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The Finest in Crime and Suspense Short Fiction

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The Perfect Holiday Gift

Holidays and crime go well together because they offer such clear contrasts. Holidays are not only times of celebration, but also of well-ordered customs, rituals, and traditions. Against such a backdrop, the disorder and chaos of crime stand out all the more clearly—and crime’s resolution, with its restoration of order, is all the more satisfying. Our new issue features a bounty of stories adding a dark piquancy to the seasonal cheer.

The holidays regularly bring together extended families for a festive, if sometimes fraught, meal, and Steve Hockensmith captures the angst that arises when one young adult graduates to “The Grown-ups’ Table.” In John M. Floyd’s “Going the Distance,” a freak snowstorm in Mississippi strands an elderly man in his truck on the road, but for a mystery writer and a local sheriff, the details of the incident don’t compute. And for one cop and mother, a child’s familiar ritual echoes the lengths to which she must go to catch a serial killer, in Tara Laskowski’s “The Tooth Fairy.”

We are pleased to offer readers the gift of three writers new to our pages. “Ignatius Rum-and-Cola” by Andrew Welsh-Huggins is set at a Loyola mission and school on a Native reservation, where resentment and distrust run deep. A math teacher with a sideline gig as a P.I. steps into the fray to help a colleague in “Murder, with Resignation” by Ken Linn. And a retired cop turned community volunteer finds herself in the midst of a murder investigation when she spots her knitted craftwork on the hands of a victim in “The Mittens” by Marcelle Dubé.

Meanwhile, Tom Larsen’s unorthodox Ecuadoran police captain is out of his league with a case of art theft in “El Comandante y El Artista.” Matthew Wilson returns with “Elvis Duty,” a procedural set in Germany in the late fifties when the mega-star is stationed there. A private investigator goes undercover to expose corporate malfeasance in “Imperfect Data” by Bob Tippee. And when a vacationing photographer is asked to document a crime scene at a lake, he is pulled into a miasma of greed in a sleepy tourist town in Floyd Sullivan’s “Dead Man’s Shoe.”

Rounding out the issue, two aging antiwar radicals must live with the consequences of their youthful acts in Eric Rutter’s “The Price,” and Gigi Vernon returns with a medieval historical as the crippled knight Thibaut tries to protect a beautiful Jewish moneylender from false accusations in “For All His Worth.”

So as you can see, it is with only the best intentions that AHMM offers you murder and mayhem this holiday season.

Get your copy now!

FICTION

Dead Man’s Shoe
by Floyd Sullivan

The cottage doorbell rang at about ten thirty in the morning as I sat at the small kitchen table downloading images from my camera to my laptop. The soft, dull gong surprised me because first, I wasn’t aware that the tiny house on Keuka Lake had a bell, and second, I didn’t know anyone within hundreds of miles. That’s why I had driven over twelve hours to New York’s Finger Lakes in the first place. To be alone. Annoyed, I stood and went to the front door, letting the transfer of the large, hi-res photographs continue without my supervision.

Two men, one tall, thin, and elderly and the other young and of average height and weight, stood on the porch. They wore identical black uniform shirts with seven-point brass star badges pinned above the left pocket flaps, matching black ties that almost disappeared into their shirts, and black baseball caps with Yates Country Sheriff Department patches above the bills. The older officer’s wardrobe was crisply pressed, his tie perfectly knotted between the points of his razor sharp collar. The younger officer’s shirt hadn’t been ironed recently. READ MORE


The Price
by Eric Rutter

It starts when Jane says, “I’ve been thinking about turning myself in.”

I say “starts,” but this isn’t the first time she’s said that. She’s done it I don’t know how many times over the years. Usually it’s just out of the blue, like this time: We’re driving home from the farmer’s market on a Saturday morning and she just blurts it out. Her tone says she’s been thinking about it a while.

I don’t say anything, I just drive. Sometimes she drops it if I don’t respond. Other times we’ve talked it through, sometimes at length but never really seriously. Just, you know, letting her get it out of her system. But there’s that tone in her voice this time. I can tell she’s not going to drop it. So I’m not surprised when she looks over at me and says, “Ever since last year.” READ MORE

DEPARTMENTS

Booked & Printed
by Laurel Flores Fantauzzo

Romance can linger long past the life of a relationship. When the time of togetherness ends, memories can propel a lover into endless internal investigations of what went right and what went wrong. Unexpected reunions can confirm, or overthrow, a searching heart’s assumptions. This month, Booked and Printed finds two protagonists confronted by past partners, experiencing encounters that could yield new discoveries, awaken old hurts, or set new flames. 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 THIS ISSUE’S WINNING STORY


Dying Words
Acrostic puzzle by Arlene Fisher

Solve the clues to reveal an interesting observation about an author and their work! Shh! Puzzle updated with every new issue. CURRENT ISSUE’S PUZZLE


Scrambled Dalgliesh
by Mark Lagasse

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

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