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Current Issue


July/August 2019

All in the Execution

Buried secrets percolate to the surface, plans and machinations go awry, and the perfect murder may be anything but. Just ask Charles, who’s planning to kill his wife in B. K. Stevens’s “The Tourist,” or the handsome star who finds himself in the sights of the mob in Dave Zeltserman’s “Lulu and the Heartbreaker.” Meanwhile, a Roman girl’s plot nearly upsets her sister’s betrothal in William Burton McCormick’s “The Three Camillas,” and a young boy’s recognition of a horse once stolen from his uncle inspires a plan to pay back old debts in R. T. Lawton’s Armenian trader story “The Horse.”

When an unfiled intelligence report of a congressman’s affair with a Russian agent surfaces, retired spy Charles Marley is called to investigate its provenance in “Marley’s Mistress” by John C. Boland. A journalist sniffs out some inconsistencies in an old story of a jazz musician killed defending a woman in Paul D. Marks’s “The Past is Prologue.” An archeological dig unearths more than old bones in Michael A. Black’s “Carnivores and Herbivores.” A seedy amusement park in central Florida has its own hidden depths, as one teen employee discovers in Dayle A. Dermatis’s “Pirate Pete’s.”

Eighteenth century medium Madame Selena is summoned to tony Newport, Rhode Island on the eve of the America’s Cup race, but a murder during her séance sets her on a course for the truth in “A Fine Nest of Rascals” by Janice Law. Coroner Mary Deventer and her bright, budding-detective daughter Ashley probe the truth of a popular math teacher’s suicide in “Who’s Counting?” by John H. Dirckx.

And we’re delighted to reveal our 2018 Black Orchid Novella Award winner with a publication of “Minerva James and the Goddess of Justice” by Mark Bruce.

Our summer double issue brims with examples of bad behavior badly done that will successfully delight our most discerning readers. 

Get your copy now!


The Horse

by R. T. Lawton

A debt is an obligation that must be repaid lest it hang over a man’s head for all eternity, even following him, along with his winding sheet, into the grave. Here, in the Wild Country below the Terek River, both Cossack and Chechen pride themselves as free men, living by their honor and courage. To have an unpaid debt is to have a liability on their honor, a nagging loss of some of their well-loved freedom.

I, as a nine-year-old Nogai boy, from the smaller split of the Great Mongol Horde after the death of Genghis Khan, had my own debt to repay, but had no idea on how to do this, as I had no money, no wealth to make this payment. All I owned were the clothes on my back, a knife, and the few coins I earned each year from traveling with an Armenian trader of goods. He was the man I had attached myself to in order to escape the hard lot of an orphan, hoping to find a better life out in the open world of the steppes. Those few coins I earned would never be enough to release my debt. I needed to find another way. READ MORE


Carnivores and Herbivores

by Michael A. Black

I was looking down at the three sets of dinosaur tracks, trying to envision the scene in my mind, when the first rounds bounced off the rocks about thirty yards in back of us with the unmistakable accompanying staccato bark of a rifle on full auto.

“Hit the dirt!” I said, recalling my old army training. As I flattened out I glanced around and saw my grad students were still upright and looking dumbfounded. The Indian laborers we’d hired began to scatter. I yelled again for everyone to get down and this time it seemed to register. The students ducked and squatted. More gunshots sounded, but I saw no rounds bouncing anywhere close. After a few more seconds of silence, I began scanning the sloping mountain before us. A dark form rose up, silhouetted by the afternoon sun, a man holding a rifle, his long shaggy hair hanging down around his shoulders. READ MORE


Booked & Printed

by Laurel Flores Fantauzzo

It can be difficult to remember the early age of optimism that once governed the rise of social media. Posting, friending, liking, sharing—these gestures once represented the democratic possibilities of instant connection. Now, around the world, social media has shown its potentials for danger: fomenting hatred, spreading misinformation, bolstering authoritarian regimes, broadcasting horrific violence. The instantaneity and community that social media’s inventors once lauded have curdled. Authors around the world can sense the anxiety and disillusionment the Internet has wrought. This month, Booked and Printed examines two thrillers’ approaches, speculating on the still evolving role of social media in characters’ lives. 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 Marple

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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