March 2, 2020 · 12:36 pm
Sometimes exposing the truth involves donning a disguise. But subterfuge and misdirection add spice to crime stories, and our current March/April 2020 issue is chock full of reversals and surprises. In “Night Train for Berlin” by William Burton McCormick, individuals at opposite ends of the political spectrum are equally threatened by two brutal regimes. In these pages you’ll find sleuths in the guise of an eighteenth century shipmate in Joan Druett’s “The Botanist” or a retired chemistry professor in Jim Fusilli’s “Albert January and His First Love.” An actor gets a job as an investigator at a plant where employees claim they’ve seen a ghost in Catherine Dilts’s “Industrial Gold,” while an aging actor is at the mercy of is his caretakers in Tom Savage’s “Best Performance.” Sheriff Ray is once again outsmarted by mystery writer Jennifer Parker in John M. Floyd’s Mississippi-set “Quarterback Sneak.” Martin Limón brings back his Army investigators in Korea in “Chow Hall.” A sheriff in the Australian outback goes to extraordinary lengths to protect a neighbor in “Something Off” by Michael Caleb Tasker. A parolee trying to get her life back together has the bad fortune to be the first on the scene of a crime in “The DQ Rules” by Chuck Greaves. A troupe of traveling ironmongers in Biblical times is caught in the fighting between the Kanaanites and the Israelites in Kenneth Wishnia’s “Bride of Torches.” Sheriff Gonzalo, in a small village in central mountains of Puerto Rico, comes to the aid of a woman whose neighbor is trying to take her land in Steven Torres’s “The Care of Widows and Orphans.” A hapless attorney is forced to represent a family running an illegal pearl operation in Robert Mangeot’s humorous tale “Lord, Spare the Bottom Feeders.” Hiring a hitman comes with an onerous contract in Larry Light’s “Scroll Down.” A precocious teen is the subject of bullies in Rachel Howzell Hall’s poignant story, “Little Thing.” These tales turn crime inside out in the guise of well-wrought fiction.
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Tagged as catherine dilts, chuck greaves, jim fusilli, joan druett, John M. Floyd, kenneth wishnia, larry light, martin limon, michael caleb tasker, robert mangeot, steven torres, Tom Savage, William Burton McCormick
December 20, 2017 · 1:45 pm
There’s always an extent to which crime is unexpected, except for the perpetrator—that is, if things go off as planned. It’s often the surprises, though, that make a great mystery story.
You don’t expect a killer to make an appearance at a holiday party, unfortunately for the revelers in Michael Nethercott’s “Sinners at Eight.” And when you’re a young, naïve bookstore clerk, you don’t expect that doing someone a favor will have the repercussions seen in Peter Sellers’ “Christmas Help.”
A corporate attorney doesn’t expect to take on a murder case for a former client in “Coroners Don’t Change Faces” by S. Frederic Liss. But the unemployed nephew of a Hollywood mogul does expect to do great things as a masked crime fighter in James Lincoln Warren’s sendup “The Chinese Dog Mystery.”
A homeless bum doesn’t expect to have a visitor in jail in Robert Lopresti’s “Train Tracks,” but it changes his life. While an unexpected visit from U.S. Postal inspectors confirms a young Navajo boy’s suspicions in David Hagerty’s “Fair Trade.”
In Marianne Wilski Strong’s “Louisa and the Lighthouse,” a beach stroll leads to the unexpected finding of a prized necklace, while the writings of Louisa May Alcott help knit together the clues. In Alex C. Renwick’s “Shallow Sand,” a beachcomber finds more than he expected with the help of a metal detector. An unexpected windfall brings trouble for a woman with a gambling bug in John M. Floyd’s “Scavenger Hunt.” And a seemingly chance purchase from a sidewalk vendor unexpectedly troubles long-buried memories in Janice Law’s “The Crucial Game.”
Plus we have two great (only to be expected) procedurals from John H. Dirckx (“Go for the Juggler”) and David Edgerley Gates (“A Multitude of Sins”).
Finally, this issue’s Mystery Classic is “Nebuchadnezzar” by Dorothy L. Sayers. The story was selected for us by B. K. Stevens, a life-long admirer of Sayers. Sadly B. K. Stevens died before she had a chance to write the introduction, though I know she chose it in part for its humor and because it’s one of the author’s lesser-known stories.
As always, our tales may take some unexpected turns, but you can always expect to find great crime fiction in these pages.
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Tagged as alex c. renwick, B. K. Stevens, David Edgerley Gates, David Hagerty, issue, James Lincoln Warren, Janice Law, John H. Dirckx, John M. Floyd, magazine, marianne wilski strong, michael nethercott, mystery, new issue, peter sellers, Robert Lopresti
June 23, 2017 · 10:00 am
The torrid days of summer are the perfect time to kick back and read, and our July/August issue is full of hot new fiction. From flaring tempers to the spiciest of chicken wings to a world baked by global warming, the characters in this issue brave it all.
A food-truck owner with the hottest wings in town and his off-duty security guard–customer deal with some unwanted heat in Robert Mangeot’s “Let It Burn.” Jay Carey returns with another distopian procedural set in a future Florida ravaged by global warming in “We Frequent the Moon Bar.” The heat of an office romance drives characters to make poor decisions in Cathryn Grant’s “Serious Damage.” And in our cover story, some minor league ball players are filling their off-hours by making an amateur movie when they learn of the drowning of a teammate in Chris Muessig’s “The Making of Velveteen Dream.”
Meanwhile, a rural gathering of southeast Asian drug warlords proves difficult navigating for a city-bred teen in R. T. Lawton’s “Merit Making.” A pit stop at a lonely diner puts small-town Mississippi sheriff Ray Douglas and mystery writer Jenny Parker conveniently close to the scene of a murder in John M. Floyd’s whodunit “Trail’s End.” O’Neil De Noux returns in noirish form with a new story about the 1940s New Orleans PI Lucien Kaye, “The Magnolia Murders.” Joseph D’Agnese offers an unusual Sherlockian tale, with Mycroft and Mrs. Hudson facing off in “A Respectable Lady.” And a former fur trapper struggles with settled life—and a murder—in Eric Rutter’s “Blood Debt.”
We warmly welcome two authors new to our pages this issue. Bev Vincent offers a tale of an unlikely superhero in “Pain-Man.” And Susan Breen introduces novice PI Maggie Dove as she tackles her first big case in “The Countess of Warsaw.”
Finally, Steve Liskow scores his second Black Orchid Novella Award with “Look What They’ve Done to My Song, Ma,” which once again visits the Detroit music scene for a new mystery involving the members of that hot new band, Promise.
So find a convenient pool, a cool beverage, and some shades because this issue’s stories are hot, hot, hot.
Filed under Awards, Uncategorized
Tagged as bev vincent, black orchid, BONA, cathryn grant, eric rutter, fiction, issue, jay carey, John M. Floyd, Joseph D'Agnese, Nero Wolfe, O’Neil De Noux, R.T. Lawton, robert mangeot, steve liskow, summer, susan breen
November 14, 2012 · 4:50 pm
John M. Floyd is a master of the tight, twisty tale that many people associate with Alfred Hitchcock. In this latest edition of How’d That Happen, John explains how his background and his imagination dovetailed in his story “The Long Branch,” appearing in our January/February 2013 issue. John’s stories have been collected in Rainbow’s End and Other Stories and Midnight, both published by Dogwood Press.
Back when I was working for a living, I spent a lot of my time in banks. Matter of fact, I spent almost all of my time in banks. For most of my thirty years with IBM, I was what was called an “industry specialist,” and my industry was finance. Specifically, financial software applications, which meant I worked with our clients to develop and install programs for their ATMs, check processing equipment, teller stations, etc. (Our clients used to be called customers; they morphed into clients at about the same time I morphed from systems engineer into industry specialist—but that’s another story.)
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