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March/April 2020

EQMM’s spring issue has us thinking about time. A stunning novella by Joyce Carol Oates shows how we may experience distortions of time itself. Two of our featured pieces keep time in meter: “Here in Tremonia” by Karr & Wehner (from the Passport to Crime Department), an homage in song, and “Of Clues and Clerihews” by Richard Stout, several small poems. And several narrators share how they spend what might be their very last moments, in “Final Thoughts” by Susan Salzer, “A Little Help From My Friend” by John Dobbyn, and “Active Shooter” by Jack Bunker.

The puzzler “The Eleventh Commandment,” the suspenseful P.I. tale “In the War Zone of the Heart,” and the legal mystery “Kidneys” (by Paul Charles, John Lantigua, and Rebecca Cantrell, respectively) explore family dynamics, while “Ghost Cat” by Hal Charles, “Bones” by Bill Pronzini, and Ariel Dodson’s haunting first story “Ding Dong Bell” explore the lines some are willing to cross for—and against—family.

The fanciful “Auguste Didier and the Mad Hatter’s Hats” by Amy Myers and the clever “Lady Luck” by Peter Lovesey take us on travels—back in time in the former and to exotic Marrakesh in the latter.

The personal pursuits of characters lead to creative ways to make a buck—for better or for worse—in “Like a Lightning Bolt” by Dave Zeltserman, “One Too Many” by Edith Maxwell, and “Run Rosie Run” by Preston Lang.

Make EQMM one of your pursuits. Take some time for stellar short crime fiction today!

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The Eleventh Commandment

by Paul Charles

So he was found in the garage?” Kennedy mused, as much to himself as to D.S. Dot King.

Kennedy was walking to and fro in a cold two-bay garage, in what he imagined was a break-through renovation of two terraced houses and a garage into one dwelling on the crenellated-styled Clarence Way in Camden Town. The fingers of his right hand were flexing furiously, as they always did when he came into close contact with a corpse for the first time.

The Ulster-born-and-bred detective stopped in the centre of the garage and dug his hands deeply into the pockets of his dark blue Crombie overcoat. Perhaps he was attempting to stop one of them flexing so much, or perhaps he was just doing this subconsciously to help him concentrate better. He then very slowly turned through 360 degrees, his eager green eyes scanning the contents of the garage the way a tramp might rummage in a rubbish bin—considering all before him, item by item, for use or nourishment. READ MORE


Cardiff, by the Sea

by Joyce Carol Oates

In the dark, smelly place beneath the sink. Behind the drainpipes. She has made herself small enough to hide here.

Strands of a broken spider’s web sticking to her skin. Her eyes wet with tears. Hunching her back like a little monkey. Arms closed tight around her knees raised against her small flat chest.

She is just a little girl, small enough to save herself. Small enough to fit into the spider’s web. Smart enough to know that she must not cry.

Must not breathe. So that no one can hear.

So that he can’t hear.

The door to the hiding place is opened, she sees a man’s feet, legs. She sees, does not see, the glisten of something dark and wet on the trouser legs. She hears, does not hear, his quick hot panting. With a whoop of wild laughter he stoops to peer inside, he has discovered her. His face is a blur of tears. His mouth moves and is talking to her but she hears no words. But then, the door is shut again and she is alone. READ MORE

Passport to Crime

Here in Tremonia

by Karr & Wehner

And when the snow falls . . .

in Tremonia,

here in the coal-mine settlement, behind the embankment, by the slagheap, next to the air shaft and the abandoned coal mine, right at the edge of the city. On a dark and bleak December mornin’, the grayness of day flows across the roofs and the wind blows cold . . .

through the settlement.

A flatbed truck stops in the access road. On its side is a sign that reads MAGMA Real Estate. Two men get out, dressed in workmen’s overalls and safety vests.

They unload shovels, picks, red-and-white construction tape, and warning signs. They dig two holes, fill them with gravel and fast-setting concrete, and set poles in them to hold the big sign they take from the truck. 

Department of First Stories

Ding Dong Bell

by Ariel Dodson

Virginia always remembered when the third child disappeared.

That was the day she began to worry.

Not a big worry, exactly. No, Virginia had too many others jostling for space in her head for it to be a big worry. But it was there, sharp and niggly, and it prodded her at times she would rather not have thought about it, the way worries do.

She had heard Aunt Sylvia and Uncle Darren talking about it in quiet, nervous whispers, and they had made sure to tell her and cousin Melanie to be careful. But that was all the reassurance she had been given, and the worry continued to burrow within her like a hot needle point.

Melanie never worried, of course. Perfect children never do. Melanie never worried about anything. 


The Jury Box 

by Steve Steinbock

A few weeks after the last issue of EQMM—with my annual Sherlockian column—went to press, I found that I’d missed a book that offered a unique twist to the Sherlock Holmes mythology. Sherry Thomas’s The Art of Theft is part of a series that has received high critical acclaim, but somehow flew beneath my radar. Rather than wait a year for the next Sherlockian roundup, I open this installment of The Jury Box with its review. The second title to be discussed, Pretty as a Picture, is also oddly Sherlockian in that its hero shows an analytic prowess that left me dazzled and mentally gratified. READ MORE


Blog Bytes

by Kristopher Zgorski

The Crime Readers’ Association website ( is based in the U.K., but the content is of interest to all lovers of crime writing the world over. They are the reader-focused arm of the CWA (Crime Writers’ Association), the entity responsible for awarding the coveted Dagger Awards yearly in the U.K. The CRA blog offers a constant stream of articles related to the genre and there is never a shortage of suggestions for what books to read next.  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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