"Red Roses For a Blue Lady"

This is my sixth story featuring Texas PI Helmut Erhard. (The first one, "The Yellow Rose of Texas," appeared in Michael Bracken's anthology, The Eyes of Texas. The second, "The Stopwatch of Death," was in Black Cat Mystery Magazine. The third, "The Great Filling Station Holdup," was in my same-titled Jimmy Buffet anthology. The fourth, "KLDI," was in Bracken's Mickey Finn: Volume 2. And the fifth, "The Vampire Shift," was in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.)

In this episode of the series, Helmut and Bonnie finally go on their first date -- but karaoke night at the Broken Stool is interrupted by a fight Erhard has to break up.

One problem with selling these stories to an assortment of different markets -- this is the first time that a Helmut story has appeared in a publication that previously ran an earlier one -- is that some of them have been published out of sequence, although they were written in sequence and, in my opinion, really ought to be read in sequence. After AHMM published "The Vampire Shift," though, the next one to appear in print was actually the ninth in the series, "Murder on the North Pole Express," which was printed as a standalone booklet by Crippen & Landru Publishers and given to their subscribers as a holiday gift in December 2022.

Anyway, if you want to read the series in order, "Red Rose For a Blue Lady" is number six.

Like each of the previous Erhard stories, this one features a truly massive Easter egg. I continue to be surprised that no one has as of this writing tumbled to the secret....

When it came out in October of 2023, "Red Roses For a Blue Lady" was my hundred and twelfth published short story. Since eleven of my stories have only appeared in Dutch and one only in Afrikaans, though, this one was my one hundredth piece of short fiction to be published in the English language!

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