This review is written with a GPL 4.0 license and the rights contained therein shall supersede all TOS by any and all websites in regards to copying and sharing without proper authorization and permissions. Crossposted at WordPress, Blogspot, & Librarything by Bookstooge’s Exalted Permission
Title: Rolling Gravestones
Author: Alfred Hitchcock (Editor)
Rating: 3 of 5 Stars
Genre: Crime Fiction
From the Inside Cover
ALFIE DOES HIS THING
The only grass that Alfred Hitchcock gets high on is the kind that grows in the cemetery, and the only acid that blows his mind is the sort that can be thrown in someone’s face. Diabolical death is Alfie’s special kick, and he wants you to enjoy it, too. For that purpose, he’s harvested a brand new crop of terror tales, and served them up to you with grisly relish. Here is the master’s personal choice of fifteen spine-chilling spellbinders.
Introduction by Alfred Hitchcock
A PLACE TO VISIT
CALL ME NICK
DEAD STOP ON THE ROAD SOUTH
HENRY LOWDEN ALIAS HENRY TAYLOR
THE ENORMOUS $10
FIRST COME, FIRST SERVED
THE EXPLOSIVES EXPERT
I HATED THE HIRED MAN
H. A. DeRosso
A SINGULAR QUARRY
SLEEP IS FOR THE INNOCENT
SORRY, RIGHT NUMBER
FREE ADVICE, INC.
A SWEET YOUNG THING
Mary Linn Roby
THE PRICE OF FAME
This was just a very weird read. Not in a Twilight Zone, throw you a curveball kind of weird, but a plain old fashioned weird that actually kind of creeped me out. Some stories DID have a twist but enough didn’t that it kept me on my toes. I must say that psychologically speaking, Alfie played me like a bassoon.
Two of these stories stood out to me above the rest.
The first, A Place to Visit, dealt with a Straight Arrow dying, going to hell and partying it up with naked chicks and having the time of his life. The devil tells him that unfortunately, Straight Arrow has been too good and so he’s going to be sent up to Heaven, with all the clouds and harps. It’s also where his wife is planning on going, so Straight Arrow will be with her. Oh the horror! BUT! The devil tells him that the devil can make a deal with him. The devil will revive Straight Arrow for five minutes and all he has to do is kill his wife, so she’ll go to heaven and Straight Arrow will go to hell and back to partying with naked supermodels. Straight Arrow takes the deal and the story ends with rather predictable results. I have to admit that I laughed my head off when Straight Arrow learns the truth and has the floor literally pulled out from under him, plunging him into the burning stygian pits of hell. Despite the rather “questionable” theology, it was a really good story. Now I’ve ruined it for everyone else but come on, who couldn’t see that ending? No deal with the devil ever turns out good.
The second, Sorry, Right Number fit my misanthropic self like a glove. It was about two couples, one older and one younger, that have to share a party line for their telephone. If you don’t know what a party line is, go google it. It will build character. Well, the old lady is always hollering at the younger couple whenever they try to use the phone to the point where they’ve learned to pick up the receiver without making any noise. The younger husband does this one day and over hears the older husband making plans to murder his wife because of reasons. The younger husband shares the info with his wife and they debate what they should do. The younger husband finally decides that they need to call the police. When he picks up the line the old wife is on the telephone and chews him out for “listening” to her conversation. So he hangs up and lets nature takes it course. How great is that?!?!?
While those two were the highlights, none of the others were duds. Alfie chose well with these set of stories and I enjoyed them. The main reason I gave this only 3 stars is that the book as a whole didn’t pop for me and I don’t ever plan on re-reading this. A great filler and something different, but not something grand or great.
On a side note (I was going to say tangential, but there’s nothing tangent about it), there’s a certain blogger who usually asks if that is him on the cover, or me, or some such thing. I’ve decided to take a pre-emptive approach this time. Dix, you are the gravestone and I am the motorcycle. Alfie is of course Alfie. With that out of the way, I can now cogitate the important things, like why Ken is always arraying himself against mortals like Sir Otsy. No fear of me ever running out of things to learn.