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The Finest in Crime and Suspense Short Fiction

Current Issue Highlights

Crime Is Educational

You can learn a lot from murder (at least, the entertaining kind you find in these pages). The psychology of the calculating criminal, the explosiveness of the crime of passion, the cool rationality of the investigator, or the emotional fallout of the event all offer the reader valuable lessons in human nature and its passions. Here for your edification, then, are fourteen tales of murder and mayhem: School is in session.

A veteran of grief and homelessness schools a widower on important life lessons in the face of despair in Mark Thielman’s “Streetwise.” Kevin Egan’s court officer checks in on a colleague’s freshman son and discovers a scam targeting naïve students in “Foxx Goes to College.” A professor learns the extent of his students’ valor when their classroom is taken over by two gunmen in “Dark Equation” by Michael Nethercott. An actor from a beloved, long ago children’s program learns you can’t escape the past in “Professor Pie Is Going To Die” by Robert Lopresti. LaToya Jovena’s busy working mom has learned a thing or two over the years, lessons that come in handy when she’s kidnapped in “Downhill.”

A WWI soldier’s poem about life in the trenches sets off explosive events in “Verses on the Vesle” by Chris Muessig. Radio commentator Philip St. Pierre lures a colleague into going undercover at a tony New York City mansion to unmask WWII German spies in Terence Faherty’s “Margo and the Femme Fatale.” Three friends in a cozy London club dissect a miscarriage of justice stemming from a long-ago murder in Liverpool in “What The Hell Has It Got to Do with Me” by John Paxton Sheriff.

Two cases collide on glamorous Rodeo Drive for P.I. Morris Brick and his canine partner Parker in “Mary and Shelley” by Dave Zeltserman. An up-and-coming politician attracts the scrutiny of a P.I. when he suddenly starts behaving erratically in Andrew Welsh-Huggins’s “From Another Angle.” Richard Freeborn sets a tale during the Babylonian exile of the sixth century BCE in a case involving the murder of one of the king’s advisors in “The Cleansing of Abel.”

With this issue we welcome Gary Earl Ross, whose P.I. Gideon Rimes is stuck on a plane behind a squabbling couple who are dropping details about a much larger crime in “Nickel City Eavesdropper.” Also new to our pages, Savio Pham recounts how an impoverished kid gets enfolded into a crime family in “The Panther,” and Chad Valentine tells of a small cog in a Japanese crime syndicate who encounters a mysterious, flute-playing waif on an otherwise abandoned ship in “The Girl from North Korea.”

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Margo and the Femme Fatale
by Terence Faherty

“The next time the station is passing out free Dodgers tickets, Miss Banning, keep me in mind.”

Margo, the Banning addressed, stopped in mid stride. “I beg your pardon,” she said.

She liked the man who’d stopped her, Sid Matthews, one of the panelists on the radio show she oversaw, Gotham Goings On. Matthews was a moonlighting sports columnist for the New York Herald Tribune, who reminded Margo of her grandfather, being short and gray and liberally sprinkled with cigar ash, and he was the least troublesome of the show’s three regulars. The least temperamental, as well. Even this remark about free tickets, which would have sounded like a complaint if Mamie Gallagher, Gotham’s statuesque show business expert, had made it, was merely a pleasant greeting from the smiling Matthews. READ MORE

Dark Equation
by Michael Nethercott

On that cold day in the fall of 2000, Burt Lentz had been in a rancid mood even before the gunmen stormed in. Starting with the commute to work, the day had gone against him. As evidence: the bottleneck on 495; the coffee spilt in his lap; the sudden, blinding rain burst and the defective windshield wipers. Then, as he marched across the parking lot of the community college, the folder under his arm slipped open, dumping half the corrected exams into a fresh puddle of rainwater. Lentz cursed, scooped up the dripping papers, and muttered, “Perfect, just perfect.”

Even though he was running late, only three of his students had arrived before him. These few had positioned themselves as far away from each other as possible, and only one—round, white-haired Mrs. Peller—offered him a hello. For his part, Lentz merely nodded and grunted noncommittally. READ MORE


Booked & Printed
by Laurel Flores Fantauzzo

In brutally divided, patriarchal nations, women might seem perpetually second-class citizens, doomed to subjugation and obedience. Yet even in the most oppressive environments, women have exercised strategy at best, or complicity at worse. Whether or not the past acknowledges them, women have exercised the full human range of struggle and choice in the most dangerously man-made conflicts.  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 Holmes
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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