This was in an Alfred Hitchcock anthology, I think one of the paperbacks, that I read somewhere in the 1980s (although I suspect the book actually belonged to one of my aunts and was from the 1960s or earlier). I want to say that it was the first story in the anthology, directly following a foreword by Hitchcock where he relates a tale of a couple in an airport trying to use him to smuggle something (I remember this in part because I was confused about the change of characters at first). The protagonist is a detective investigating a murder in a rural area (or at least one with a forest nearby) that is purported to be the result of someone being abducted by a flying saucer with flashing lights, and which left a peculiar pattern burned in the skin of the victim. Over the course of the story, the detective comes to find out that the victim was murdered by fellow humans rather than aliens, and the marks were applied by a soldering iron, with the UFO spottings set up to divert attention from the murder.

Except, at the very end of the story, after confronting the malefactors, the detective happens upon an actual flying saucer, very similar to the one purported to have been seen before. I think either the story ended there, or he blacked out from the saucer, only to awake later with a greater mystery on his hands.


"A Singular Quarry" by Ed Lacy, which I read in Alfred Hitchcock's Rolling Gravestones.

Front cover of *Alfred Hitchcock's Rolling Gravestones*

Private investigator William Ash is hired to investigate the disappearance of a man following a series of UFO sightings, and the claim that alien bodies had been recovered from a nearby crash.

Found with a search for alfred hitchcock foreword airport smuggling, which brought up the Aflred Hitchcock wiki, which mentioned it was available via OpenLibrary. I got myself an electronic copy, and found the story in question (although it was later in the book than I remembered).

The details are also not exactly as I remembered them. The murdered man worked at a nearby Air Force base, and claimed he had witnessed for alien bodies being stored at the based. Shortly after he was fired, the day after a UFO sighting, he showed his girl a large piece of what looked like cloudy glass, and shortly thereafter, he started heading into town to sell diamonds he was apparently chipping off of it.

Ash sets up an ambush with the killer, but the killer gets the drop on him. After the killer has Ash at his mercy, he explains that he tortured the initial victim with a soldering iron to get the location of the presumed diamond mine. Then, there's a bright red light in the windows, and a great heat. The killer rushes out the door, there's a short scream, and when Ash gets free of his bonds and steps out of the shack:

Speeding up toward the stars was a large, spinning, red ball, rings of blue blinking on and off underneath it. It was going at such incredible speed that within a few seconds it looked like a red star. Then it vanished.

The killer has similarly vanished. Ash tries to forfeit his retainer, and then flees, knowing that he'll always be worried to wake up to a mysterious red light.

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