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Current Issue Highlights

September/October 2022

EQMM’s September/October issue ushers in autumn with specters of all kinds. In “No Peace for the Wicked” by Martin Edwards, a dead woman hovers around those left behind to discover her killer. We welcome a lively skeleton to our pages with the EQMM debut of Leigh Perry’s series character Sid in “The Skeleton Rides a Horse,” set amongst fans of a TV Western. Ghosts appear within another fan community (those obsessed with the Black Dahlia), in Paul D. Marks’s “The Wraith of Bunker Hill.” John Dziuban’s “Down the Mine” (Department of First Stories) involves a haunting—or is it an hallucination? Series sleuth Santa Ezerina unravels the mystery of strange lights in the sky in “The Celta Wave Conundrum” by William Burton McCormick, and a mythical creature of the night appears to stalk victims in Jane Jakeman’s “The Edinburg Vampire.”

If you prefer more solid, less fantastical ground, you’ll enjoy the hunt in “The Hideout” by Bernard Onken (Black Mask department), “Dogs in the Canyon” by Mark Harrison (Department of First Stories), and “Sound Moral Character” by Hal Charles. Being watched or tracked isn’t always bad, though, as we find in “The Light on the Lagoon” by Elizabeth Elwood.

In Art Taylor’s “We Are All Strangers Here” and Anne Swardson’s postwar tale “Uncaged,” the point-of-view characters may each have figured out the perfect murder, while in “Police Technique” by Pierre Very (Passport to Crime) the culprit only thinks he’s got everyone stumped by the seemingly impossible crime.

Elsewhere, despite the good they try to do, protagonists find danger lurking, as in Twist Phelan’s “The Kindness of Strangers,” the story of two night-clubbing teens; David Dean’s “Deconstruction,” involving construction-site graft; Joseph S. Walker’s “Cleaning Day,” about an interfering aunt; and “Publish or Perish” by Smita Harish Jain, focused on a grab for academic research.

Speaking of academic matters, who determines the correct pronunciation of a word? Read about a real dispute over a word that led to murder in Dean Jobb’s column Stranger Than Fiction. And don’t miss our Jury Box or Blog Bytes columns either!

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FICTION

The Wraith of Bunker Hill 
by Paul D. Marks

I was in some kind of purgatory, trying to find my way in this in-between state that I’d found myself in. I still wandered the City of Angels in a state of confusion. I wandered, but I wasn’t alone. I could feel John Fante’s Bandini and Raymond Chandler’s Philip Marlowe at my side. Sometimes I thought I could feel Fante and Chandler there too. You might say they aren’t real, but they’re real to me. I know they’re there. And I didn’t wander all the time. Mostly I kept an eye on my best friend, Howard Hamm, watching over his shoulder. READ MORE


The Edinburgh Vampire
by Jane Jakeman

Edinburgh, 191
It was a pleasant little private park, attractive to the owners of the fine houses backing onto it. Or rather, it would have been pleasant, were it not for the ominous long shape stretched out behind a clump of rhododendrons.

“I jus’ found her, right here,” gasped Angus McQuarry, the park keeper. He was still shocked, as well he might have been, for the thin young girl lying before the police officers was extraordinarily pale, as white as an alabaster monument. The face, the breasts, the thighs seemed quite unearthly, outlined against sable-black in the early-morning-light. READ MORE

PASSPORT TO CRIME

Police Technique
by Pierre Véry

To Professor Edmond Locard, who solved the mystery considerably more quickly than Prosper Lepicq. 

Next to the road running alongside the Fresnes prison, which bore the symbolic name of l’Avenue de la Liberté, children were throwing stones into the oily waters of La Briève river and shouting with glee.

Annoyed, the policeman closed the window. He was heavyset, and his habit of suddenly raising his head was reminiscent of a bull. READ MORE

BLACK MASK

The Hideout
by Bernard Onken

There’s no sound but the chuk chuk chuk as he scuttles over loose rocks on the track bed. Running in the dead dark, a mizzle of freezing rain on his face. Your optimal for cover, this kind of night. Pinky wouldn’t be out here sniffing his trail anyway, not yet. But even if. Chuk chuk chuk. Then he’s off the tracks and following the chain-link fence along the self-storage’s back wall. Still no lights. He did his homework. Doing your homework pays off, Pasquale. You can put that in the paper. READ MORE

DEPARTMENT OF FIRST STORIES

Down the Mine
by John Dziuban

Steven stood in the dirty gravel lot, staring at the sealed entrance of the defunct coal mine. He’d run straight here after the bell rang at the middle school to see for himself what Klingensmith told Steven he found there over the weekend. Klingensmith hadn’t really been able to answer any of Steven’s questions about it, and anyway, Klingensmith was one of those types of dudes who carries a skateboard around with him everywhere he goes but nobody’s ever seen him ride it, so he wasn’t exactly a reliable source. READ MORE

NONFICTION AND REVIEWS

Jury Box
by Steve Steinbock

When I heard about the Apple+ TV series Slow Horses based on the novels of Mick Herron, I was excited to realize this was the same Mick Herron whose short stories have appeared in EQMM since 2006. I don’t intentionally show favoritism, but I enjoy reading novels by writers whose short work has appeared in EQMM or our sister magazine, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. In addition to Herron’s latest spy thriller, this installment of The Jury Box includes reviews of debut novels by Tom Mead and Joseph Goodrich, who have both graced our pages in the past. Both Goodrich’s and Mead’s novels are historical mysteries, as are several other books reviewed below. READ MORE


Blog Bytes
by Kristopher Zgorski

It will come as a surprise to no one that the National Public Radio (NPR) website (npr.org/books) is a great place to find information on a wide variety of books. Readers will find a collection of book reviews of single titles, along with some reviews that group books together under artificial topics such as Summer Reads, Translations, or Black Feminism. NPR has a core group of excellent book reviewers like Maureen Corrigan and Gabino Iglesias as well as occasional guest reviewers who always provide great insights. Some of the books will have been covered on the Fresh Air radio portion of NPR as well. READ MORE


Stranger Than Fiction: Preview
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

 

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