BLEEDING HEARTS: A collection of Thriller Stories by various Authors.
Editor: Alfred Hitchcock
In this write-up, I would like to share my views on a book and my memories about the editor. The book is a collection of 14 short stories, all chilly ones. ..’For a Shivery Delight’- the back cover says. Most of the people, who watch English Movies regularly, must be knowing Hitchcock. He is, perhaps the most popular director of thrillers. I would like to share with you a few incidents about Hitchcock’s life… ‘..Hero and Heroine are escaping from the villain. They reach a door. suspicious of the presence of the villain, they slowly open the door and peep in.’ Hitchcock’s classified comedy, suspense and thrill for this incident as follows:
1. If they open the door with lot of tension and then a cat meows and comes out, it is comedy.
2. If they half open the door and peep in to it and the camera moves around the room, that is suspense.
3. If they half open the door and peep in, only to realise that the villain is right behind them and peeping with them, that’s the thrill.
Note: I read about this incident long back (around 7,8 years back). So, I can’t present a perfect description.
The first story is-‘the play’s the thing’ by Robert Bloch. It has a good flow in it and a sudden turn in the end. ‘The Executioner’ by H.A. DeRosso is perhaps one of the best among the lot. It gives you a real jerk in the end. Unexpected to most…I should say.
‘Hidden Tiger’ by Michel Brett is the one in which you can solve the mystery (if there is any) by yourself! ‘The Sensitive Juror’ by Richard Deming has a shock awaiting you in the last line. ‘Fat Jow and Chance’ by Robert Alan Blair is an average story with small bit of mystery associated with it, but it does not make a good thriller. ‘Slay the Wicked’ by Frank Sisk is a long story about the facts that come out as a shock to his friend after his death, through his dairy. ‘In to the Morgue’ by Hal Ellson is a usual crime file stories seen in magazines and TV serials. ‘I’ll be loving you’ by Fletcher Flora is a sort of emotional one with a sentimental ending. ‘Motive: Another Woman’ by Donald Honig is perhaps the second best story among the lot. I have already seen and read a story by an Indian IAS man, which copied this. ‘The Brotherhood’ by Theodre Mathieson is the kind of story which has a bit of wierd end. ‘The Final Reel’ by John Lutz is, I rate, the best among the lot. The descriptions, the plot, everything is superb for this story. ‘Chimps ain’t Chumps’ by Talmage Powell is the last story of the book. It makes a good reading, but with little bit of common sense, one can answer the final question in it.
All the stories were written during the period 1958-1971. So, some times, the descriptions of the surroundings may not match to the contemporary world. On the whole, it makes a good first reading. I felt it will be more effective if we read from the last to first. Although what drives one towards this book is only the name-HITCHCOCK, some of the stories will stand on top above the Hitchcock image. If at any time, you find this book, don’t just pass away. Read atleast one story. anyway, you feel tempted to read the next, the next and the next. Well, of course, that’s the magic of thriller stories!
I will end with one more incident from Hitchcock’s life. Hitchcock has the habit of appearing at one place or the another in each one of his movies. Once, when a certain movie was released, there was a talk that he appeared no where. However, Hitchcock said that he did appear and announced a prize for whoever finds his identity in the film. No one found. Later it was revealed that, in the movie, at one instant, the hero sits on a bench reading a newspaper. In that page, there exists an advertisement of an obesity clinic with the picture of a man before and after treatment. Both the pictures are of Hitchcock!!! He did intentionally put on and put off some weight for the two pictures!