EQMM’s May/June 2022 issue celebrates Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and the spring season with signature mystery and mayhem. In “The Manglik Curse” by Smita Harish Jain, a daughter tries to bend her parents’ marriage traditions and her astrological fate to her will; in “Phoney Friend” by Peter Turnbull, a community must come to terms with the death of three unpopular sons and the legacy of their father; in “Lucky Stars” by Readers Award winner Karen Harrington, a father’s distance puts a daughter in danger from her temporary guardian.
The challenges of motherhood are at the forefront in Sheila Kohler’s poetic “A Secret Country,” “The Investigation,” by Adrienne Celt, and “The Bridge” by Twist Phelan. And fatherhood takes center stage in “The King’s Ferret,” a historical by David Dean.
Doug Allyn’s “Blind Baseball,” a quest story, brings in family, plus friends who are as tight as family; in “Pedro Antão’s Glasses,” a nephew speculates about his mysterious uncle’s final actions; characters in the Black Mask department’s “A Complicated History” by Daniel C. Bartlett navigate the complex tragedies of strained family relationships, and brotherly and spousal relations turn deadly in “A Philosophical Difference” by Joseph Goodrich and “The Thesaurus of Love and Death” by Sharyn Kolberg, respectively.
More straightforward motives are revealed (by classical detection) in “The Artist Will Not Be Present,” a case for P.I. Martin Wade by Libby Cudmore, “The Doctor Who Fell Into Sin” by Anne van Doorn, and “Dead Man’s Gorge” by Michael Bracken, while some truly amateur sleuths uncover a hornet’s nest in “I Believe in You” by Jeremiah K. Balko (Department of First Stories).
You’ll be outdoors this spring too, but that proves hazardous for characters in “Blue Sky” by Andrew Bourelle, “The Natural Order of Things” by Sylvia Maultash Warsh, and “Runner” by Tyler Fiecke (Department of First Stories).
Our readers are important to us, and in this issue we present the winners of the 2021 EQMM Readers Award!
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by Doug Allyn
The roadside bomb was a beauty. Neatly wired, compact. First-rate workmanship. Good. Every tech’s nightmare is getting blown away by some kid’s cobble job.
This unit was cached in a schoolboy’s backpack, hidden under a cardboard box by the roadside. Four bricks of Semtex wrapped with duct tape, with its trigger—no, two triggers in plain view. The wiring was laid out in straight lines, the soldered joints sheathed in shrink tubes. Precise, professional work.
All good. And yet— READ MORE
by Karen Harrington
Milton says to me, “It’s been a long day. Get on over here and wash my feet.”
“Milton, I’m not.”
“This ain’t no negotiation. Remember last time?”
I get the bucket and fill it with soap and water. Because I remember last time.
When the filthy job is done, he says to get him some cold iced tea to drink. He sits outside like a king with bare feet. Says he likes to feel the grass underfoot. What I do is carry the bucket to the kitchen. I make him an iced tea with the dirty feet water, half and half. It’s hard not to laugh when I watch him down his own grit. READ MORE
Passport to Crime
by Machado de Assis
Close to three years ago I received the following letter from my friend José Mendonça:
“Pedro. Today I received the keys to my uncle’s house; I’m going to inspect it. Would you care to go with me? Don’t think it’s because I’m afraid to enter alone; it’s because I know of your interest in penetrating mysterious matters. And nothing is more mysterious than the house of my famous uncle. Come at noon. Yours, Mendonça.” READ MORE
by Daniel C. Barlett
I had no idea people like Domingo existed until he showed up at my apartment and invited himself in to stay. Domingo wasn’t someone you refused. And back then, as an eighteen-year-old kid who’d been kicked out of college and then my parents’ house, I wasn’t good at telling anyone no. We both worked at Sal’s Grocery, a meat market where he trained me to grind, mix, and stuff sausage into tubes. READ MORE
Department of First Stories
by Jeremiah K. Balko
“It would require someone else believing in my stuff, and that just hasn’t happened yet,” I said, only semi woe-is-me. She had asked me why I hadn’t “hit it big yet,” and I gave an honest answer to the playful question, like I do, just to spiral a bit.
“I believe in you,” she said. She stirred the sauce or whatever it was steaming in the smaller pot.. READ MORE
Nonfiction and Reviews
by Steve Steinbock
I’ve been working my way through the works of Ellery Queen, especially the early novels, which include the Barnaby Ross tetralogy. So my mind has been tuned in to the motifs, settings, and plotting devices that Dannay and Lee brought to their books and the genre. This month I was taken by surprise when the first book in our lineup, by an author I would have never associated with Queen, revealed many characteristics similar to a classic Queen novel. READ MORE
by Kristopher Zgorski
Every Read Thing (https://everyreadthing.com/) is the book-review blog from Brandon Sears. As the name implies, Brandon does not read everything, but he does enjoy talking about the books he has read. Brandon’s reviews are the ideal length—not so long that he is required to give away unnecessary details or pad the review with flowery language, but long enough to give readers a sense of the book’s genre, style, and winning attributes. 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