RICHARD DEMING “The Art of Deduction.” Short story. Albert Shelton #1. First published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, June 1973. Reprinted in Alfred Hitchcock’s Tales to Make You Weak in the Knees (Dial Press, 1981) and Alfred Hitchcock’s Anthology #10, paperback, 1982. Collected in The Richard Deming Mystery Megapack (Wildside Press, ebook, 2015).

   Albert Shelton wouldn’t call himself a private eye, exactly. He’d rather say “confidential investigator,” and to prove his skills in a meaningful way, he tries out his detective abilities on the attractive girl sitting on the seat next to him on a plane from LA to Buffalo, where his first job is waiting for him.

   And she seems impressed. Encouraged by this, he sees two men sitting next to each other toward the back of the plane, each handcuffed to the other. When one slumps over, the victim of a medical emergency, he offers his help, which is gladly accepted.

   At which point, things begin to not go as well as he planned. I’ll let your imagination take over, and if I know you as well as I think I do, I have a feeling that you know where this going, but Deming may still have some tricks up his sleeve that you might not be expecting.

   It all works out well in the end, though, and if Albert Shelton never had a followup case, which I don’t believe he did, that’s OK, too. He’ll never forget this one.