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September/October 2018

All in the Family

Old songs notwithstanding, we are not, strictly speaking, required to always hurt the ones we love—but as this issue’s stories demonstrate, things often work out that way. Ah, family!

Consider siblings. In R. T. Lawton’s “The Chinese Box,” for instance, the city-bred and educated son of a Shan Army warlord finds himself in stiff competition with his own older half-brother, while two actors who once played brothers on a hit TV show have a very different off-screen dynamic in Brendan DuBois’s “The Wildest One.” Ecuadoran P.I. Wilson Salinas, meanwhile, must retrieve his neighbor’s granddaughter—snatched by her own father in “En Agua Caliente.” A woman working a prison kitchen is tested when the man who killed her father demands that she help him escape in Janice Law’s “Good Girl.” And a family inheritance is at stake in our Mystery Classic, “Betrayed by a Buckle” by Louisa May Alcott, introduced by Marianne Wilski Strong.

Conventioneers extraordinaire Spade and Paladin see their extended family of SF fans and writers divided by a bitter schism with criminal consequences in Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s “Unity Con.” A mob family’s brutal management of a co-op inspires two retired seniors to act in “Rats” by Tom Savage. And new to our pages this month, Matthew Wilson brings a tale of an army sergeant confronting racism among his brothers-in-arms at a training base in Germany in “The Cook Off.”

A man who once looked for unexploded WWII ordnance in Europe must confront his own past when he encounters an old lover in Mark Thielman’s atmospheric “Buried Past.” Loren D. Estleman’s Four Horseman return with a case involving a patriotic “Scrap Drive.” Feuding neighbors bring color and headaches to Detective Sergeant Fritz Dollinger’s investigation of the murder of a young musician in John H. Dirckx’s procedural “Counterpoint.”

History repeats itself in Dennis McFadden’s dual coming-of-age story, “Coolbrook Twp.” And a bad actor gets a shot at auditioning for a psychological thriller in this month’s cover story, James Lincoln Warren’s “Casting Call.”

Once again, these stories show that blood will tell.

Get your copy now!


Unity Con

by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

When Paladin called to ask for my help, I was sitting in a planning meeting with some fen at an ancient Holiday Inn outside of Garland, Texas. We were crowded around a fake wood conference table so old that it had cigarette burns in the laminate. We were in a calm discussion about the best way to handle hotel negotiations when my cell phone rang. READ MORE


Scrap Drive

by Loren D. Estleman

“I can’t feel my privates,” Detective Burke said.

Sergeant Canal shifted his cigar to the other side of his mouth. “If that’s an invitation, count me out.”

“A little respect, fellas.” Lieutenant Zagreb inclined his head toward a loudspeaker blasting out Kate Smith singing “God Bless America.” The men crowded around the great heap in the middle of Grand Circus—those who weren’t in military uniform—stood with their hats off, the women with their hands over their hearts. The servicemen stood at attention, saluting. READ MORE


Booked & Printed

by Robert C. Hahn

In October, Pegasus Crime is publishing Classic American Crime Fiction of the 1920s ($35), annotated by Leslie S. Klinger, with a foreword by Otto Penzler. This volume brings together five classic first novels worth revisiting:

In The House Without a Key (1925) Earl Derr Biggers introduced the Chinese-American detective Charlie Chan. An audience familiar only with the movies and radio plays featuring a stereotypical Chan spouting ridiculous platitudes and a subservient mien may be surprised to find Biggers’s Chan not only intelligent but also philosophical and learned. READ MORE


Mysterious Photograph

We give a prize of $25 to the person who invents the best mystery story (in 250 words or less, and be sure to include a crime) based on the photograph provided in each issue. The story will be printed in a future issue. READ THE MOST RECENT WINNING STORY.


Dying Words

Acrostic puzzle by Arlene Fisher

Solve the clues to reveal an interesting observation about an author and their work! Shh! The solution to the puzzle will appear in the next issue. CURRENT ISSUE'S PUZZLE


Mixed-up Grandmasters

by Mark Lagasse

Unscramble the letters of each numbered entry to spell the name of a famous sleuth.  MOST RECENT PUZZLE