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Current Issue


January/February 2020

A Cup of Crime Yet
For Auld Lang Syne

With the New Year we anticipate renewal and new beginnings, so perhaps you’ve noticed we’ve refreshed our masthead, for which we thank our top-notch design team.  What hasn’t changed is the quality of the crime fiction you’ll find in our pages. Along with your favorite authors, we ring in the New Year with four authors new to our pages: Teresa Dovalpage (“The Sandalwood Killer”), Olivia Dunnett (The Witness”), Paul Grigg (“ Mossad Rules”), and Art Taylor (“The Boy Detective and the Summer of ’74”).

As the year ends in a string of holidays, we have a few stories to set the mood. A closing toy store is the setting for Steve Hockensmith’s holiday tale “The Last Noel”. At Christmastime, good deeds goes awry in Mark Thielman’s “The Wreck of the Edward Fitzsimmons.” And something is all wrong about a mystery writer’s double suicide in Sharon Hunt’s “Silent Night.”

As a judge and his law clerk transition from the old Tweed courthouse to the new Centre Street building in lower Manhattan in the 1920s, their relationship changes in unexpected ways in Kevin Egan’s “The Tombs Angel.” New York City is also the setting for Joseph D’Agnese’s tale featuring a mysterious radio at housewares shop in “The Detective Who Stopped by Bedford Street.”

Farther afield, Las Vegas stylist Stacey Deshay finds herself cooped up with a bunch of B-list actors when she stumbles over a body on the set of a reality show in “Alternate Reality.” A small town police chief deals with the aftermath of his first fatal shooting in Wayne J. Gardiner’s “Mistaken Identity.” And Dr. Watson gets pulled into a mystery with international intrigue while vacation in France in “On the Banks of the Styx” by James Tipton.

In this issue, you’ll also find a delightful mystery classic by Lillian de la Torre, “The Stroke of Thirteen,” featuring the eighteenth century writer and lexicographer Dr. Johnson, brought to our attention by Michael Mallory.


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The Last Noel

by Steve Hockensmith

“Nooooooooooo!” Brenda cried. “It can’t end like this!”

Patrice was hunched over the checkout counter, chin in her hands, eyes half closed.

“What is it?” she said, straightening up and whipping around to face the front of the store.

Brenda pointed up at the speaker in the ceiling above her.

“My second least-favorite ‘Christmas’ song of all time,” she said.

“Oh.” Patrice folded her arms and cocked her head, listening. “Michael George, right?”

“George Michael,” Brenda said. “Or maybe it’s Wham!. Whichever, it’s awful.”

Patrice shrugged. “It’s not so bad. It’s just old. The Ariana Grande version’s better.”

Brenda was usually a cheerful, easygoing boss. But some things she felt deeply.

“I don’t care if the Three Wise Men covered it,” she said. “It’s not a real Christmas song.”

Patrice listened to another chorus.



Alternate Reality

by Shauna Washington

I stood off to the side and watched as Paul Cruller, the director of this reality show madhouse, pranced around the well-stocked ballroom that had been converted into a soundstage. He was wearing zebra-print tights and a baggy green shirt. Not even his multicolored cross-fit Nikes could save that outfit. He turned to me and asked, “Ms. Deshay, have you finished the alterations to Dominique’s dress?”

“Working on it,” I said.

He frowned up and then turned back to the group.

“Let me be perfectly clear,” he said in a voice that made Frankie Lymon’s sound like a baritone. “We’ve got to get through this so we can do it in one take tonight. Remember, we want the audience at home to think we were filming it live when we start broadcasting next week.” READ MORE


Booked & Printed

by Laurel Flores Fantauzzo

The disappearance of someone beloved and   familiar can make desperate sleuths of everyday citizens, plunging us into unexpected journeys and discoveries. This month, Booked and Printed examines two books with disappearances at their centers. Both narratives send their protagonists on investigations close to home, and close to the bone. 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


Scrambled Plum

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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