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September/October 2020

A Word of Thanks

As I write, the nation is slowly and fitfully emerging from a period of lockdown even as citizens have taken to the streets to demand social change. It’s a moment of both hope and uncertainty. Some of the consequences of this period may be clearer by the time this issue hits the stands, but even now it seems safe to say that going forward, certain changes will be long term and even permanent. In the face of that, I have been reminded of my faith in something that does not change: the human need and desire for stories.

At AHMM, we do our best to help satisfy that need, and we are grateful to our readers, and our writers, for their incredible support of those efforts. For many of us, mystery stories are a particular balm for unsettled times, turning as they often do on the tensions arising from the eternal dynamics of crime and punishment: the search for justice playing out in the shifting contexts of a changing world.

In the months and years ahead, stories—including those about crime—will help us process and understand new conditions. Mystery stories are fiction and not real life, but inevitably they do often turn on questions of right and wrong. We are in a historical moment in which it’s important to recall that in a nation of laws, those laws must be applied fairly, and that they equally bind those charged with enforcing them.

The times may change, but stories persist—as does our respect and affection for our readers. Thank you for your ongoing support.

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Fiction

Mrs. White Hart

by Elliot F. Sweeney

He was propping up the bar at McGovern’s Pub, nursing a house brandy, pretending to not look at me. Mid fifties I’d say, a ruddy round face, hefty middle; built like a rump steak with the fat left on, all squeezed into a crisp navy suit.

I wasn’t looking for work that night. But then I rarely go looking for it. Invariably, work comes looking for me, and on this occasion, it was sipping a Napoleon a few stools down from my usual spot.

I’d done this dance before; soon, he’d shuffle over, maybe buy me a beer, and then stumble through whatever he had to say. I wondered how many cheap brandies it would take him to get there? I got my answer on drink number three.

“Mr. Kasperick?”

“Kasper.”

“Excuse me?”

“My name.” I peered up from my pint, took him in. “It’s Kasper. Only my father called me Kasperick. He’s dead.”

He nibbled his lower lip. READ MORE

 
 

Past Due

by Dave Zeltserman

Bob Smith never felt rested when he woke up. Not only would he be left with a dull throbbing in his temples and a queasy stomach, but he’d be so overwhelmed by melancholy that all he’d want to do was hide under the blanket. This morning was worse. Added to the throbbing was an aching deep behind his eyes and his melancholy had been replaced by a sense of foreboding so acute that he had to choke off a sob or otherwise he would’ve woken Carol. He reached blindly for her hoping for assurance that everything would be okay, but all he felt was an empty mattress. He could’ve sobbed all he wanted and it wouldn’t have mattered. Carol had already woken up, and since he didn’t hear the shower running, she must’ve been in the kitchen, most likely brewing coffee.

As he did every morning, he rubbed his temples until the throbbing lessened. It wasn’t too hard to understand why he was feeling so much worse this morning.  READ MORE

Departments

Booked & Printed

by Laurel Flores Fantauzzo

There is a unique comfort and intimacy that only radio can provide. Perhaps with the psychological overwhelm of so many new technologies, the auditory focus of radio remains elemental. Radio still provides us with information and commentary; a soundtrack of disembodied voices and scenes in our vehicles, a go-to source during emergencies when we shelter at home.

With the development of podcasts, listeners for the past decade have encountered the ageless intimacies of audio reportage in new, downloadable forms. This year, the Pulitzer Prizes recognized the recent, ten-year “renaissance” of online radio work in a new journalism prize category: “Audio Reporting.” The 2020 finalists honored by the Pulitzer Prizes offered groundbreaking, illuminating, auditory takes on that age-old human activity: crime. This month, Booked & Printed delves into the storytelling work of Pulitzer-nominated crime and mystery podcasts, where journalist-sleuths around the world are finding new ways of uncovering the truth within an age-old medium. 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.

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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 Hitch

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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