Other Stories in this issue

Father's Favorite

by Alan Orloff

About the Author: Alan Orloff’s debut mystery, DIAMONDS FOR THE DEAD, was an Agatha Award finalist (Best First Novel). His seventh novel, RUNNING FROM THE PAST (Kindle Press), was a winner in Amazon’s Kindle Scout program. His short fiction has appeared in JEWISH NOIR, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, CHESAPEAKE CRIMES: STORM WARNING, and WINDWARD: BEST NEW ENGLAND CRIME STORIES 2016. He loves cake and arugula, but not together.


Odella Rickets, Bainesboro Café’s long-time server and expert baker, gazed through the restaurant’s plate glass window, across the wide green lawn where children rolled on the grass and chased lightning bugs in the summer, past the old fountain that only burbled and gurgled, to the park bench where they found Thom Varley’s body four days ago.

They said he’d drunk himself to death.

They said he was homeless, too, although that wasn’t entirely accurate. He owned a double-wide out SR 191, but ever since he came back from Afghanistan a few years ago, he hadn’t slept in it much, hadn’t done more than showered in it a few times a week, preferring the wide open spaces and the leafy shelter of the town square’s towering oaks to the confines of the cramped trailer.

Not homeless. But without a cozy place to rest his head.

Now a police detective had arrived in their small town, down from Asheville, and he was making his way along Main Street, interviewing folks about Thom, whether they knew him or not, if he had enemies, and similar questions, crossing t’s and dotting i’s, if Anna Grace from the flower shop was spreading truth for a change.

And really, she had no reason to lie, as far as Odella knew.

So it was no surprise when, not ten minutes later, a handsome man in a fashion-forward blue suit stepped into the café. In some vague way, he reminded Odella of her father.

Story Comments

Jan 8 - Susan Rickard

I love the voice in this story. Great diction! And a great surprise at the end.

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