The Truncated Reign of Melvin, Prince of the Enveloping Darkness

A practitioner of the dark arts is found murdered in his occult bookshop. A cozy mystery.

The Judecca — Lucifer by Gustave Doré, 1861 (public domain)

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Kat Sloan looked at the woman she was in love with, the woman she had committed the rest of her life to, the forever sweetheart of her personal rodeo, and wondered if one of the two of them had developed full-blown dementia in the last few hours. “Would you say that again?” she asked.

“I said, we own an occult bookstore,” Flora Reed said.

“That’s what I thought you said. Why don’t you sit down, dear, while I call some nice people with advanced neurological training?”

“No, really,” Flora said. She thrust out a bundle of papers. “This just came in the mail. It’s about my cousin Melvin.”

Kat took the papers reluctantly. She had been looking forward to some leisurely hours in the garden, listening to podcasts and having a few glasses of wine while Flora graded essays for her college literature courses. The whole point of being semiretired in her mid-50s was to enjoy herself, not to handle more paperwork. Her name might still be on the door of the financial planning business downtown, but she only went in a few days a week, mostly to make sure nobody had wandered off with the office supplies. Still, she’d seen enough legal documents to quickly grasp what she was looking at.

“Sakes alive,” she said. “I believe we own an occult bookstore.”

According to the documents, Flora’s cousin Melvin had died three days ago. His will directed that his worldly possessions were to go to Flora. Apparently, Melvin’s primary worldly possession was The Cloven Hoof, a “bookstore and purveyor of novelties related to the Dark Arts,” located in a college town about a hundred miles from Kat and Flora’s home.

“Poor Melvin,” Flora said, sitting beside Kat. “I wonder what happened? He was only a couple of years older than me.”

Kat set the papers aside and picked up her phone. “I imagine we can find out,” she said. “Why didn’t I know you had a relative trafficking in the dark arts, sweetie?”

“I only found out ten minutes ago myself,” Flora said. “Melvin’s been estranged from the family for decades. Nobody’s seen or heard from him in 30 years.” She picked up the papers and straightened them. “He went to jail for something or other, and after he got out, he said he never wanted anything to do with any of us again.”

“Except you, apparently,” Kat murmured, engrossed in her web search.

“Well, we were close as kids. One of the last things he said before he stormed out of his mother’s birthday party was that I was the only Reed worth a damn.”

Score one for the devil worshipper, Kat thought but carefully did not say. As much as she loved Flora, she had to admit that many members of the boisterous Reed clan got on her nerves.

To judge from the news article she’d just found, someone had felt much the same about Melvin himself. He was found in his shop with a dagger in his heart. No arrests had been made, and the police had not publicly identified a suspect.

An accompanying picture showed Melvin standing in front of the shop. He was a tall, gaunt man, clad in a crimson robe and holding out an upside-down cross. His head was shaved, but he had a heavy beard to the middle of his chest, dyed deep black except for two streaks of silver running down from the corners of his mouth. Flora’s cousin looked prepared to conduct a black mass right there in the street. Or a human sacrifice.

Kat repressed a shudder and handed the phone to her wife. As Flora read the story, her eyebrows rising, Kat returned to the sheaf of papers and found the name of the lawyer who had sent them. Eugene Whilston.

“Poor Melvin,” Flora said again when she finished. “Oh, Kat, shouldn’t we go find out what happened? He was family, after all.”

“We should and will,” Kat said. “The lawyer says you can inspect the shop and figure out what you want to do. Why don’t I go pack while you give him a call?”

* * *

It was almost exactly 24 hours later when Kat and Flora walked up to The Cloven Hoof. Two men leaning against the front windows straightened as they approached. One, a rather scrawny redhead in shirtsleeves who looked to be in his late 20s, stepped forward. “Flora Reed?” he asked.

“That’s me,” Flora said, extending her hand. “This is my wife, Kat Sloan.”

The redhead’s surprised pause was barely noticeable. “Of course,” he said, shaking both their hands. “I’m Eugene Whilston. Please accept my condolences for your loss.”

“Thank you,” Flora said. “I’m sorry we’re a few minutes late. We had a terrible time finding a parking place with all this construction.”

“Oh, I know,” Whilston said. “Pretty much every block around here is getting new luxury apartment buildings. They’re for students whose parents can’t stand the idea of Junior roughing it in the dorms.” He gestured to the man waiting with him. “This is Edwin March, our police chief. I asked him to come walk you through what we know about how Malevolo died.”

March was a Black man about Kat’s age, making little effort to hide his irritation. His handshakes were perfunctory. “I’ll tell you ladies what I’ve told Mr. Whilston several times. This is a crime scene. I’m not very happy about conducting a tour.”

“Come off it, Ed,” the lawyer said. “This isn’t CSI. You guys have found everything you’re going to find, and Ms. Reed has a legal right to see her inheritance.”

“I’m sorry, can we go back a minute?” Kat said. “Did you say Malevolo?”

The lawyer looked uncomfortable. “Sorry, force of habit. I was representing Melvin in his attempts to get the government to recognize his preferred name.”

“Which was?” Flora prompted.

“Go on, Eugene,” March said, smiling for the first time. “Tell them.”

Whilston sighed. He plucked a business card from his breast pocket and handed it to Kat, who held it so Flora could also look. The card was blood red. In heavy black type it read “MALEVOLO, PRINCE OF THE ENVELOPING DARKNESS.” Underneath, in much smaller letters, were the name and address of The Cloven Hoof.

“Just so I get it right when I’m telling this story to some bartender later,” Kat said, “are you saying that Melvin wanted to just go by one name, Malevolo? Like Cher? Or did he want ‘Prince of the Enveloping Darkness’ to be his legal last name?”

“The latter, I’m afraid,” Whilston said. “Normally, of course, legally changing your name is a straightforward process, but there’s a local judge who’s been blocking the paperwork, saying it’s just a marketing gimmick and therefore a frivolous misuse of the system. We were in the process of initiating a lawsuit.”

“To be fair,” Flora said, “you’d have trouble getting that on a driver’s license.”

Kat tucked the card into a pocket and gestured at the door. “Shall we have a look at the store?”

“Of course,” Whilston said. “Please, go on in. I’ve unlocked it.”

The front windows of The Cloven Hoof were covered with black construction paper, taped up on the inside. Walking into the shop, Kat found it so dim, even in the middle of the day, that there was only a vague sense of looming shapes around her. Whilston hit a light switch, and three banks of overhead florescent bulbs flooded the small store with harsh light. Kat had to stop herself from stepping back from what the looming shapes turned out to be.

The Cloven Hoof was a compact, nearly square space. The back wall was floor to ceiling bookcases. The middle of the room was crowded with display cases and free-standing shelves crowded with goods, and in the very center was a rack of red and black robes. The wall on the left was covered with framed posters and paintings depicting various horrific scenes. Kat recognized one image as Botticelli’s interpretation of Dante’s hell; it had been on the cover of the version she read in college. There was also a huge print of Brueghel’s The Triumph of Death, with its army of skeletons laying waste to terrified villagers. The right-hand wall was filled with masks of various demons and monsters, many with gory details that turned her stomach. A counter in front of the masks held an ordinary cash register that looked completely out of place. Resting next to it was a display rack with an assortment of knives, topped with half-melted, dark red candles.

Even with everything else to look at, what drew Kat’s eye was the statue in the corner at the front end of the counter, positioned to look out over the entire store. It was a devil, fully eight feet tall at the top of its head, dressed in a tattered black business suit, with red skin, horns, a leering expression, and bulging, glossy eyes. The wings sprouting from its back almost reached the ceiling, and a barbed tail twisted out between its hooves, which were tensed as though the thing was preparing to leap forward. In its gnarled hands, each finger tipped with a wicked black talon, was a big sign: SHOPLIFTERS WILL BE TORMENTED.

“It can be a little overwhelming at first,” Whilston said.

“What, this?” Kat said. “Looks about like your average Starbucks.”

“That’s not coffee I smell,” Flora said, her face scrunching up. “What is it?”

“Brimstone,” Whilston said. “Not real, of course. Scented candles.”

“I find it hard to believe there are enough demon worshippers in town to make this place profitable,” Kat said.

Whilston shrugged. “Well, a lot of the book stock is actually scholarly studies of ancient languages and religions. Popular with some of the faculty at the college. And then folks came in to get their picture taken with him, which he’d only allow if they bought something. He was actually a bit of a tourist attraction. He scraped by, just barely.”

Flora pointed to a dark stain on the tile floor in front of the counter. “I take it this is where he died?”

“Right,” March said. “A deliveryman found the door unlocked at about eight in the morning. Mr. Reed was there in front of the counter with the knife in his chest. He had been dead for several hours. There were a few hundred dollars in the register, so we don’t think it was a robbery.” March gingerly picked up a knife from the rack. It was a wicked-looking thing, with a black hilt carved to look like a snake’s head and a ten-inch-long, wavy-edged blade. “The knife was a match to this one. The grip had been wiped clean, so no prints.”

“I can’t believe I’m saying this out loud,” Kat said, “but looking around in here, is it possible it was some kind of ritual?”

March shrugged. “We haven’t ruled that out. We’re trying to track down his regular customers, find out if any of them actually are true believers. Or unbelievers, I guess.”

“What’s going on in here?” a new voice interjected from the door. Standing just inside was a short, trim man in jogging shorts and a T-shirt. “This place is supposed to be closed.”

“It is closed,” Whilston said. “We’re just showing it to Malevolo’s next of kin.” He introduced Flora and Kat. “This is the upstairs tenant, Rick Riggins.”

“Ruh-roh,” Kat said. The corner of Flora’s mouth twitched, but otherwise nobody paid any attention. Not a Scooby Doo crowd, apparently.

Riggins was focused on Flora. “Please tell me you’re not going to reopen this horrible place. I couldn’t take it, not even if I’m leaving in a couple of weeks. Not after suffering through it for years.”

“Malevolo was a bad neighbor?” Kat asked.

Riggins snorted. “He was a nightmare, and since I work at home, there was no escaping it. He blasted this terrible music whenever the store was open. Death metal or something. And at nights there would be parties. People screaming, drunk, or high on god knows what. Which wasn’t as bad as the times when they’d just chant in some weird language for hours. And then, of course, this stench through the whole building.” He glared pointedly at March. “Not that the police ever did anything.”

“Mr. Reed was issued multiple fines and noise citations,” March said. “You really shouldn’t be here, Mr. Riggins. Given your altercations with the victim, you’re a suspect.”

“Don’t give me that,” Riggins snapped. He pointed at Whilston. “He fought with Reed even more than I did, and he’s here.”

“Wait a minute,” Flora said. “Melvin fought with his own lawyer?”

Whilston opened his mouth, but Riggins jumped in before he could speak. “He’s not just a lawyer. He’s also on the city council, and he was the swing vote when they installed parking meters downtown several months ago. That upset a lot of the business owners down here, because they thought it would drive customers out to the mall. Reed was especially angry. He’s been showing up at council meetings ever since just to yell at you, hasn’t he?”

“Yes, but he kept me as his lawyer,” Whilston said. “He was able to keep the two things separate.”

Riggins snorted. “I was there at the meeting the night before Reed was killed. He was cursing at you so much you had him removed. Of course, none of this makes either one of us special. I don’t think Reed knew anyone he didn’t fight with.”

“I don’t understand this talk about suspects,” Flora said. “When I talked to Mr. Whilston yesterday, he told me the police considered this a drug crime.”

“We haven’t ruled that out either,” March said. “We did find several bottles of illicit Oxy hidden under the counter.”

“Oh dear,” Flora sighed. “Melvin was a drug dealer, too?”

Time to think about something else, Kat decided. “Can we take a look at Melvin’s apartment? It’s in the back, right?”

“Sure,” Whilston said, obviously relieved at the change of topic. “Come with me.” He went to the back wall, inserted a key in an unobtrusive gap between two of the bookcases, and pulled on one of the shelves. The lower half of the bookcase swung aside, revealing a short hallway terminating in a back door with an Emergency Exit Only bar. There was also a door on each side of the hall. “Storage,” Whilston said, nodding at the right-hand door. He opened the door on the left. “This is where your cousin lived.”

The room they walked into was just big enough for a bed, a mini-fridge with a hotplate on top, a bureau, and a desk with a computer. A bathroom was visible through an open pocket door. The room was filthy, with clothes and books scattered around on the floor and discarded food wrappers overflowing from a corner trash can. “Doesn’t look like the police did much of a search back here,” Kat said.

Whilston shrugged. “Well, there’s no indication that anything significant happened here.”

Flora sat on the bed. “Can we have a few minutes alone, Eugene?”

“Of course,” the lawyer said. “Whatever you need.” He closed the door lightly behind him.

Kat sat on the bed and took Flora’s hand. “I know this is a lot to deal with.”

Flora squeezed her hand. “I just can’t get my head around it, Kat. The Melvin I remember was a little hot-headed, and he made some stupid mistakes. But he was basically a normal person, you know? I just don’t recognize him at all in this,” she waved her hand around them, “this weird, filthy, angry, drug-dealing dark wizard person.”

“Thirty years is a long time,” Kat said. “People change.”

“I suppose,” Flora said. “I just wish I had some idea what happened to him in that time.”

Before Kat could answer there was a sudden clamor of shouts from the direction of the store. Flora sighed. “I suppose we should go see what that is.”

Kat stood up. “I’ll go. You take a few more minutes here. Whatever time you need.” Flora smiled at her gratefully and Kat leaned forward and kissed her forehead.

Back out in the store, March, Whilston, and Riggins had been joined by another police officer, this one wearing his uniform, mirrored shades, and an absurdly short buzzcut. At first Kat thought March had summoned help to get rid of Riggins, but then she realized that the upstairs tenant was leaning carelessly against the rack of robes, to all appearances enjoying the show as March and the new cop glowered at each other.

“What’s going on?” Kat asked.

“Just another entry in the cavalcade of suspects,” Riggins said.

The cop turned and pointed at her. “You the cousin?” he barked.

“No, I’m the cousin’s sweet patootie,” Kat snapped back. “Who are you?”

Riggins straightened, his hands folded in a mock plea. “Oh, please let me make the introductions.”

“Mr. Riggins, will you kindly get out of here?” March said.

“Are you kidding?” Riggins said. “I only wish I had popcorn.”

March sighed. “Ms. Sloan, this is Officer Tommy Boyd. And, yes, he also has something of a prior history with Mr. Reed, and, no, he should not be here.”

“I just want to find out if the cousin knows where Alison is,” Boyd said, crossing his arms.

The cousin is named Flora Reed,” Kat said. “Call her the cousin in that tone one more time and we’ll all find out which of your bodily orifices can accommodate a brimstone candle. Sideways. And who the hell is Alison?”

A muscle in Boyd’s jaw twitched. “My wife.”

“She was sleeping with Malevolo,” Riggins stage-whispered.

Whilston rubbed his face. “I’m afraid that’s true. It’s something of a local scandal. Malevolo convinced Alison to leave Officer Boyd, but once she did, he dumped her himself, rather cruelly. He made a very messy public scene of it in a restaurant just a block away from the police station. Then he called a local talk radio show and bragged about it. Apparently Officer Boyd gave him a public nuisance citation, so Malevolo decided to break up his marriage in the most humiliating way possible.”

“Well, sure,” Kat said. “Anybody would respond that way. And I take it Alison is now missing?”

March waved his hand wearily. “I’m sure she’s just gone back to her folks. They live in Florida.”

Boyd spun on him. “It’s that kind of savvy detective work that’s going to cost you your job, Ed. You want to pin Reed’s murder on me because you know if you can’t crack it the council’s going to replace you. I’ve talked to her folks. They say she isn’t there.”

“Wow, that is convincing,” Kat said. She leaned against the counter, a couple of feet from Boyd. “On the other hand, I’ve only known you for three minutes, and I find the urge to lie to you nearly irresistible. So it’s possible they’re fibbing.”

Boyd turned bright red, but before he could say anything the shop’s front door opened and a dark-haired woman in a smart blue blazer, with a leather portfolio tucked under her arm, came in. She stopped short, seeming startled to find The Cloven Hoof so crowded.

“Let me guess,” Kat said. “The Prince of the Enveloping Darkness made it a regular practice to kick your dog, so you’re a suspect and you shouldn’t be here.”

“What?” the woman said. “No. I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to intrude.”

“You’re not intruding,” Whilston said. “I meant to tell Ms. Reed you’d be coming by.”

“I’m Flora Reed,” Flora said from just behind Kat, who started. She hadn’t realized her wife had come back into the shop. “Can I help you?”

“How long have you been here?” Kat asked.

“Long enough to hear your plan for the brimstone candles,” Flora said.

“I guess I got a little carried away.”

“I wouldn’t say so. I was about to go get some from the storeroom and give you a hand.”

“I’m sorry to interrupt,” the newcomer said. “Ms. Reed, my name is Linda Foster, and I own this building. I’m sorry for your loss.”

“Thank you,” Flora said. “So my cousin rented this space from you.”

Foster nodded and opened the portfolio. “I’m sure this is a difficult time, Ms. Reed, and it seems you’ve got a lot going on here, so I just want to make things easy for you. I’m prepared to terminate the lease, without penalty, and give you whatever time you need to remove your cousin’s personal effects.”

“I’m sure that’s very kind,” Flora said. She turned to Whilston. “Tell me, can I require her to continue the lease?”

“Require her?” Whilston said. “I suppose so, though I wouldn’t put it that way. It’s a binding legal agreement that was made with The Cloven Hoof, LLC, not with Malevolo personally. The business still exists, as do its debts and contracts, including the lease. Unless both parties agree to terminate it, it remains in effect for the agreed period.”

“That’s nice,” Flora said. She turned back to Foster, who was staring at her in apparent confusion. “Thank you for the offer, Ms. Foster, but I believe I’ve decided to continue Melvin’s life work.”

“You can’t be serious,” Foster said. “You intend to keep this store going?”

“Oh, yes,” Flora said. “It’s really grown on me. I can see why Melvin found it all so engrossing. The robes and masks and whatnot.” She sniffed. “I’m even getting to like the brimstone.”

“Give it a few years,” Riggins piped in. “You’ll barely notice it at all.”

Foster opened her mouth a couple of times before she was able to speak. “I’m sure this is just your grief speaking, Ms. Reed. Be sensible.”

“I feel quite sensible, I assure you.” Flora turned to Kat. “I’m having some very exciting ideas. Do you think we could start a dark ritual of the month club?”

Kat had no idea what was going on, but she knew whose side she was on. She’d never had a second’s doubt of that in the years since she and Flora had met. “That sounds good. Maybe a special on possessions around Halloween?”

“Black Christmas wreaths with tiny skulls instead of lights,” Flora said. “I think they’d be very popular.”

“We could get H.P. Lovecraft to do a signing.”

“H.P. Lovecraft is dead.”

“All the better. He’ll pack them in.”

Foster reached out and grasped Kat by the forearm, so tightly that Kat winced. “You’re a financial planner,” she said. “Talk some sense into her, can’t you? Do you want to lose every cent you have because she’s gone dotty?”

“I really wouldn’t worry about it, Ms. Foster,” Flora said. “Surely it won’t matter to you how we’re doing while you’re in prison for killing poor Melvin.”

The room went still. Foster’s hand dropped from Kat’s arm. Her face went white as quickly as Boyd’s had gone red a few minutes earlier. “What are you talking about?” she said.

“You murdered my cousin,” Flora said calmly. She looked at Edwin March. “Eugene said you didn’t spend much time going over Melvin’s room in the back. You really should have. If you’d looked at his computer, you probably would have found the feed from the security camera, and a week’s worth of video. While I was in the back, I watched the recording of this woman stabbing Melvin.”

Foster looked around. “What camera?” she demanded. “There’s no camera in here.”

“Certainly there is,” Flora said. “In the eye of the devil statue. How do you think he catches shoplifters to torment?”

Everyone in the room, except Linda Foster and Flora, looked at the statue in unison. In that split second, Foster grabbed a knife from the counter, the one March had said was a match to the murder weapon. She seized Edwin March, the person nearest her, and put the blade to his throat.

“Everybody just take a step back,” she said. “Tommy, you’ve got your hand on your gun. Don’t pull it out if you don’t want to be short a chief.”

“For the love of God, Linda,” Whilston said. “Why?”

“Because Melvin wouldn’t let her terminate the lease,” Flora said. “She wanted to sell the building and cash in on all this new downtown construction, but she couldn’t as long as Melvin insisted on maintaining the lease. Isn’t that right?”

“Yes,” Foster said. “It made no sense. I offered him everything I could think of. Even free space in one of my other properties. I only had a week left before the developers were going to withdraw their offer and build somewhere else. I had no choice but to get rid of him. I don’t know why he was being so stubborn.”

“Probably for the same reason he broke up Officer Boyd’s marriage and went to yell at the city council every week,” Kat said. “I think Melvin just really liked pissing people off.”

“Could we maybe hash this out sometime when I don’t have a blade to my neck?” March said.

“I’m sorry, Ms. Foster,” Flora said. “I really am. Clearly Melvin could be difficult. I wish I knew why he was so angry. But you must understand you have no options here. What are you going to do? Kill six people with a knife before we can disarm you?”

“I just want to leave,” Foster said.

“Do you really think that’s going to happen?” Flora said. “How far do you think you would get? Chief March?”

“Not very far,” March said.

There was a long pause while Linda Foster looked from face to face, then at the door, ten feet away. Then she closed her eyes and let the knife fall from her fingers to the floor. Boyd stepped forward and took her wrist. Spinning her around, he took the handcuffs off his belt and secured her hands behind her.

March sagged with relief. “That was nicely done, Ms. Reed. I’ll keep you in mind if I ever need a hostage negotiator. If you’ll just show me how to access that security video, I’ll take the computer with me as evidence.”

“Oh, heavens,” Flora said. “There’s no security video.”

Foster’s head snapped around. “What? What about the camera in the statue?”

“I very much doubt there is one,” Flora said. “I was bluffing, I’m afraid.”

“Bluffing?” March bellowed. “How the hell did you know who to bluff? Everyone in here had a reason to want Reed dead.”

Flora shrugged. “I thought it odd from the moment we arrived that a building in this prime location had been left out of all the development around here. Then Mr. Riggins said that he’d suffered living above the store for years, but also indicated that he’ll be leaving in a couple of weeks. Why? Obviously, something about his circumstances had changed, and the most likely explanation was that it was connected to Melvin’s death. I would guess that Ms. Foster had never bothered to talk to Mr. Riggins about ending his lease while Melvin was being stubborn, because why bother? But once that obstacle was removed, she went to him and — well, how did she get you to agree to move, Mr. Riggins?”

“She offered me a loft space in another building with southern exposure at a bargain price,” Riggins said. “I’m a painter. I put up with Reed all these years because the apartment upstairs has exactly the kind of light I need, but the place she showed me was even better.”

“So I thought it would be interesting to see how the owner of the building responded to the idea of keeping the store open,” Flora continued. “But the clincher was when she said that Kat is a financial planner. How did she know that? Nobody had even introduced Kat to her, let alone mentioned her profession.”

“Maybe Eugene told her,” March said.

Flora shook her head. “Mr. Whilston didn’t know,” she said. “I didn’t mention Kat when we spoke yesterday, and when we arrived today, he was surprised to be introduced to my wife. He wasn’t aware I had one, let alone what she does. But Ms. Foster knew, because she went to the trouble of investigating who would inherit the store if Melvin died. She must have thought that someone married to a financial planner would jump at the chance to get rid of it.”

“So no video,” March said. “All right, I guess we’ll get by with the six people who heard her confess. Let’s take her in, Tommy.”

As the two policemen led their prisoner out, her head hanging to her chest, Kat turned to her wife. “We’re not actually keeping this place, right?”

Flora smiled. “You don’t think we could make a go of it?”

“I’m sticking with semiretirement. Mr. Whilston, can we rely on you to have all this stuff disposed of?”

“Of course,” Whilston said. “It will probably take some time, of course.”

“No hurry,” Flora said. “But there is one exception.” She walked to the statue and patted the arm. “Could you have this crated up and shipped to our home? I think he’ll just look terrific in the garden.”

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  1. I thoroughly enjoyed this engaging mystery with a perfect blend of humor and unexpected twists. The clever plot intrigued me, combining misdirection and a unique occult bookstore setting. The seamless integration of past and present details enriches the storytelling. This story is a delightful read, skillfully combining mystery, humor, and a touch of the supernatural.

  2. What an excellent little mystery! In a very compact amount of space the author gave us everything one could want in a murder mystery – memorable atmosphere, some fun humor, a good amount of possible suspects, and a plausible solution, clearly and neatly wrapped up. I’d love to visit with Kat and Flora again sometime!

  3. Oh, that was fun! I would expect to read this in Ellery Queens’ or Alfred Hitchcock’s these days but it fit in perfect! The sort of mystery SEP published way back when! Love it!

  4. well, I read this out of curiosity and was ridiculously pleased with it. Nice story and the action is going right away. Thank you Mr. Walker!

  5. This is a such a wonderfully ghastly-ghoulish story Joseph, yet without being either one at the same time. It’s serious, but has just enough dark humor flavor to make it an indescribably delicious read.


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