Alan Hynd was a prolific writer of “fictionalized true crime” stories for the True Crime magazine. Which means he took real cases and created dialogue and filled in the blanks to form a complete story. While the magazines are hard to find, his son Noel has compiled some of his dad’s work into anthologies, of which this is the first volume.
The introduction is so sweet. Noel’s love for his dad and his dad’s writing is evident from the start and his genuine fandom of his dad’s writing style is the driving force behind his own writing. It’s very touching.
His dad’s writing is the prototype of snarky gossip websites. All the descriptions are vicious, even descriptions of the victims. He is quick witted and darkly humorous and relishes a good gory detail. As the bulk of the stories are written in the 1930’s through the 1950’s, they are peppered with slang and locations such as dilapidated boarding houses and train stations that are straight out of the golden age of Hollywood.
These crimes are heinous, but so much fun. In addition to a faith healing insurance scam there is a couple of country doctors gone rogue and the real life story that inspired Arsenic and Old Lace. Of course the real story is not sweet old biddies but a nymphomaniac sociopath with a penchant for strapping younger men and Wednesday night muuurrrdddeeerrrr!
I wish that they weren’t true crimes in a way. As I was reading, I would occasionally feel a pang of guilt for delighting in the details of these personal tragedies. But when the sheriff is over for tea and a body falls out of the broom closet, it’s hard not to laugh.
I will definitely be picking up more volumes in the series.