Thursday, October 11, 2007

In Name Only

The really sharp-eyed observer of this page will note a small but crucial alteration to our lengthy right-hand column of Web links: Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine has suddenly become Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.

Actually, it’s sudden only on our part. The periodical itself has apparently gone back and forth in regards to the possessive form of its moniker, ever since the famed Master of Suspense after whom it takes its name died in 1980. Looking through a collection of past covers available as part of the Web’s Magazine Data File, it seems this digest-size publication changed its title to Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine in November 1992 … only to switch it back again as part of a redesign in June 1998. The monthly became Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine once more with the June 2003 issue, and has remained as such ever since. Yet confusion remains, reflected in the fact that the mag’s own Web site refers to it as Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, even though that’s not what the cover says.

We’ve gone through this nitpicking over titles once before, with AHMM’s sister journal, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. It was originally known as Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, after the two cousins who penned mystery stories under the Queen pseudonym. But in November 1992 it dropped the possessive form of its name, even though (as with AHMM) the managers of EQMM’s Web site seem not to have received the memo yet. Other sources continue to refer to it as Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, but we’re sticklers for exactitude here at The Rap Sheet (that’s what comes from years of copy editing), so will defy this convention. We think the cousins “Queen” and Hitchcock—all mavericks, in their own ways—would approve.

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