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The Perfect Holiday Gift

Holidays and crime go well together because they offer such clear contrasts. Holidays are not only times of celebration, but also of well-ordered customs, rituals, and traditions. Against such a backdrop, the disorder and chaos of crime stand out all the more clearly—and crime’s resolution, with its restoration of order, is all the more satisfying. Our new issue features a bounty of stories adding a dark piquancy to the seasonal cheer.

The holidays regularly bring together extended families for a festive, if sometimes fraught, meal, and Steve Hockensmith captures the angst that arises when one young adult graduates to “The Grown-ups’ Table.” In John M. Floyd’s “Going the Distance,” a freak snowstorm in Mississippi strands an elderly man in his truck on the road, but for a mystery writer and a local sheriff, the details of the incident don’t compute. And for one cop and mother, a child’s familiar ritual echoes the lengths to which she must go to catch a serial killer, in Tara Laskowski’s “The Tooth Fairy.”

We are pleased to offer readers the gift of three writers new to our pages. “Ignatius Rum-and-Cola” by Andrew Welsh-Huggins is set at a Loyola mission and school on a Native reservation, where resentment and distrust run deep. A math teacher with a sideline gig as a P.I. steps into the fray to help a colleague in “Murder, with Resignation” by Ken Linn. And a retired cop turned community volunteer finds herself in the midst of a murder investigation when she spots her knitted craftwork on the hands of a victim in “The Mittens” by Marcelle Dubé.

Meanwhile, Tom Larsen’s unorthodox Ecuadoran police captain is out of his league with a case of art theft in “El Comandante y El Artista.” Matthew Wilson returns with “Elvis Duty,” a procedural set in Germany in the late fifties when the mega-star is stationed there. A private investigator goes undercover to expose corporate malfeasance in “Imperfect Data” by Bob Tippee. And when a vacationing photographer is asked to document a crime scene at a lake, he is pulled into a miasma of greed in a sleepy tourist town in Floyd Sullivan’s “Dead Man’s Shoe.”

Rounding out the issue, two aging antiwar radicals must live with the consequences of their youthful acts in Eric Rutter’s “The Price,” and Gigi Vernon returns with a medieval historical as the crippled knight Thibaut tries to protect a beautiful Jewish moneylender from false accusations in “For All His Worth.”

So as you can see, it is with only the best intentions that AHMM offers you murder and mayhem this holiday season.

Look for our January/February 2023 issue on sale at newsstands on December 13, 2022. Or subscribe to AHMM in print or in a wide variety of digital formats.

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