CATHERINE L. STANTON “Multiple Submissions.” Short story. Sam Bellamy #2. First published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, September 1989.

   I’ve found that catching up on my short story reading has been a good way to fill some otherwise vacant time while recovering from my recent surgery. And of the ones I’ve enjoyed the most, many of them are of the relatively rare category, the traditional detective story, especially those having a recurring character in the leading role.

   Some of these series characters are extremely well known, such as those created by Edward D. Hoch. Some are rather obscure, such as Sam Bellamy in this one: his existence is not even known to the online Crime Fiction Index. Sam’s only earlier appearance was “The Teddy Bears’ Wake” (AHMM, August 1988), and there was not a third, which is a shame, because this second one is a couple of notches well above average.

   Sam is a skilled cabinetmaker by trade, an occupation I don’t remember a fictional sleuth ever having had before, but what such a job does is allow him to meet all kinds of people, including wealthier ones, and wealthy people are prone to having problems an amateur might be able to solve even more than the police.

   It also a plus to have an inquisitive nature about people, and that’s what helps Sam in this case of the murder of the current temporary director of this summer’s series of plays put on by a small Massachusetts drama company. Without going into details, and it would take another couple of paragraphs to do it well, I’ll just say that determining the killer requires some insight into what prods anyone to write a play — and hunger to see it performed — in the first place.

   The two Sam Bellamy stories were Catherine Stanton’s only contributions to the world of crime fiction. Based on this one, I have to say that I wish there had been more.