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A Foul Fate by Tressed Thread


During a literature festival in Chicago I bought and hauled a total of eight books, all of which I still have to read. The only one I've really made it through has been an Agatha Christie novel (The Mystery of the Blue Train) and a collection of short stories by H. G. Wells (The Magic Shop and The Inexperienced Ghost).

Now that I'm on winter break from collegiate classes, I figured I'd immerse myself in another collection of short stories I hauled. All 63 stories were selected by Alfred Hitchcock himself and are tales of suspense and mystery. At one point all of the short stories in the collection were published in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.

So far, one of the more memorable stories I've read is by Pauline C. Smith who spins the story of a girl's meeting with extended family after the death of her mother in "A Flower in Her Hair."

A Purposeful and Ominous Beginning, Middle, and End

At the start of my reading I was more curious about how flowers would work into the plot seeing as two characters, the red-headed Mary and oblivious Melinda start off the story with a tiring walk to a family member's (Aunt Abbie) eerie cabin.

Their traveling was so tiring that I even felt tired reading the story's start. However seeing how the story ended and what course it took, the beginning ties to the middle and end in plot and theme.

Concerning the middle and end, the star character really becomes Aunt Abbie although we start the story focused on Mary and how she is meeting family members for the first time.

After Mary and Melinda arrive at Aunt Abbie's we learn so much about this "spry" Aunt. Such as her knack for creating memorial items for dead family members. One of those items being a wreath made from the hair of the lost ones--the hair being used as thread.

Smith makes great use of characterization through diction as Aunt Abbie's character only gives off dangerous vibes--as anyone living in a secluded, dark cabin would. Aunt Abbie's hands were described as "clawlike" and were "curved" neither of those descriptions evoking gentleness of any kind. Plus Mary's constant discomfort also lends itself to the off-putting atmosphere that Smith builds.

Final Thoughts

Overall, this story was a great read that had my heartrate bolting. Smith artfully plots out a tale with characterization made to make readers anxious of its resolution. Also, the conflict between what the characters know and what the readers know also makes for a spine-tingling ending with a concern for justice.

I'm going to stop now since I don't want to spoil too much about this story but you can read this story by Smith in the collection entitled The Best of Mystery: 63 Short Stories Chosen by the Master of Suspense. It can be found on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Abe Books.

Take a second to comment and tell me about a really eerie family member of your own or if you've read any chilling tales lately.

Thank you for visiting my blog and until next time dear readers!


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