This story in the latest Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine is stunning. As always with a Miki Hayden story, the prose is flawless, the characters are rich, and the plot will make you cry. This is another story in a series that I first noticed a few months back on my own blog. I hope to read many more stories in the series soon.
The series protagonist is Miriam, a immigrant from Ghana to New York City's Harlem. Though Miriam has been in the city many years, the way she perceives the city's habits and inhabitants provides a fresh look at a tired setting.
The plot is easily, but badly told - In this story, Miriam and the "second" wife of the family come across a "dump job". Nana, the 2nd wife, hopes Miriam will be able to solve the crime because she knows Miriam is smart and the murdered woman is so "pretty". Back in Ghana, it seems, a murdered woman might be a case the police ignore. Miriam is not about to let something like that happen. Soon enough she'll get to the truth, but will it be one she wants to hear?
The problem with the summary is that it leaves out how every turn in the story leaves some small laceration on Miriam, a character we feel for and with intensely.
The story is probably my favorite in a year of much reading. It is not for those who want to be left unaffected by what they read. It is more for those who want stories that make a lasting impression.