As fans of crime fiction, we love to wonder: What rules dictate human behavior, making some people stay in line and leading others to commit crimes? Several authors explore that mystery in EQMM’s July/August issue. Characters follow (or don’t) the bylaws of a retirement community in Timothy O’Leary’s “Made Men”; the code of organized crime, with its own concept of “staying in line,” is probed in David Dean’s “The Mercy of Thaddeus Burke”; the sway of superstition is examined in a new Billy Raskolnikov case by William Dylan Powell, “Curse of the White Armadillo”; and religious doctrine helps to create a dangerous character in the tense “Mahadevi” by Jane Haddam.
The institution of marriage forms a backdrop to eerie and deadly happenings in “The Pale Eyes of Winter” by Jane Jakeman, “Proof” by François Bloemhof (Passport to Crime), and “Last Call” by Gemma Clarke (Department of First Stories). And in three turning-point tales, it’s the fundamental beliefs of favorite series characters that are challenged: “Officer Down” by John H. Dirckx, featuring Detectives Auburn and Dollinger, “Classic Betrayal” by Amy Myers, featuring classic-car expert Jack Colby, and “The Lightness of Man” by Thomas K. Carpenter, featuring Ancient Roman Magistrate Ovid.
The halls of academia challenge accepted norms in less than scholarly ways in the “The Professor” by Janice Law, “English 398: Fiction Workshop” by Art Taylor, and the Black Mask Department’s “Hidden in Shadow” by Alaric Hunt. But it’s the laws that govern the fringes of society that come into play in the on-the-road story “Edgewise” by Louisa Luna and the pensive “Hotel Story” by Sigrid Nunez.
Highlights of this summer issue also include a new Nero Wolfe pastiche (“Post No Bulls” by Marvin Kaye), the latest Yorkshire police procedural by Edgar Award winner Peter Turnbull (“The Lost Contents”), and a wickedly twisty tale by 2018 Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster, Peter Lovesey (“Angela’s Alterations”).
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by Jane Haddam
If there was one thing Katha Morton was proud of, it was that she had proved her father wrong. Not that it mattered much, these days. Her father had been dead for sixteen years, and not even her brother could remember the sound of his voice. If anybody was going to remember anything about their father, it would definitely be Katha’s brother, David, who had always been their father’s absolute avatar of satisfaction. For a while in her earliest days at Vassar, Katha had taken up with consciousness raising and the meta-analysis of structural misogyny. READ MORE
by Thomas K. Carpenter
The Pharos of Alexandria reached like a pale fist into the thickening sky, defiant and unyielding, as the wine-dark sea crashed into the lighthouse’s bulwark, sending salty spray into Magistrate Ovid’s squinting face. The wind tugged at his robes, snapped the red and gold flags along the earthen mole. READ MORE
by Alaric Hunt
Miriam Weitz stopped at the open door, staring into the familiar office as Clayton Guthrie hung his coat on the wall rack and walked to his desk. Less than a year before, the little detective had fired her for busting a trap operation. She shot Jackson Carmichael, the overpriced socialite tax attorney Guthrie wanted for wife-beating and stalking. Weitz had laughed in the little detective’s face on her way out the door; she killed Carmichael because he tried to rape her. The little detective claimed she could’ve found another way out; his standards were impossible. READ MORE
Department of First Stories
by Gemma Clarke
Scott was slurping down an oyster when his cell phone began to buzz at his heart.
He put a finger up to excuse himself and fished it out of his shirt pocket, let the same digit hover over the screen for a moment. The photo that appeared when his wife called was from the distant past. She stood under the shade of a palm tree in a red bikini, smiling at him. The sight of it always loosened something in his chest. READ MORE
Passport to Crime
by François Bloemhof
Another evening, thinks Amanda Rossouw, lying on her big double bed and flipping idly through a magazine. This is the second time she’s paged past the same photographs, but it’s twenty past eleven and too late to drive to a gas station for new reading material.
That’s not why you’re staying in, she thinks. Don’t kid yourself.
What really keeps her inside, with all the doors and windows locked, is the knowledge that it was always at about this time of night that the murders had occurred. READ MORE
by Jon L. Breen
Different as they were as writers, few would deny that Georges Simenon and Donald E. Westlake each deserve a place in the crime-fiction pantheon. Two recent reprints demonstrate why.
In Simenon’s classic 1938 novel The Man Who Watched the Trains Go By (Penguin, $13), new translation by Sian Reynolds, the about-the-author blurb states that Simenon had retired Inspector Maigret “in order to make a name for himself as a literary writer and not just a creator of genre fiction.” READ MORE
by Kristopher Zgorski
The website currently on everyone’s mind is Crime Reads (crimereads.com), the new initiative from the folks behind Literary Hub. In a very short time, Crime Reads has proven itself to be the place to go for quality content from leading figures within our crime-fiction tribe. The masthead reads like a virtual who’s who from the crime-writing world and speaks to the caliber of the site’s curated content. READ MORE
by Dean Jobb
The realms of crime fiction and true crime have many intersections. Fiction writers often draw on real investigative techniques, police procedures, and even notorious crime cases in fashioning their stories, and, conversely, fictional sleuths and their methods have occasionally influenced the practices of actual police forces. READ MORE