MICHAEL CANFIELD “We Both Loved Scandies.” Lead story in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, July/August 2023.

   The story begins as a woman is about to leave the small town of Osta in Sweden only to have an inspector from the local police department stop by, one she had not met before. Gradually we learn, largely from long flashbacks, that although we do not not exactly what, something has happened and that in all likelihood (as we can easily guess) it was serious.

   The woman, as it is gradually revealed, had come to Osta with another woman, a traveling companion, on a trip to see where the exploits of her favorite detective character had taken place, and where in fact the author, one Freddie Ek, had lived.

   Any fan of detective mysteries will identify with this immensely, and enjoy puzzling out who the other woman was and what might have happened. As his questions seem to reveal, the inspector seems to know than he actually says. The flashbacks also serve to only skirt around the real reason for his visit.

   It’s a storytelling technique that here, in the case at hand, is very neatly done. It’s only when the story is over might the reader realize how artificial the cat-and-mouse game really was.

   Your enjoyment of this particular tale, told in this particular way, will depend primarily on how forgiving you are, once the tale is told. As for me, I enjoyed it.


    From the author’s “About the Author” Amazon page:

MICHAEL CANFIELD is the author of the crime novels Perfect Likeness, Bad People, and Exhibit A, as well as Red Jacket: A Novel with a Superhero and a horror novel, Pain Thieves. He has published over two dozen mystery, fantasy, sci-fi, horror, stories in Strange Horizons, Spinetingler, Escape Pod, Realms of Fantasy, Talebones, Black Gate, Borderlands, and other places. His novelette “Super-Villains” was reprinted in the prestigious Fantasy: The Best of the Year series, edited by Rich Horton. He divides his time between Seattle and Los Angeles, with frequent side-trips to Vegas.

    This appears to be his first work of short story detective fiction.