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Current Issue Highlights

March/April 2024 

The March/April 2024 issue of EQMM brings to the forefront crimes both big (as in Twist Phelan’s “Aim,” featuring international spy Finn Teller) and small (as in Tom Tolnay’s “Poverty,” which chronicles a family’s sometimes not-quite-legal deeds). In other families, parents’ roles are examined—for better or for worse: see “Turnabout” by Sheila Kohler, “The Good Father” by Hilary Davidson, and “Lady Nitro” by Marilyn Todd, a historical set in a rapidly industrializing Pennsylvania. We also see the closeness and potential peril involved in untraditional and chosen families in “Fish Around and Find Out” by Karen Harrington, “Apple Juice” by Nils Gilbertson (from the Black Mask department), and “The Video Girl” by M.J. Soni.

In Michael Z. Lewin’s “Asset to the Community,” P.I. Albert Samson has a new case and is honored with a neighborhood award, while in “Neighborly” by Peter Lance Graves (from the Department of First Stories) one neighbor’s watch over another ends in a way no one could foresee. It’s neighborhood kids who feature in “The Pasture at Night” by Doug Crandell when a hijacker lands amongst them. Community awareness even affects a wannabe crook in “Mask Up” by Eli Cranor.

If you’re looking for a traditional “fair play” mystery, we’ve got one in the Department of First Stories: “Murder Under Sedation” by Lawrence Ong, and there’s also “The Four-Nine Profile” by Richard Helms, in which the identity of a serial killer is deduced through forensic profiling.

If you’re interested in stories with good final twists, you won’t want to miss “The Finger” by Bill Pronzini, in which physical disablement leads to treachery, “A Second Opinion” by Fernando Santos de Oliveira (Passport to Crime), in which a young student plots revenge for bullying, or “The Barguzin Sable” by Sam Wiebe, in which it isn’t only a thief who has a surprise coming.

The case of a clever inmate who became his own legal advocate features in Stranger Than Fiction by Dean Jobb, and we know you also won’t want to miss our usual review columns by Steve Steinbock and Kristopher Zgorski, plus a poem by Marilyn Todd.

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by Sheila Kohler

At the end of the summer, for the first time in years, Jane called me. We had been best friends at boarding school in Johannesburg, where we had met at five years old. Jane was a Rhodesian and that first night at school when she arrived, after traveling by train for two days and a night and stumbling at midnight half dead into the dark of the dormitory, I had heard her sobbing in the bed beside me. In order to get some sleep I told her to get into mine, which she did and fell asleep eventually with her little arms around my neck.

I had had letters from her recently, but never before had she called me long-distance from Italy, from their place near Rome. I imagined her standing in a long loggia in the moonlight, with a fountain playing in the courtyard and the smell of jasmine. She had described the ancient villa to me in detail in her letters, an extraordinary place, she said, surrounded by vineyards, near the sea. READ MORE

The Barguzin Sable
by Sam Wiebe

“You know I don’t ask you for much, David,” my adoptive mother said. Never a good sign when she started calling in markers. “The Kozaks up the street need a hand with some detective work.”

She said this as if it were any other household chore, like steadying a ladder while her neighbors cleaned out their gutters. The car’s making that noise again. And by the way, could you be a dear and locate a missing person or two?

Wakeland and Chen Investigations had all the work a two-person agency could want. My first day off after a ten-day stretch, and I wasn’t inclined to give it up. I’d just uncapped a bottle of Buffalo Trace and was flipping through my Apple TV. READ MORE


A Second Opinion
by Fernando Santos de Oliveira 

Translated from the Brazilian Portuguese by Clifford E. Landers

As soon as she set foot in the school courtyard, Renata saw Lucas, with whom she was in love, kissing Angela, the most stuck-up of her classmates.

Trying to recover from the shock, she darted behind one of the columns beside the wall to watch what was happening: She saw Angela’s faithful clique grinning as they shared her triumph. Anna and Veronica were as treacherous as any serpent Renata had studied in biology class. Wearing scornful smiles, they must be dying to find her and say that Lucas wasn’t the least bit interested in her the way she thought. READ MORE


Apple Juice
by Nils Gilbertson

The trucker dropped him off at the edge of the property, where pavement turned to dirt and the roads lost their names. He thanked the trucker and started down the path through the darkness. He didn’t mind walking. It was early and quiet—quieter than he could remember it ever being. Like a different planet, his earthbound troubles temporarily muted. His mind blessed with a flicker of unfamiliar peace. READ MORE


by Peter Lance Graves

“George,” Alice says, peering through the horizontal blinds, “I tell you, there’s something going on over there.”

They are in the darkened living room in the front of the house. Alice Grimsley is hunched in an occasional chair by the window, staring intently out between the gap in the blinds that she fingered open with scissorlike precision. Her other hand is splayed across her breastbone. Her cane is leaning against the chair. She is looking across the street at the home of her neighbor, Joan Walters. She listens as the February wind howls down their street and stares through the blowing snow at the eerie stillness of her neighbor’s home. READ MORE


Jury Box
by Steve Steinbock

In recent months, several short-story collections have been published featuring regular EQMM contributors. Also landing on my desk were a couple items of Sherlockian interest that came too late to be included in our annual January/February Sherlock Holmes issue. We start off with books by an author whose work meets both criteria. READ MORE

Blog Bytes
by Kristopher Zgorski

Mystery and Suspense ( is the online companion to the magazine of the same name. They have new content almost daily, so even if you are not a subscriber you will find much to explore here. Their content is broken down into expected sections: Features, Interviews, and Reviews. They look at the genre from both the reader’s and writer’s perspectives, so it is not uncommon to find a craft tip one day (i.e. planting clues) and an overview of tropes (i.e. priests in crime fiction) the next. Several of their pages also break things down by subgenre, making it easier to find topics of interest in that manner. They are also one of the few websites that include Horror in their coverage, as technically it is a form of suspense. 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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