A California Magazine with Local Focus and Global Appeal:
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Weekly issues every Saturday morning and other special articles throughout the week — there's something for everyone. If you love mysteries — explore Mysteryrat’s Maze — and check out our sister site on Blogger for bonus articles.


Short Story

by Maddie Davidson


Jake swore loudly as he tripped over a rock and nearly fell. His legs felt like rubber, his back ached from carrying a fifty-pound backpack, and he had lost track of how many hours they had been hiking. Pausing to catch his breath, he watched Alicia bounding ahead of him on the path as assuredly as a mountain lion stalking her prey.

{ 1 comment }

by Alan Cook


When George pulled his beat-up Toyota into his mother’s driveway, there was a shiny new car already parked there he didn’t recognize. Then he saw the “T” logo and realized it must be a Tesla. His twin sister, Georgia, had to be here already. Teslas weren’t big in this town. She must have rented it when she flew in from the East Coast. Could you even rent a Tesla in Nowheresville?

{ 2 comments }

by Kate Fellowes


“What do you think happened here?” Officer Robert Packard asked, gesturing to the remains of a blaze, recently extinguished.
Fire hoses spread across the parking lot of Al’s Auto Parts. Smoke drifted into the air

{ 2 comments }

by Madeline McEwen


Archibald Brown, a chimney sweep, had retired in the very last house on Windermere Lane deep in the heart of the Devonshire countryside in England. Living alone in the village of Lustingleigh, he rarely, if ever, had the opportunity to welcome a visitor and share any of his many memories, what his dearly departed wife called, “Tall tales,” like the time he had a brush with a golden opportunity.

{ 2 comments }

by Nina Mansfield


The beach was so crowded it was hard for Alex to find a spot for her thighs. The debate played out in her head—sit closer to the parking lot or closer to the water. Where would the glare from her thighs be less blinding? She planted her beach chair on a patch of sand not far from her car, and regretted it later, when, after just a few minutes in the sun, she had overheated and needed to take a dip. She had to waddle on the rocky sand past the group of men, who she couldn’t quite decide if they were straight or gay.

{ 4 comments }

by Guy Belleranti


The writer’s dinner was in full swing when I leaned close to Chelsea Yates and told her I felt ill and had to leave.
“Oh, Amanda, must you?” Chelsea’s hazel eyes fastened on me, disappointment clouding her face.
Afraid so, Ms. Perfect Mystery Writer, I wanted to say, but didn’t. I had something better planned for her, something that would put a little crimp in her pocketbook, and a bulge in mine.

{ 3 comments }

by Will Zeilinger


The last thing I needed was to wake up to a yapping dog. Not on the morning after St. Patrick’s Day. I hadn’t thrown a party like that since my college days and the hangover I had was a killer. I managed to get both eyes open and drag my sorry ass out of bed to find out what was getting Lardass worked up.

{ 3 comments }

Old #32: Mystery Short Story

IN THE March 4 ISSUE

FROM THE 2017 Articles,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andTerrific Tales
SECTIONS

by Gary Hoffman


I got my job as a batboy with the Pine City Pinkies not because my old man was somebody important, but because I didn’t have one. Most batboys are hired because their old man knows someone or is an important person in the community. Mine left me and my mom when I was two years old. May 13, 1950, was the date he bailed out for “parts unknown to seek his fortune.” Mom still gets dumpy when that date rolls around every year.

{ 3 comments }

by Gail Farelly



He’s the worst, the absolute worst. I’ve always hated bullies, and he’s no exception. His name is Bob; to me, he’s Bully Bob. He’s in a bad mood tonight. So what’s new? When he’s in a bad mood, that’s bad news for me. I have to pay the price. He manhandles me, as he sees fit and really pushes my buttons. Hard. Much too hard. I’m amazed that all my parts are still in working order. I only wish that his weren’t.

{ 9 comments }

She Always Stopped: A Short Story

IN THE February 18 ISSUE

FROM THE 2017 Articles,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andTerrific Tales
SECTIONS

by Selika Maria Sweet


Gracie Lou crossed the Pearl River Bridge on the way from her hangout, the coffee shop in Jackson, Mississippi, across from the medical center. It occurred to her that the bridge separated more than just the cities of Jackson and Pearl; crossing it was like going across a racial twilight zone. Jackson was mostly African American and Pearl was mostly white.

{ 6 comments }

by Andrew Welsh-Huggins


He breezed into the restaurant fifteen minutes late with a rush of apologies, his cologne strong and his distraction stronger.
Traffic was such a bitch. I’m so sorry.” He made a show of crossing over to kiss her on the cheek even as she was still rising from her chair, as though oblivious to what people in the crowded restaurant thought. Out of the corner of her eye she saw more than one woman send an approving glance their way.

{ 6 comments }

by Elaine Faber


“You never have a handkerchief when you need one. Here, take mine.”
Agnes shaded her eyes and looked up. Godfrey Baumgarten? How long has it been? The years zipped away as the flickering light played across the man’s face. She took his handkerchief, dabbed her eyes and blew her nose. She stumbled to her feet and stared at the tall, distinguished, grey-haired gentleman grinning down at her with the same rakish smile she remembered too well.

{ 5 comments }

by James Callan



He stood facing Mr. Sambici. Rico never sat in this office. He came in, got his orders, and left. Usually, he said little more than “yes, sir,” or, “No, Mr. Sambici.” Once, he said, “I’m sorry, Mr. Sambici. It won’t happen again.”

{ 1 comment }

by Guy Belleranti




Janice Dillon flinched as Tony Rosaro charged past her and out the door of Kim Brennan’s half of the duplex.
“Help…murder!” Janice cried, running into the yard.
Tony swung a wild glance back in her direction, then jerked open the door of his red sports car and piled inside. Once…twice the engine sputtered. Then it died.

{ 4 comments }

Stung: A Mystery Short Story

IN THE January 7 ISSUE

FROM THE 2017 Articles,
andMysteryrat's Maze,
andTerrific Tales
SECTIONS

by Charles West


There was a dead body in the tractor shed. It had to wait, however, until the Friant Police Department and the Friant County Sheriff’s Department figured out who it belonged to. The tractor shed was at the center of a small fig orchard. No one was sure if the property, and therefore, jurisdiction belonged to the city or the county. Unlike television and movie law enforcement officers, actual police do not engage in turf battles over dead bodies. No one wants another potentially unsolved murder case damaging their statistics.

{ 1 comment }

by Linda Cahill


Sean Clark slammed his hand on the desk and raced out of his office cubicle. “Shut that damn thing off.”
The man with the vacuum froze. “Yes, yes.”
Sean tapped his watch. “You’re not supposed to start until six!”
The vacuum continued to whine.

{ 8 comments }

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