HIstory

Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine is one of the foremost publishers of mystery, crime, and suspense short stories. One of the oldest and most influential magazines of short mystery and crime fiction in the world, Hitchcock is known for publishing short mystery fiction of the highest quality, featuring every subgenre of mystery fiction. AHMM stories have won dozens of awards, including many Robert L. Fish awards for Best First Mystery Short Story of the year.

The magazine was founded in 1956 by H.S.D. Publications, which licensed the famous director’s name to take advantage of his popularity. In its early days, the magazine published young writers still carving a niche in the mystery world. Many of these writers are today Grand Masters of the mystery field, including such notables as Donald E. Westlake and Hillary Waugh.

In 1975 Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine was purchased by Davis Publications, which already published Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. Even as other fiction digests were disappearing, editor Eleanor Sullivan guided Hitchcock’s voice and cemented the periodical’s position as a respected mystery magazine. Sullivan achieved this in part by the thoughtful selection of works by such talented writers as Lawrence Block and Bill Pronzini.  

Cathleen Jordan, who came on board as editor in 1981, broadened the magazine’s subject matter and made it more appealing to thousands of short story readers across the country, while continuing AHMM’s tradition of welcoming nascent writers. Doug Allyn, Steve Hockensmith, Martin Limón, and I.J. Parker are a handful of the many writers who got their start in the pages of AHMM under Jordan’s stewardship. Penny Publications purchased Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and its sister magazines, Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, Asimov’s Science Fiction, and Analog Science Fiction and Fact, in 1996, maintaining the established editorial standards for top-quality, provocative short fiction.

In 2002, Linda Landrigan assumed the editorial reins following the death of Cathleen Jordan, and in 2007 joined forces with The Wolfe Pack – the official Nero Wolfe society – to jointly sponsor an annual writing prize, the Black Orchid Novella Award. The contest, which offers a prize of $1,000 and publication in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, honors an unpublished work of mystery fiction written in the tradition of the Nero Wolfe mystery stories: This tradition emphasizes the deductive skills of the story’s sleuth and eschews overt sex and violence. The winner is selected by Ms. Landrigan, who through this effort has provided yet another opportunity for promising mystery writers while simultaneously broadening the scope of AHMM’s offerings. 

Today AHMM continues the tradition of publishing spine-tingling crime fiction from established favorites including Charles Todd, Loren D. Estleman, Rhys Bowen, Jane K. Cleland, and Jan Burke, as well as from promising newcomers. All of the subgenres are represented in AHMM’s pages, from classic whodunits, dark noir, cozies, and cutting-edge graphic stories to venerable mystery classics and hardboiled tales of suspense; there is truly something for every discerning reader of short mystery fiction.