A California Magazine with Local Focus and Global Appeal:
Community - Entertainment - Human Interest


Weekly issues every Saturday morning and new articles throughout the week, including — movie reviews each Monday at 7pm and live events Wednesdays at 7pm. If you love mysteries — explore Mysteryrat’s Maze — there's something for everyone… and check out our sister site on Blogger for bonus articles.


Terrific Tales features original stories, poems and humor.Click on article titles to see full articles.

by Gail Farrelly


LulaMae Harris was 67 years old and her mother had been dead for more than 20 years, but she still followed her momma’s advice.

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by Michael A. Kahn


I know a former trial lawyer who gave it up to write courtroom thrillers. He claims he prefers the fictional kind because he gets to control the judge, the lawyers, the witnesses and, best of all, the outcome. I think of him with envy whenever I have to deal with In Re the Estate of Mendel Sofer. It’s definitely real, and I’ve long since lost control. Back in the beginning, back when all I knew was that an 82-year-old widower named Mendel Sofer had died of a heart attack, it had seemed a simple case. Indeed, those were the very words Phil Rosenberg used when he called. “It’s a simple case, Rachel,” he assured me. “Even better, you’ll be doing a mitzvah.”

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by Ben Solomon


Brother, what a yarn. Real Ripley’s stuff. Who’d of thought the lives of two people could hang in the balance over a thing like that. I’m betting that’s what the department can’t dope out. You’ve got means, you’ve got opportunity, you’ve even got the murder weapon. But you can’t grasp the motive. There’s even a second weapon you’re all in the dark about. After a fashion. Sure there is.

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by Gary Hoffman


Jim Thompson threw his pen on the desk, took off his glasses and rubbed the bridge of his nose. “This guy’s gonna drive me completely nuts.”
His partner, Joanne Wentworth, stood and walked to the coffee pot. “You ready for another cup?”

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Grinding Out A Living

IN THE April 5 ISSUE

FROM THE 2014 Articles,
andTerrific Tales
SECTIONS

by Mary Reed




Perusing the colorless list of occupational codes in the IRS 1040 form instruction booklet, my attention began to wander and I started to think about jobs that were once common street sights.

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by Claire Murray



“Mornin’, Miss Aggie.”
The chorus of baritone and tenor voices greeted her entrance, announced by the tinkling bell above the door. She shut it quickly, leaving the harsh November chill outside and warmed herself in the fire-lit warmth of the dry goods store

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by Carrie Padgett



It is a truth universally acknowledged that an ill-tempered man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of killing.
Jane Austen probably never had to deal with a corpse! Antonia Burns stared at the purple, dead face of Eustace Perrin. Antonia had often fancied a parallel between her life and Austen’s Pride & Prejudice heroine Elizabeth Bennett–until this night. She’d left Eustace on the patio of Fresno’s Fig Garden Swim and Racquet Club for ten minutes, maybe twelve. Fifteen at the most.

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Tax Time Again

IN THE March 22 ISSUE

FROM THE 2014 Articles,
andMaria Ruiz,
andTerrific Tales
SECTIONS

by Maria Ruiz



It’s Tax Time again and, like every year, it brings back an old memory. Sometimes it feels as fresh as if it happened just last year.

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by Joel Fox



“The murder weapon,” the police officer said, holding the limp snake in his hands. The snake had repeating bands of red and yellow down the three-foot length of its body. The snake’s head was crushed and nearly flat.

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by Toni Goodyear



I hoisted the snare drum to my other shoulder. It was the drum my best friend Danny had played in the high school marching band, well and truly scratched but not faded, still a bright sparkling blue. He’d given it to me when he tired of it and decided to take up the trumpet.

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by Elaine Faber



The old woman, Broomtilda, took me in when I was a wee kitten and named me Tinkleberry. Her idea, not mine…
Over the years, as she grew frailer, it became difficult for her to find enough work around the village to buy bread and cheese. Were it not for the old cow in the byre, we would have no milk for my breakfast and Broomtilda’s dinner.

{ 3 comments }

by Elaine Faber



It was a dark and windy night?April, 1865. A man swathed in black, creeps down the hall, looks back, and then thrusts a derringer beneath the folds of his long dark cape. Perspiration dots his forehead as he approaches President Lincoln’s private box. His hand trembles as he turns the doorknob.

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by Barbara Eliasson



I feel like a fool, but wherever I go now, I glance over my shoulder and check: Is anyone–or anything–following me? It’s irrational, I know, but the whole thing was irrational. And what I find hardest is that I can’t decide whether I imagined it all…but then my body remembers and chills, my chest tightens, and once again, panicked, I’m struggling for breath–and I know I imagined nothing.

{ 4 comments }

Front Deck: Mystery Short Story

IN THE February 15 ISSUE

FROM THE 2014 Articles,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andTerrific Tales
SECTIONS

by A.B Emrys



All day he watched his neighbor pack her car. From his second-floor deck, he’d spotted her carrying out a box and then a suitcase. She looked hung-over. Then she came back lugging a printer box. He used his binoculars. Not a cheap printer. The car itself wasn’t that old. You could get maybe ten grand for it. She brought down another suitcase and rearranged cargo space again.

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by Guy Belleranti



Vicki Brockton sucked in a quick breath when she opened the front door and saw Sheriff Clay standing on the doorstep.
“Sorry to disturb you, ma’am, but….” Clay mopped beads of perspiration off his high forehead with a handkerchief and then craned his head around to look at the neighboring rundown homes, “Do you suppose we could talk inside, Ms. Brockton?”

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by Gary Hoffman


Maggie turned to see Richard’s expression as they approached the falls. She felt him pressing up against her just seconds before, but now he wasn’t there. She turned and looked the other way. “Richie?” A few people around her looked her direction, but Richie did not answer.

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