. She was also told where he could be found. She hires Cody to bring him back. One especially odd fact for Cody is that the young man has a huge inheritance waiting for him here. This is a fine story with some exceptional Mexican atmosphere and a troubled man worthy of Ross Macdonald.

I almost always enjoy stories about scams and Francis M. Nevins has a good one in a collection called Criminal Elements edited by Bill Pronzini and Martin H. Greenberg. The telling here is sleek and amusing and the hook is one I've never seen before. In order to pull off the scam they've worked out, they must get an elderly lady in a nursing home to sign over the rights to a series of western novels that were once used as the basis of a series of shoot-em-up movies for recently deceased superstar John West (read: John Wayne). A really funny, unique and memorable story.

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