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November/December 2019

The November/December 2019 issue of EQMM is perfect for year-end reflection. Our Black Mask reprint (“Private War” by Roger Torrey) will have you thinking about the characters’—and perhaps your own—internal conflicts and motivations, as will “The Breakfast Club” by David Dean and “The Dutchy” by Doug Allyn, in which characters plumb the depths of their understanding of the “other side” of conflicts domestic and political.

Family dynamics and personal codes of justice rule the action in “A Little Happy Hunting” by Charlaine Harris,  “Fiction Addiction” by Christine Poulson, “Fathers-in-Law” by Twist Phelan,” and “Wrangled” by Doug Crandell. But cautionary notes are supplied by “The Final Stage” by Ingrid Oonincx (Passport to Crime) and “The Beige Skirt” by Joseph Goodrich, which show where playing by your own rules can get you.

Willie Cuesta reflects on his Cuban roots while helping a client find freedom from the past in “The Underground Man” by John Lantigua, and Nell Drury, in Amy Myers’s “Death and the Donkeys” is just looking for a day at the beach when her keen observations compel her to help solve a murder.

Characters must find their bearings in more than one sense in the twisty “The Island” by Elizabeth Zelvin and “None Of This Is On the Map” by Richie Narvaez, in which a reluctant young P.I. confronts his own losses to address a case. Loss also figures in “Three Calendars” by Angelique Fawns (a first story) and “Stray Dogs” by Matt Coleman (Black Mask department), where survivors grapple with the never-ending fallout from the murder of loved ones.

Classic motives—jealousy and suspicion—are at the heart of “The Drawings” by A.M. Porter (a first story), “The Chess Room” by Elizabeth Elwood (a locked-room mystery), and “That Which We Call Patience” by Anna Scotti (a first-in-series whodunit).

Speaking of classics, learn about Manfred B. Lee of the Ellery Queen writing team in an article by Joseph Goodrich, and don’t forget to vote in our 2019 Readers Award contest!

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Fiction

A Little Happy Hunting

by Charlaine Harris

Anne loved hunting season. When she’d begun her new life under a new name, she had established her legend: She’d been brought up to be at home in the woods. She and her sister had gone hunting with their father until Anne had joined the army. After she’d gotten out, Anne and her husband had hunted together every deer season, until his untimely death on the ski slopes.

A large percentage of that was fiction. Anne had never had a sister, had never known her father (or mother, for that matter), and she had never been married. It was true she’d been in the army. It was also true she’d always enjoyed hunting and was a very good shot.

No one in Colleton County needed to know that Anne was even better at close combat.

Today, the second weekend in hunting season, Anne DeWitt, Travis High principal, was having a very good day. Here she was, making her way through the woods, in glorious crisp weather . . . comfortable in her camo and boots, no makeup, her hair matted down by a knit cap. Anne loved being on her own with a rifle, a knife, and a gun. Just like old times. READ MORE

 
 

The Dutchy

by Doug Allyn

“Ma?” Jason called quietly down from the hayloft. “Riders coming. Cavalry.”

“Blue or grey?” Polly asked, forking another hill of dried manure into the wooden barrow. Fertilizer for their sparse garden.

“Union patrol,” Jason said. “Eight regulars, and a scout at the rear. Maybe that Meachum bastard.” Ten years old, the boy could rank Union and Reb troops at two hundred yards, reel off the weapons in their scabbards, powder or cartridge. But there was something uneasy in his tone. . . .

“One officer,” the boy continued. “That captain who was here before. The sickly one. His same old Dutchy sergeant with him. But, um—they got prisoners, Ma. Three men afoot, eatin’ dust at the rear, with nooses around their necks.”

Polly’s heart froze, cold as a rock in a riverbed. “Your pa? Is he among ’em?”

“I—can’t be sure, ma’am. Too much road dust. Don’t believe so, though. They’re in butternut brown, and Pa wouldn’t—nah. It ain’t him. I never seen these three.” READ MORE

Passport to Crime

The Final Stage

by Ingrid Oonincx

Huong was wearing her favorite nightgown, white, embroidered with little red roses. Mr. Li set her empty glass on the night table, took his wife’s timeworn hand, and stroked it. He spoke softly, his voice droning.

“Close your eyes, my dear, and think of the olden days. Feel the warmth, smell the orchids, gaze out across the rice paddies and let the river’s gentle current carry you. Time flowed slowly then, do you remember? Our life together was about to begin. The day you first held my hand, Huong, you rescued me. I felt as if I had been chosen. It was your love that gave me strength to face the terrible times. I knew from that first moment that I would do anything to protect you.”  READ MORE

Department of First Stories

The Drawings

by A. M. Porter

The man at the door holding Jake’s hand is still wearing his hard hat and reflector vest. His smile is inquiring but affable, as if the last thing he wants to do is startle her.

“This is your little boy, I take it,” he says. “You know, he’s really not supposed to be on the work site,” he adds helpfully. “It’s dangerous, aside from being prohibited.” He gives a little laugh. He doesn’t want to come across as

harsh. He probably has kids Jake’s age, or maybe he was fascinated by heavy machinery when he was a boy and thinks it’s why this one keeps going there. “I’m so sorry,” Rosie says, pulling Jake into the house. “Believe me, I’ve

already told him to keep out of there, and I thought his sister was watching him.”. READ MORE

Reviews

The Jury Box 

by Steve Steinbock

With the deadline for this issue fast approaching, new and interesting books kept landing on my desk, changing the lineup right up to the last moment.

Martin Edwards, Gallows Court, Poisoned Pen, $15.99. In a departure from his contemporary mysteries, the president of the Detection Club and former chair of Britain’s Crime Writers Association has penned a thriller set in 1930s London. Despite the violent “accident” of his predecessor, journalist Jacob Flint is following an investigative lead. Flint is convinced there’s a connection between a series of deaths and wealthy heiress Rachel Savernake. But is this woman a brilliant psychopath or a vigilante hero playing a dark game of moral chess? In the background is the world of aristocratic decadence in the period between the wars. READ MORE

 
 

Blog Bytes

by Kristopher Zgorski

The Book Trail (www.thebooktrail.com) is a site I only recently discovered, but boy do I wish I had known it was out there long ago. Imagine if each book had its own travel guide associated with it; that is what you get on this blog. Curated from submissions made by the public, each book has its own associated page, with the main focus of that being a Google map of the important areas featured in the novel. Map markers are placed for all the key locations so that readers can track the action as the plot jets off for new destinations. 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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