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A to Z Reviews: “The Hat in the Hall,” by Jack Iams

A to Z Reviews: “The Hat in the Hall,” by Jack Iams

A to Z Reviews

Jack Iams published “The Hat in the Hall” in the August 1950 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and it is an example of a story that has dated poorly. Set in the aftermath of a cocktail party in which Charles and Jane Mattson are cleaning up the mess left behind, Iams describes the couple emptying ashtrays, finding hats left behind by their guests, and, most egregious, commenting that one of their friends, Jim, is “a pretty careful driver, even when he’s stewed.”

Although the party is a success, it was also loud, which is why Charles stopped by their next door neighbor, Mrs. Oliver, to apologize the next morning. Oliver had called to complain about the noise a couple of times during the party, but it was only during his visit that Charles realizes that they were holding the party on the anniversary of her husband’s death. What surprised Charles was Mrs. Oliver’s explanation that her husband’s ghost always visited her on the anniversary of his death, but the noise from the party seemed to have kept him away.

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