RARA-AVIS: Bouchercon reports

From: Moorich2@aol.com
Date: 23 Oct 2002

Appreciate the highlights of what sounds like a great con. Frustrating to miss it after months of anticipation but my broken shoulder and surgery made it impossible.

As the recovery is slow, I am at home with lots more reading time. Unfortunately, it is difficult to manage hardbacks unless I am seated at a table. Paperbacks are better but best of all for one-handed holding are the digest magazines. As the painkillers I am still on make lengthy concentration difficult, I am better off reading short stories anyway. Thankfully, I have many digests both recent as well as back to the 1940s.

"Manhunt" was, of course, the digest of greatest interest to this list as the focus was very much on the hard boiled. In a broader sense, "Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine" was from the beginning the gold standard of the mystery magazines. It obtained the rights to the "Black Mask" name and regularly published reprints as well as new stories in the Black Mask tradition. I am currently enjoying the police procedural stories of Lawrence Treat, who pioneered this form

And EQ also featured Anthony Boucher's reviews, which intrigue to this day. For example, in the August 1965 issue he gives atop ranking of four stars to Thomas Hinde's THE DAY THE CALL CAME (Vanguard). His review states:
"Extraordinary and disturbing novel on the parallel between our world of tension and subversion and the private world of paranoia." I am ready to order this one just based on that sentence. Has anyone out there read it?

"The Saint" digest has some good material but while it might feature a few stories that could be termed noir, the editor Hans Stefan Santesson did not care for the hard boiled detective story.

"Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine" is a reliable source of good stories from tough to funny. Lots of early Block, Westlake, Willeford, Clark Howard as well as the short story specialists like Jack Ritchie, Bryce Walton, and Robert Twohy (consistently excellent over a long career--anybody know anything about him)?

Richard Moore

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