Slay Ride ★★★☆☆

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Title: Slay Ride
Series: ———-
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Weird Fiction
Pages: 213
Words: 86K

There were 7 short stories and then a full length novel (by the standards of yesteryear, today jackasses call it a novella) by John Wyndham, best known for his novel Day of the Triffids. I was not a fan of that novel and so wasn’t expecting much from this one. I was not disappointed. Wyndham’s novel is boring and blasé and as snobby as you can expect from a London is the Center of the World jackass.

Thankfully, a few of the short stories really carried the collection. Unfortunately, they came before the novel so the book as a whole was dragged down. But looking back, overall things were weird. Every once in a while an Alfred Hitchcock collection includes a story that outright disturbs me and makes me wonder what am I thinking in reading his stuff. This collection had one of those stories.

Party Games by James Burke is about a childrens birthday party where the local social outcast comes uninvited and the story ends with him murdering the birthday boy’s father because the boys locked the outcast in a closet during one game. It was just horrific, not because it was graphic but because the writer did a fantastic job of creating this aura of dread that hung over every paragraph. It was simply unsettling. I think as long as I keep finding stories like this disturbing that I am ok. It will be once I stop being made uncomfortable that I have something to worry about.

★★★☆☆

Stories for Late at Night ★★★☆☆

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Title: Stories for Late at Night
Series: ———-
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 436
Words: 184K

★★★☆☆

Fireside Book of Suspense ★★✬☆☆

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Title: Fireside Book of Suspense
Series: ———-
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 343
Words: 138K

★★✬☆☆

Tales of Terror ★★★✬☆

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Title: Tales of Terror
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 771
Words: 306.5K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover & TOC

Be afraid—be very afraid: the master of suspense is serving up 58 bloodcurdling tales for your delectation. These suspenseful stories all appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, and in the words of Hitch himself, they “are guaranteed to chill and unnerve.” Bill Pronzini contributes “The Arrowmont Prison Riddle,” Margaret B. Maron has “A Very Special Talent,” Barry M. Malzberg offers “A Home Away from Home,” and Patricia Matthews chronicles “The Fall of Dr. Scourby.” Meet a girl who stalks Jack the Ripper, a clairvoyant writer of newspaper obituaries, a homicidal partygoer in a sanatorium, and a police detective who lives vicariously through the exploits of one of his most notorious suspects: they all populate these frightening pages. Caution: not recommended for late-night reading—except for the very brave!

Includes the following 58 stories:

NEDRA TYRE – Killed by Kindness

JOHN F. SUTER – Just a Minor Offense

ROBERT BLOCH – A Home Away from Home

JOSEPH PAYNE BRENNAN – Death of a Derelict

BILL PRONZINI – The Arrowmont Prison Riddle

LAWRENCE BLOCK – The Dettweiler Solution

VINCENT McCONNOR – The Whitechapel Wantons

ISAK ROMUN – Cora’s Raid

NELSON DeMILLE – Life or Breath

WILLIAM BRITTAIN – A Private Little War

JOHN LUTZ – Have You Ever Seen This Woman?

BRIAN GARFIELD – Joe Cutter’s Game

JOHN COYNE – A Cabin in the Woods

EDWARD WELLEN – The Long Arm of El Jefe

JACK RITCHIE – Kid Cardula

JAMES HOLDING – Career Man

LIBBY MacCALL – The Perfidy of Professor Blake

HENRY SLESAR – Sea Change

DONALD OLSON – The Blue Tambourine

WILLIAM P. McGIVERN – Graveyard Shift

BORDEN DEAL – A Bottle of Wine

DONALD HONIG – Man Bites Dog

MICHAEL ZUROY – Never Trust an Ancestor

EDWARD D. HOCH – Another War

ALICE SCANLAN REACH – Sparrow on a String

CLAYTON MATTHEWS – The Missing Tattoo

PATRICIA MATTHEWS – The Fall of Dr. Scourby

STEPHEN WASYLYK – The Loose End

FRANK SISK – That So-Called Laugh

MARGARET B. MARON – A Very Special Talent

BETTY REN WRIGHT – The Joker

HELEN NIELSEN – The Very Hard Sell

RON GOULART – The Tin Ear

CHARLOTTE EDWARDS – The Time Before the Crime

BARRY N. MALZBERG – After the Unfortunate Accident

PATRICK O’KEEFE – The Grateful Thief

TALMAGE POWELL – The Inspiration

ROBERT COLBY – Death Is a Lonely Lover

FLETCHER FLORA – The Witness Was a Lady

PAULINE C. SMITH – Scheme for Destruction

MARY BRAUND – To the Manner Born

RICHARD O. LEWIS – Black Disaster

HAL ELLSON – The Marrow of Justice

IRVING SCHIFFER – Innocent Witness

SAMUEL W. TAYLOR – We’re Really Not That Kind of People

HAROLD Q. MASUR – Pocket Evidence

S. S. RAFFERTY – The Death Desk

AL NUSSBAUM – A Left-Handed Profession

THEODORE MATHIESON – Second Spring

ARTHUR PORGES – Bank Night

BRYCE WALTON – The Contagious Killer

GARY BRANDNER – Bad Actor

MICHAEL BRETT – Free Advice, Incorporated

JAMES M. GILMORE – The Real Criminal

WILLIAM DOLAN – The Hard Sell

BOB BRISTOW – The Prosperous Judds

ROBERT W. ALEXANDER – The Dead Indian

AUGUST DERLETH – The China Cottage

My Thoughts:

There is another anthology that was titled the same but was put together directly by Hitchcock and only had 12-14 stories. This was put together by some chick name Eleanor Sullivan. Good for her.

Overall I enjoyed this quite a bit and thought it was on track to be a solid 4star read. I only saw 2 or 3 stories that I’d read in some of his other collections and with 58 stories thought that was pretty good! Then came the last story, a Pons and Parker story. And Bancroft Pons, Solar’s older, smarter and fatter brother is introduced. It was too much. Solar Pons is a pastiche of Sherlock Holmes and I think it is terribly done. I wish I had never read any of the Pons and Parker stories by Derleth.

The book’s first story was the perfect opener though. A husband and wife are both having an affair and want to kill off the other because divorce would just destroy the other spouse, who lives and breathes to please the other. No need to be mean, just off them and everyone will be happy. Of course, they end up killing each other and it was PERFECT! It was exactly what I would expect from a story edited by Hitchcock.

The rest of the stories ran the gamut from ok to pretty good with the exception of the last as I mentioned above. This is the 12th Hitchcock anthology I’ve read and I’ve still got 8 more to go. I am loving it!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Once Upon a Dreadful Time ★★★★☆

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Title: Once Upon a Dreadful Time
Series: ———-
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 166
Words: 65.5K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover & ToC

MURDERERS TO REMEMBER

Greedy husbands, hen-pecking wives, fickle bachelors, nosey spinsters, grumbling servants, wronged maidens, crooked executives, jealous siblings—these are the unsung heroes and heroines of crime. Where professionals rarely execute an inspirational murder, these mere amateurs persecute and kill with passionate ingenuity. But, alas, all too often the brilliance of their acts has to be admired by them alone. For a perfect crime, by definition, must go undetected.

In this volume you are given a rare opportunity to ob serve, with their reluctant permission, these dedicated masters of murder at their ingenious best. It is an experience you are likely never to forget.

DEPARTMENT OF THE DEPARTED

     Alfred J. Hitchcock

A LITTLE PUSH FROM CAPPY FLEERS

     Gilbert Ralston

THE SAFE STREET

     Paul Eiden

NO ONE ON THE LINE

     Robert Arthur

ANTIQUE

     Hal Ellson

SUSPICION IS NOT ENOUGH

     Richard Hardwick

A FAMILY AFFAIR

     Talmage Powell

GRANNY’S BIRTHDAY

     Fredric Brown

THIRD PARTY IN THE CASE

     Philip Ketchum

HILL JUSTICE

     John Faulkner

IF THIS BE MADNESS

     Lawrence Block

ANATOMY OF AN ANATOMY

     Donald E. Westlake

A COOL SWIM ON A HOT DAY

     Fletcher Flora

BY THE SEA, BY THE SEA

     Hal Dresner

BODIES JUST WON’T STAY PUT

     Tom MacPherson

THE DANGERFIELD SAGA

     C. B. Gilford

NUMBER ONE SUSPECT

     Richard Deming

My Thoughts:

This was a very good collection but at the same time it was really, really weird. Being about murder, well, what do you expect? So, some stories were about good guy murdering some scum who deserved it but who had eluded justice. Other stories were about 2 badguys falling out and trying to off each other. While others were about annoying people who get murdered and you feel ok with it. Some were about people getting murdered and the murderer getting away with it, sometimes that was good and sometimes it was a bad thing.

So this really ran the whole gamut. Some stories were fantastic vigilante justice and others were just horrible murder. And the thing was, you could never tell going into a story which part of the spectrum you’d end up on. It was just the right sort of unsettled feeling I’d expect from an Alfred Hitchcock presentation.

“Granny’s Birthday” was probably the most unsettling, as it involved a whole family, led by their Matriarch, as they kill two people who are not part of the family. It was a very short story, no more than a couple of pages, but man, was it intense and shockingly abrupt.

Outside the occasional twinge of “what did I just read?”, I really enjoyed my time with this collection. Overall, the stories edited by Hitchcock are all quite entertaining.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Skull Sessions ★★★✬☆

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Title: Skull Sessions
Series: ———-
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 161
Words: 62.5K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover & TOC

THE DO-IT-YOURSELF MURDER KIT

To do a good, honest job of murder (and nowadays you pretty much have to do it yourself, labor costs being what they are) you need several all-important ingredients.

Choose a weapon. That’s hard. There are just so many of them. But remember, a workman is no better than his tools.

Find a victim. That’s easy. There are just so many of them. But remember, an artist is no better than his material.

Then a plan.

That’s where this book will come in handy. . .

SKULL SESSION

A DEGREE OF INNOCENCE—Helen Nielsen

ONE UNNECESSARY MAN—Talmage Powell

KILL ME, MY SWEET—C.B. Gilford

SAM’S HEART—Henry Slesar

THE INCOMPLETE CORPSE—Jack Webb

LUCK IS NO LADY—Robert Bloch

SWEET SPIRIT—Donald Honig

THE ONLY BAD POLICEMAN—Paul Eiden

THE WITNESS WAS A LADY—Fletcher Flora

THE EPISODE OF THE TELEPHONE NUMBER—Charles Einstein

COME BACK, COME BACK—Donald E. Westlake

ADVENTURES OF THE SUSSEX ARCHERS—August Derleth

FAT JOW—Robert Alan Blair

VACATION—Mike Brett

My Thoughts:

The only fly in the ointment was the “Pons & Parker” story by Derleth (P&P are a complete ripoff of Sherlock Holmes and Watson, not even trying to cover it up at all) and the Fat Jow story by Blair. I just don’t like Jow, as I experienced him in another Hitchcock collection.

Other than that, this was a great collection of crime stories and nasty things happening to unpleasant people. Of course, not all of them followed that formula. “The Only Bad Policeman” is the perfect example. A man defends himself and his 2 boys against a drunk policeman with a martial art from his home country. Everyone cheers him on but the story ends with him getting arrested as he accidentally killed the policeman. Now that’s a downer of a story!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

I Want My Mummy ★★★★☆

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Title: I Want My Mummy
Series: ———-
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: 4 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 186
Words: 73K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover & TOC

TERRORS OF THE TOMB. . .

An Italian Prince is selling something more sinister than art objects in View by Moonlight.

The Sword of Damocles is put to murderous modern use in There Hangs Death!

An insane killer explains the method of his madness in The Pattern.

When Emma discovers the secret ingredient in her lover’s tobacco, their romance goes up in smoke in Pipe Dream.

Mr. and Mrs. Duvec argue fiercely, but death has the last word in The Sound of Murder.

CREEP INTO THE CRYPT

WITH HITCHCOCK

Hitchcock’s favorite Mummy is guarding a horde of horrible treasures. Before your terrified eyes, he will unwrap an unrivaled collection of ghoulish murders that will age you overnight. . .suffocating suspense that will leave you gasping for air. . .and evil artifacts whose curse you can never escape.

Read if you dare, these macabre masterpieces.

TOC

STORIES

View by Moonlight • Pat McGerr

There Hangs Death! • John D. MacDonald

Lincoln’s Doctor’s Son’s Dog • Warner Law

Coyote Street • Gary Brandner

Zombique • Joseph Payne Brennan

The Pattern • Bill Pronzini

Pipe Dream • Alan Dean Foster

NOVELETTE

Shottle Bop • Theodore Sturgeon

STORIES

The Magnum • Jack Ritchie

Voices in the Dust • Gerald Kersh

The Odor of Melting • Edward D. Hoch

The Sound of Murder • William P. McGivern

The Income Tax Mystery • Michael Gilbert

Watch for It • Joseph N. Gores

NOVELETTE

The Affair of the Twisted Scarf • Rex Stout

My Thoughts:

This was originally titled “ Stories to be Read with the Door Locked, Vol 2”. Vol. 1 I didn’t particularly care for and it got a barely passing nod from me. So when I saw the little blurb on the cover stating this was a retitled work, I kind of groaned to myself.

Then I opened up the book and realized there was a Nero Wolfe novella by Rex Stout. Without even reading a word, I mentally bumped this up half a star. I also knew that no matter how this book went, since it was ending on a Nero Wolfe story that I would go away from this a happy camper. Thankfully, my enjoyment of this collection didn’t rest on Wolfe alone.

The story “Lincoln’s Doctor’s Son’s Dog” felt like something that “I” would have written. It was bombastic, it was ego-filled by the narrator and it was stupendously outrageous and the ending was beyond ridiculous. I LOVED it!

I also enjoyed Foster’s “Pipe Dream”. It was pretty obvious from the get-go where this semi-horror story was going, but the ending where the main character gets rolled into the fireplace, well, that just lit a glow of satisfaction in my heart 😉

And then of course things wrap up with Nero Wolfe. I thoroughly liked this novella and just like every other Wolfe mystery, I was simply along for the ride. And I liked that ride. It was a good way to end the book and just made me happy. Probably means it is time to add Wolfe back into my reading rotation.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Stories to be Read with the Door Locked, Vol 1 ★★★☆☆

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Title: Stories to be Read with the Door Locked, Vol 1
Series: ———-
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 163
Words: 58K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover & TOC

WHO’S THAT PEEKING THROUGH THE KEYHOLE?

Is it a nasty voyeur, looking for illicit views of depraved sensuality?

Is it a special agent of the CIA hunting for a sinister enemy operative?

Is it some tabloid snoop trying to uncover new Washington scandals?

No, Dear Reader, it’s you—squinting with delicious dread at the houseful of horrors that Alfred Hitchcock has designed for your shivery delight. It’s a nice place to look at—from a safe distance. But you wouldn’t want to die there.

Stories to Be Read with the Door Locked

Fourteen skeletons in the closet

HITCHCOCK HAS YOU WHERE HE WANTS YOU.

You’ve drawn the blinds against the night. You’ve taken the phone off the hook. You’ve double-locked every door. But if you think you are safe, you’re dead wrong. There’s no escape once you open this book, and let loose the evil which Alfred Hitchcock has personally packed inside. Here are the most fearsome visitors ever to destroy your defenses and haunt your imagination—in two nerve-twisting novelettes and twelve terror tales.

Table of Contents

Introduction

STORIES

Hijack • Robert L. Fish

Tomorrow. . .and Tomorrow • Adobe James

Funeral in Another Town • Jerry Jacobson

A Case for Quiet • William Jeffrey

A Good Head for Murder • Charles W. Runyon

The Invisible Cat • Betty Ren Wright

NOVELETTE

Royal Jelly • Roald Dahl

STORIES

Light Verse • Isaac Asimov

The Distributor • Richard Matheson

How Henry J. Littlefinger Licked the Hippies’ Scheme to Take Over the Country by Tossing Pot in Postage Stamp Glue • John Keefauver

The Leak • Jacques Futrelle

All the Sounds of Fear • Harlan Ellison

Little Foxes Sleep Warm • Waldo Carlton Wright

NOVELETTE

The Graft Is Green • Harold Q. Masur

My Thoughts:

Ok, so, this volume. This was weird and creepy and not in a deliciously fun and awesome way, but in a dark and uncomfortable way. Reading the cover blurb makes it pretty evident that is exactly what Hitchcock was going for. I didn’t care for it.

Part of it was that the stories were all over the place. You have science fiction with Asimov’s selection (which I had read before several times and so skipped) to body horror of a sorts with Wright’s Little Foxes Sleep Warm to just downright psychotic losers in Jacobson’s Funeral in Another Town to the utterly hilarious entry by Keefauver about how the hippies plot to take over America was foiled. It felt like the stories were in a bag that Hitchcock reached into and selected at random. So far most of these anthologies have been pretty “on topic” with the title and were thematically linked, albeit sometimes very roughly.

The Distributor by Matheson was probably the most disturbing, as the main character, while human in appearance, seems to be more of a devil set on destroying communities one by one. It was all about killing, lying and destroying. It was not pleasant or enjoyable.

Not the worst collection that I’ve read in this “series” but not one that I’d recommend as a starting place.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

Death-Reach 2 ★★✬☆☆

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Title: Death-Reach 2
Editor: Cathleen Jordan
Rating: 2.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 145
Words: 58K



Synopsis:

Table of Contents

UNIDENTIFIED AND DEAD – Bryce Walton

THE BIG BAJOOR – Borden Deal

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON KITE – Edward D. Hoch

FAT JOW AND THE DEMON – Robert Alan Blair

ALL THE SAME – Bill Pronzini

TWO WOMEN—TWO VICTIMS – Donald Honig

HEAVEN IS A FRAME OF MIND – Richard Hardwick

THE OPERATOR – Jack Ritchie

DEATH BY CALCULATION – Donald Martin

FIESTA TIME – Douglas Campbell

OCCUPATIONAL HAZARD – John Crowe

My Thoughts:

I actually read this back in January when I was out of work due to covid. It had somehow gotten lost in the mix however, so I never wrote up anything about it.

This was not an actual “Alfred Hitchcock” presents anthology. These were all stories that did appear in his magazine but I don’t know if that was when he was running it or after. He’s not the editor here, but some other person and personally, I blame her for the utter mediocrity of this collection.

I didn’t dislike any particular story but at the same time none of them hit me in the gut either like so many of Hitchcock’s other collections have. It probably didn’t help that I was sick with covid while reading this either.

But the biggest thing is that this book exemplifies WHY I blog at WordPress, Blogspot and Librarything. I had added it to my LT library but never reviewed it, so at least I knew I had read it. Multiple redundancies are a bloggers best friend. Can you imagine the horror of having read this and never recording it? My record would be marred!

Rating: 2.5 out of 5.

Daring Detectives ★★★✬☆

This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission

Title: Daring Detectives
Series: ———-
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
Rating: 3.5 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
Pages: 150
Words: 62.5K



Synopsis:

From the Inside Cover

A collection of stories, designed for young readers, about brave detectives and tracking down unscrupulous criminals.

Includes the following 8 stories:

Through a Dead Man’s Eye – CORNELL WOOLRICH

The Disappearance of Mr. Davenheim – AGATHA CHRISTIE

The Adventure of the Seven Black Cats – ELLERY QUEEN

The Day the Children Vanished – HUGH PENTECOST

The Footprint in the Sky – JOHN DICKSON CARR

The Case of the Irate Witness – ERLE STANLEY GARDNER

Adventure of the Grice-Paterson Curse – AUGUST DERLETH

Green Ice – STUART PALMER

My Thoughts:

I was glad that the little blurb baldly stated “for young readers”, otherwise my expectations would have been very different and as such so would my reactions to this. In many ways this reminded me of the Haunted Houseful that I read 2 years ago. That was also “for young readers” but I hadn’t realized it at the time.

If you’ve read much detective/crime fiction, you’ll already have heard of some of these authors or realize how some of them stole their ideas from the greats. For example, Christie’s story’s idea is lifted almost wholesale from a Sherlock Holmes story. I won’t go into details, but as soon as I read “X happened”, I knew the rest of the story immediately.

What this book really made apparent to me is that Hitchcock threw his name everywhere, like a possessed child projectile vomiting. Trying to sort out what is his adult fiction vs his young readers stuff is much like trying to pick out the carrots from said projectile vomit. It’s doable, but man, it is messy!

I still enjoyed this, despite comparing it to vomit, hahahahaa. Hitchcock had a talent for picking out stories that he thought would sell and as such they are “good” stories. They are stories that you want to read. None of these books edited by Hitchcock have left me thinking that I should stop. I want to keep on reading them. I can’t think of a better recommendation than that.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.