This July/August issue of EQMM’s 80th year is dedicated to the classical mystery. We’ve bookended several other whodunits with two set in libraries, an iconic setting for puzzle mysteries. Who better to kick it off than Gigi Pandian, a writer quickly establishing herself as a master of the locked-room mystery. She’s the author of the Accidental Alchemist and Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt series, and has won Agatha, Anthony, Lefty, and Derringer awards.
For her literary fiction, Joyce Carol Oates has been honored with the National Book Award, the National Humanities Medal, two O. Henry Awards, the Jerusalem Prize, and the Cinco del Duca World Prize. She’s also been writing crime fiction for several decades and received the International Thriller Award for an EQMM story!
Awasaka Tsumao was the pen name of Masao Atsukawa (1933-2009), known as the “Chesterton of Japan” because of his use of paradox and misdirection. His published work includes around sixty mystery novels and many short stories; the one we present here in English was his debut fiction (1975). He was the recipient of multiple literary awards and several movies were based on his works.
West Virginian John G. Wimer works as a mechanical engineer at an energy research laboratory. As to hobbies, he’s a former beekeeper– like Sherlock Holmes! His short fiction has previously appeared in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Dark Matter Magazine, and he won first-place awards in the 2014 and 2018 West Virginia Writers contests. This is his EQMM debut.
A Canadian currently studying writing at the University of Victoria, Elvie Simons has had stories in The Dark City Mystery Magazine, The Prairie Journal, Island Writer Magazine, and Selene Quarterly. Her EQMM debut is a classical mystery solved by the local doctor.
Two famous Icelanders team up: Ragnar Jónasson is the author of the internationally best-selling Dark Iceland and Hulda series, the former called by The Times (London) “a landmark in modern crime fiction.” Víkingur Ólafsson is one of the world’s most sought after pianists, called “Iceland’s Glenn Gould” by the New York Times. He was named Gramophone Artist of the Year 2019.
In addition to continuing his impressive output of top-notch short stories and his work as a solo novelist (see Hard Aground, 2018), Brendan DuBois has recently cowritten three best-selling thrillers with James Patterson (see 2020’s The Summer House). The New Hampshire author got his start in EQMM’s Department of First Stories more than thirty years ago.
G.M. Malliet’s last short story for EQMM, 2019’s “Whiteout,” placed third in that year’s Readers Award competition. Although she is an American, both of this author’s popular series (the first starring DCI St. Just and a later one starring former MI5 agent Max Tudor) are set in the U.K. Her fourth novel featuring St. Just is scheduled for release in October 2021.
Massachusetts native Mike Grimala moved to Nevada in 2012 to take a job as a reporter for the Las Vegas Sun. He’s won multiple Nevada Press Association awards for feature writing and news writing. In his first fiction he returns to the Northeast, with a haunting story that’s just in time for July Fourth.
Dave Zeltserman’s 2019 story “Brother’s Keeper” was nominated for both the Edgar Allan Poe and Macavity awards for best short story. It belongs to the Boston author’s substantial body of work in the hardboiled genre. He also writes traditional mysteries such as this story featuring series P.I.s Julius Katz and Archie. A previous entry in the series won the EQMM Readers Award.
Smita Harish Jain’s short stories have previously appeared in a variety of anthologies: Mumbai Noir, Chesapeake Crimes: This Job Is Murder, Virginia Is for Mysteries III, Magic Is Murder, Malice Domestic’s Murder Most Diabolical, and the Mystery Writers of America’s When a Stranger Comes to Town, edited by Michael Koryta.
Portland, Oregon author Tehra Peace works as a marketing copywriter, but much of her spare time is devoted to crime fiction. She’s co-founder of the webzine Mystery and Suspense (mysteryandsuspense.com), a fan publication featuring reviews, interviews, and feature articles, and since selling this gripping first story, she’s been at work on a domestic thriller novel.
Barbara Allan is the joint pseudonym of husband-and-wife mystery writers Barbara and Max Allan Collins. (Barbara’s solo short stories have been included in several best-of-the-year volumes and Max is a New York Times best-selling novelist and MWA Grand Master.) They’ve collaborated on fifteen novels in the Trash n’ Treasures mystery series, the latest of which is Antiques Carry On.
In 2020, Richard Helms received the Silver Falchion Award and a Shamus nomination for his novel Paid in Spades, featuring Pat Gallegher—a character who also appeared in the 2011 ITW Award- winning story “The Gods for Vengeance Cry,” from EQMM. 2020 also brought the author two Derringer nominations, one of them for his 2019 EQMM story, “The Cripplegate Apprehension.”
Joseph S. Walker is an academic focusing on contemporary literature and popular culture. He is also becoming a celebrated writer of short crime fiction. The following story is the never-before-published winner of the first annual Bill Crider Prize for Short Fiction. One of the author’s AHM stories, “Etta at the End of the World,” is currently nominated for the Edgar Allan Poe Award.
Kate Ellis is the winner of the 2019 CWA Dagger in the Library Award, which honors crime writers admired by U.K. library users. (Only librarians can nominate for the award!) The North Cheshire author has produced two long-running, successful series of thrillers, an historical mystery trilogy, and many short stories.
Janice Law is the author of two mystery series, the Edgar-nominated Anna Peters novels, starring one of the first fictional female private eyes (in the 1970s), and the more recent Francis Bacon mysteries, featuring the real-life Anglo Irish painter of that name. She has also authored several standalone novels and many acclaimed short stories.
Richard Dooling’s first novel, Critical Care, was made into a film directed by Sidney Lumet. His second novel, White Man’s Grave, was a finalist for the 1994 National Book Award. His third novel, Brain Storm, and his fourth novel, Bet Your Life, were both New York Times Notable Books of the Year. His short fiction has appeared in the New Yorker, Esquire, and elsewhere.
Jon L. Breen is one of mystery fiction’s leading reviewers and critics, a winner of Edgar and Anthony awards in the Best Critical/Biographical and Best Critical/Nonfiction categories, respectively. He’s also a fiction writer with ten novels and several short-story collections to his credit, most, like this story, traditional mysteries.