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Auditions Can be Murder

by Alan Orloff

About the Author: Alan Orloff’s writing has won an ITW Thriller Award and a Derringer Award, and has been nominated for an Agatha Award. His stories have appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies, including THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES.


Layla Harrington removed the stiletto from her purse.

She used the slim, sharp knife—a treasured gift from one of her mystery-writer friends—to slice open the letter she held. It wasn’t often she got to use her self-defense weapon as a letter-opener—most of her regular mail consisted of bills and junk, and those she either ripped open with her fingers or threw in the recycling bin, respectively.

But this was a hand-addressed, lavender-colored envelope from her Great Aunt Greta. With two Forever LOVE stamps in the corner. It deserved to be handled with care.

She plucked the pieces of paper from inside the envelope and unfolded them. On top, a single sheet of matching lavender stationery, covered with flowery script. Beneath, five or six pages of handwritten—hand scratched—notes on lined paper ripped from a spiral notebook.

Layla started with the letter.


Dear Layla, my favorite niece (Yes, you’re my only niece, but if I had five nieces, you’d still be my favorite, I just know!).

While cleaning out our attic, I found some papers from my older sister, Doris. You remember her, don’t you? She was a character, all right! A real renaissance woman—an actress, playwright, musician, and she baked a mean chocolate chip cookie (now do you remember her??).

Story Comments

Jan 3 - Carl Seltz

Creative ... interesting ... wonderful

Jan 3 - Madeline

It is awesome. I really enjoyed it.

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