TheJanuary/February 2021 issue features a dual celebration: our annual Sherlock Holmes tribute and the start of our 80th year. In honor of the latter, we present a special find, a heretofore-unpublished story by Cornell Woolrich (“The Dark Oblivion”)! Our Sherlockian fare shines, including a Holmesian Jury Box and an article by Dean Jobb on Arthur Conan Doyle’s career. In our fiction lineup we have a parody by Terence Faherty (“The Gloria Scott”), a Holmes on the Range tale (“Curious Incidents” by Steve Hockensmith), a whimsical poem by Ruth Berman (“Watson’s Plane”), and a pastiche with ominous overtones from EQMM newcomer Mike Adamson (“In the Shadow of the New”). Josh Pachter returns with another case for the Puzzle Club—and this time, there’s a Sherlockian twist (“The Five Orange Pipes”). Even our Passport to Crime tale fits the bill, as it features a sleuth known as France’s Sherlock Holmes (“The Touffard Affair” by Marcel Aymé).
Bill Pronzini’s Quincannon and Carpenter take on a case that would have made the Great Detective proud in “Pick Up Sticks,” and we ring in the New Year with warnings from Tom Tolnay (“A Dangerous Encounter”) and Ken Linn (“Stray”). The turning of the calendar brings new things for many fictional characters—like a new course of study at a tony school in “No Legacy So Rich” by Anna Scotti, untraditional instruction in “Boo Radley College Prep” by Karen Harrington, and a new nanny in Sheila Kohler’s “The Changing Room.” But new roles can bring danger (see Nick Mamatas’s mob-related “Pink Squirrel,” Rob Osler’s “Analogue,” and Barb Goffman’s “That Poor Woman,” in which someone decides to take the law into her own hands).
Money-making ventures cause malevolent interactions in Scott Loring Sanders’s “The Lemonade Stand,” “The Two Gentlemen Guests” by Susan Dunlap, and Jeff Soloway’s court-translator drama “The Interpreter and the Killer.”
2020 has been a trying year for everyone, but you can start the new year off with EQMM by your side.
Get your copy now!
by Terence Faherty
“Here are some papers,” said Sherlock Holmes, “that might be of interest to you, Watson.”
We were seated before the fender at Baker Street, the soft light of the coal fire playing on our tankards (teacups? brandy snifters?). Holmes held on his lap a long wooden box, from which he extracted a roll of paper.
“This is a souvenir of a singular moment in my career. I might almost say ‘careers,’ since I found myself balanced between two.”
He handed the roll to me. It was secured by a string, which I worked free very gingerly, the paper being brown with age. When I unrolled it, I found it to be a handbill. I read its bold print aloud.
“‘Silas Trelawney’s Wonder Company presents the Gloria Scott, a melodrama in three acts with musical interludes. For five nights only at Plumstone’s Jewel Box Theater, Birmingham. Starring Silas Trelawney, Byron Bymaster, Lucy Daring, and Sherrinford Holmes.’ READ MORE
by Steve Hockensmith
Dear Mr. Smythe:
As you might have surmised from the relatively puny size of this missive, this is not the new book I have promised you. I don’t try to compete with War and Peace or Crime and Punishment for sheer forest-clearing volume of pages, but I am well aware that the novel you await—Murder and Mayhem, let’s call it—shouldn’t fit into a standard four-by-eight envelope. (By the way, I’m actually calling my novel-in-progress The Double-A Western Detective Agency. This will, I hope, both intrigue readers and advertise the new business my brother and I have launched to potential—and desperately needed—clients. Of course, what it’s called when printed is for you to decide. I can only entreat you to give my suggestion some consideration before defaulting to Cowboy Brothers Battle the New Mexico Death Baron! or some other title of the type Smythe & Associates usually favors.)
Title aside, fear not! Though not yet finished, the new novel already weighs as much as a small dog. I assure you that it will reach full-grown Great Dane dimensions in plenty of time to fill some summertime edition of Smythe’s Frontier Detective. READ MORE
Passport to Crime
by Marcel Aymé
O’Dubois, the prince of detectives, left his apartment in the company of his faithful friend, Joubin, to go for his morning walk. Like all gentlemen who work with their heads, he liked walking a lot, and it is thanks to his everyday practice of footing it that he stayed svelte despite his fifty-five years. Joubin looked like any confidant of a great detective: massive, and slightly slow-witted. He often burst out laughing for no apparent reason, except that he had just understood a joke he had heard the day before. He was a bit of a secretary to O’Dubois and did interviews on his behalf.
As the two friends started walking along the boulevard de la Madeleine, Joubin asked him:
“What should I say to the Paris-Crimes reporter who is coming to you this afternoon?”
“Intuition and reflection. You will have these to sum up my method.”
“Of course,” approved Joubin with importance. READ MORE
by Jeff Soloway
I met Antonio, the trial’s star witness, in the proffer room of the Brooklyn courthouse. The prosecutor had prepared me beforehand. Before his arrest, Antonio had resorted to plastic surgery to try to disguise his identity, and apparently the cartel had trouble retaining the best medical talent. His face was now just wrong, the chin and cheekbones unnaturally heavy, the nose and brows jutting off-kilter. It was like a child’s drawing of a face, detailed but completely inaccurate.
I’m a licensed federal Spanish interpreter, and my skills are mostly needed on international drug-trafficking cases, like this one, though this one dwarfs them all. You could fill a soccer stadium with all the snitching drug mules, bagmen, message boys, and enforcers I’ve interpreted for. READ MORE
Department of First Stories
by Ken Linn
From the front porch her mother and little sister saw Cathryn collapse to the ground. She had been standing alone in the yard near the flagpole, looking down the hill toward the river on the eastern horizon, waiting for the Fourth of July fireworks to begin. Full darkness had just set in. The other children, cousins and neighbors, ripped around the yard playing at some chasing game. Throughout the neighborhood pops and bangs from firecrackers burst out in a weak prelude to the coming spectacle.
There was blood and panic, frenzied uncertainty wrapped in shouted questions with no answers. The ambulance arrived quickly after what seemed like an eternity. Her small motionless form on the long stretcher rushed away amid the unstoppable explosions and flashes above. Her mother was with her, inside the red-and-white box on wheels with lights flashing in all directions, its siren fighting to be heard between the booms of the fireworks. They were followed by a train of vehicles filled with relatives and friends, all in a state of disbelief and bewilderment over what had happened so suddenly in the midst of their carefree summer evening celebration. READ MORE
by Steve Steinbock
January marks the birthday of Sherlock Holmes. Throughout the official canon of Holmes stories, long-suffering landlady Mrs. Hudson provides a motherly presence in the world of Holmes and Watson. We open this Jury Box with two new novels that each, in their own way, provide a surprising look at Mrs. Hudson and her secret life. Also reviewed here is a piece of early twentieth century true crime which, as one of its minor characters, includes a Conan Doyle fan and self-styled American Sherlock who serves as bounty hunter. READ MORE
by Kristopher Zgorski
Since we have spent so much time quarantined due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people are coming up with new ways to reach crime-fiction fans. One of those folks is John B. Valeri, who launched his new YouTube show and quickly made it a must-watch experience. Called Central Booking, in it John hosts an author for about forty-five minutes of questions and answers about their most recent release, their career in general, and the state of publishing as it relates to our beloved genre. He has had guests as wide-ranging as Marcia Clark, Oyinkan Braithwaite, Jeffery Deaver, and more. Occasionally, he even features others from the community, including bloggers like myself. You can always count on John to ask the questions you want to know the answers to and a few you never even thought to wonder about. 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