“Murder on Indiana Avenue” by Andrea Smith – selection #51 of Deal Me “IN” 2016

The Card: ♦J♦ Jack of Diamonds

The Suit: For this year’s Deal Me IN, Diamonds is my suit for Stories by Contemporary Indiana Authors.

The Selection: “Murder on Indiana Avenue” from my copy of the short story anthology “Decades of Dirt” – a production of the Speed City Chapter of Sisters of Crime.

The Author: Andrea Smith (pictured above from a reading at Bookmamas Bookstore), an Indianapolis writer who was born in Chicago, and who I’ve read once before, in the “Hoosier Hoops and Hijinks” anthology.

img_6202What is Deal Me “IN” 2016? I’m glad you asked! Before the start of each year, I come up with a list of 52 stories to read and assign each of them to a playing card in a standard deck. Each week, I draw a card, and that is the story I read. By the end of the year (52 weeks), I’m done, and ready to start a fresh deck. (For a more detailed explanation of the Deal Me In challenge, see the sign up postlegacy project seal of approval 2For a look at my deck of cards/storyroster click here.) Since 2016 is my home state’s bicentennial, in this year’s edition of my annual Deal Me In challenge, I’m reading only stories that have an Indiana “connection” of some kind. The 2016 iteration of Deal Me “IN” is also a “Legacy Project” officially endorsed by The Indiana Bicentennial Commission!

Murder on Indiana Avenue

“The yellow brick Walker Building was shaped like a slice of pie. Set on an angle right at the tip of Indiana Avenue, the four-story structure took up a huge chunk of the street.”

(image above found at stenzcorp.com)

Eve and Gabriel Dawson are a jazz musician/singer couple from Chicago, in town (Indianapolis) to perform at the Stardust Theater.  The club is run by a friend of theirs, Lester Sanders, and their appearance at his club is kind of a mutual favor for both parties. When they arrive, they awkwardly walk in on a confrontation between Lester and some unsavory types.  Their friend subsequently waves it off as nothing, but sure enough, later in the evening their performance is interrupted when the police swarm the club investigating a murder, and Lester is their prime suspect!

Eve and Gabe proceed to do some amateur detective work of their own, enlisting the aid of an attorney whose office is also in the Walker Building. A couple twists and turns later and they have their man.

I’ve never been a big reader of mysteries, so don’t feel that well qualified to rate them. I do think it must be incredibly hard to write an effective one in just about 20 pages, but the stories I’ve read from the two anthologies produced by the Speed City (Indianapolis) Chapter of “Sisters of Crime” seem to be able to pull this off.

What are some short story format mysteries that you have read? Any you’d care to recommend to me?  Deal Me In 2017 is just around the corner…


  1. Dale said,

    December 12, 2016 at 11:13 am

    I’m not as big of a fan of Sherlock Holmes as many are, but I’ve enjoyed the stories I’ve read involving him. G. K. Chesterton’s Father Brown mysteries are enjoyable too, but it’s mostly Chesteron’s way with words that I like and not necessarily the plots.


  2. hkatz said,

    December 19, 2016 at 2:49 pm

    It’s amazing how well some writers can create a compelling mystery in so few pages. I’ve tried traditional detective mystery short story writing and haven’t yet succeeded in something I’d want to show the public 🙂 I agree it’s incredibly difficult to do without coming across as too predictable, or leaving out too much information. Plus creating characters and a situation people can care about…


    • Jay said,

      December 20, 2016 at 1:08 pm

      Yes, I’d imagine the “degree of difficulty” in writing a mystery in “inversely proportional” to the length of the story. 🙂

      Regarding characters and situation, I guess that’d apply to all short stories as well. On the other hand, I head a quotation once that went something like, “You cannot write the perfect novel, but you CAN write the perfect short story.” I wish I could remember now where I read it – I tried googling it but didn’t see anything quickly.


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