Henry Slesar wrote more than 40 stories that were chosen for the classic television show, Alfred Hitchcock Presents.
Irony, not suspense, is the key ingredient in the nineteen stories by Slesar offered in this collection. While irony often seems a by-product of cynicism, Anatole France called it "the last phase of disillusion." For Hitchcock and his writers, irony, not just suspense, was the basis of storytelling, along with its two constant companions: humor and pity.
Hitchcock first spotted Slesar’s work in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. The story, entitled "M Is for the Many," became an episode called "Heart of Gold." A lonely, orphaned young man just out of prison calls on the family of his cellmate. They "adopt" him and he is happy for the first time in his life until he learns that their kindness is directed toward finding out where his cellmate hid the money he stole.
In his introduction Henry Slesar says, "Hitchcock always appreciated a good joke. He also appreciated a good story. I have never needed a more gratifying commendation than the fact that he liked the ones in this book."
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Francis M. Nevins, Jr., Professor at the St. Louis University School of Law, received the Mystery Writers of America Edgar Allan Poe Award for Criticism.
Martin H. Greenberg, on the faculty of the College of Community Services at the University of Wisconsin, Green Bay, is the editor or author of more than 100 books.
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