EQMM’s May/June issue opens with a powerful Valhalla story by eleven-time Readers Award winner Doug Allyn (“Big Blue Marble”), and we’re delighted to present, among the issue’s other varied selections, five puzzle mysteries. In Passport to Crime, a contemporary master of the classical mystery, Paul Halter, works his magic in a plot involving a string of arsons (“The Fires of Hell”). The Department of First Stories contains two whodunits: Sherry Lalonde’s tale of theft in a botanical garden (“Garden-Variety Criminal”) and Maaja Wentz’s story of murder in a pitch-dark restaurant (“Inside of a Dog”). For locked room fans there’s Carlos Orsi’s “The Glass Floor,” and R.T. Raichev’s Antonia Darcy fans are sure to enjoy “A Chronicle of Deaths Foretold.”
With colleges soon to let out, two stories remind us of the mischief summer jobs can lead to: Peter Sellers’s “The Cooler” and Steve Hockensmith’s “Where the Strange Ones Go.” Atmosphere is key in Benjamin Percy’s intriguing “Suspect Zero,” in which a body journeys atop a freight-train car, and in Tim Baker’s Black Mask entry “Fatal Fog,” in which death stalks the Italian countryside. Two short shorts, Susan Dunlap’s “A Day at the Beach” and William Hallstead’s “Booked,” feature cunning cops, and a P.I. and crook match wits in Richard Helms’s “The King of Gonna.”
Familial and romantic relationships prove the biggest mysteries in narratives by Bill Pronzini (“A Time of Fury,” a twisty revenge thriller), Hilary Davidson (“Answered Prayers,” a beware-what-you-wish-for tale); and Marjorie Eccles (“The Painter’s Wife,” a historical set in Bruges).
Two stories focus on outsiders and the haunting unintended consequences of isolation: Hollis Seamon’s “It’s Never Just the Wind,” set during an upstate New York winter, and E. Gabriel Flores’s “La Loca Bella,” set in the Dominican Republic.
Finally, don’t miss our review columns, a Stranger Than Fiction preview, and the 2017 EQMM Readers Award announcement!