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Temptation Square

by Leland Neville

About the Author: Leland Neville lives and writes in upstate New York. He previously worked for a news magazine in Washington, D.C. and taught in both a high school and a prison. Some of his mysteries have appeared in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, The Literary Hatchet and Pulp Modern.


I first saw the gray man in Temptation Square, the nefarious tourist destination in East Buffalo. He emerged from one of the crepuscular alleys that are instinctively spurned by even the most jaded tourists. He nodded and smiled. The gray man was ordinary and forgettable. He was nobody. He was everybody. He was evil incarnate.

I met Detective Tim Rizzo for lunch at the Deco Café, a conveniently located beanery on the edge of Temptation Square and adjacent to my private investigator business. I passed him an envelope of hundred dollar bills and ordered an Irish coffee. It was a monthly tradition.

“You should eat something,” said Tim. “You never eat. You don’t look so good.”

“I need you to ask around about a man I’ve seen in the Square.”

“Who is it this time?” Tim’s eyes remained focused on his roast beef.

“He’s genuine evil. Sin clings to him like ivy.”

“You’re just being judgmental again. Every few months you seem to find Satan and his minions lurking in Temptation Square. Real evil operates outside the Square. Don’t do anything stupid. I can’t afford to get caught up in your self-righteousness. We’ve been through this before. Temptation Square has been a godsend to the community.”

Story Comments

Aug 19 - Cindy Welland

I feel like this is a real place, having driven through certain sketchy parts of Buffalo on a dark, dark night.

Aug 19 - Patricia Dusenbury

A "nefarious tourist destination in East Buffalo" is a marvelous location for a dystopian black comedy. I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery, too. Nice twist.

Aug 19 - George Garnet

Good story, very well written. I really enjoyed it.

Aug 20 - Nina Ritter

Great story, well written. Smooth and captivating, my kind of mystery!

Aug 20 - Frances Dunn

I found this to be a weird story. Well written but I guess I didn't care for the evil theme and fantasy square concept. It just didn't leave me satisfied as a reader:)

Aug 27 - Donald Lindberg

I loved Temptation Square. I had shivers up and down my spine right to the last page. Thank You.I look forward to reading more of your workd.

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