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The Long Game

Publishing is a long game. From a story’s conception to its acceptance for publication to the day the magazine hits newsstands and mailboxes can take months, not to mention the collaboration of many people. Fiction, too, is a long game: A good story keeps the reader guessing until the end, but the satisfaction of the payoff may linger in the reader’s mind for years.

At AHMM, we’ve been playing the long game for six and a half decades. December marks the anniversary of our first publication. We’ve striven over that time to keep readers entertained with stories that pack a punch. Along the way, we’ve introduced many new authors and published new material from established favorites.

New to us this issue are Ellen Tremiti, whose detective contemplates new media and new life stages in “The Influencer”; and Edith Maxwell, no stranger to publishing, but here with her first AHMM story, “An Excellent Team,” in which she introduces two spunky young ladies in 1919 Oregon who solve a crime the local authorities won’t touch. W. H. Cameron returns for his sophomore appearance with “Christmas Spirit,” a dramatic tale of death and survival in the icy North.

This issue also brings you stories that shine a new light on some familiar characters. Dr. John H. Watson undertakes a case of his own (without the help of his friend Holmes) when a farmer brings him his woes in James G. Tipton’s “The Curse of Edwin Grange.” Tom Larsen’s “Oro de Tontos” reintroduces Ecuadoran P.I. Wilson Salinas with a story of the recovering alcoholic’s first case. R. T. Lawton’s young 18th century Parisian pickpocket picks up a few facts of life as well as a few trade secrets in “Green Eyes.” And Brendan DuBois reveals a sentimental side to a couple of hardened hitmen in “Killers: A Story of Love in Four Acts.”

The past catches up to the present in Christopher E. Long’s story “The Mission,” while Mark Thielman’s parolee can’t shed his past fast enough in “Dry Bones.” An invented past haunts a tech geek in “The Trouble with Rebecca” by Larry Light. Passion for the sport of baseball leads to desperate criminal acts in Jim Fusilli’s “LOOGY,” and a simmering desperation underlies Sharon Hunt’s family tragedy, “Digging Through Fog.”

This anniversary issue is an appropriate time to celebrate the long association of Loren Estleman and John H. Dirckx with AHMM; their stories, of course, are as fresh as ever. Estleman’s Four Horsemen, vice cops in wartime Detroit, confiscate a carload of contraband in “Chicago Lightning.” Chalk it up to hubris when an up-and-comer trips on his own con in Dirckx’s “By His Own Hand.”

We’re pleased to celebrate this milestone with our new and long-term readers and writers. We hope to come together in these pages for many years to come.

Look for our November/December 2021 issue on sale at newsstands on October 19, 2021. Or subscribe to AHMM in print or in a wide variety of digital formats.

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