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Summer Pastimes

Ah Summer, when any body of water offers opportunity for drowning, any mountain offers cliffs to push someone off, and any piece of sporting equipment offers potential uses not contemplated in the rules of the game. Summer offers the chance to be murdered not at home but on vacation, not cooped up inside but in the great outdoors. And with this issue, the chance to read about crime and mayhem while the sun shines and the birds sing.

Several stories in this issue bring adventure and travel to the forefront, starting with Mary Angela’s “Five Bullet Friday,” in which a travel agent’s vocation comes with deadly consequences. New York City is the setting for the murder of a nonbinary transplant from Iowa in “Death Will Take the High Line” by Elizabeth Zelvin. A solo hiker on a scavenger hunt finds danger lurking in the quiet woods in Maurissa Guibord’s thriller “Dead Letterbox.” A rookie cop in Hawaii has the wrong kind of romantic encounter in Albert Tucher’s “The Conversation Killer.” A stop at a greasy spoon and a poker game with bikers prove fortuitous for Peter Colt’s private eye in “Ladies and Deuces.” And Ecuador is the setting for Tom Larsen’s series featuring wily Capitán Guillén, who in “El Chico Maravilla” finds himself set up to take the fall for a murder.

An aging actor known for a horror flick finds himself in a real-life horrific situation in Michael Mallory’s “Iguana Don.” In Robert Lopresti's “The Lord of Falling Objects,” the possession of superpowers isn’t quite like in the movies. And a private investigator cooped up in the hospital still solves a murder in Josh Pachter’s “Vampire Shift.”

We welcome J.M. Taylor to our pages this month with a story of love and work in “Florence Uglietta Solari: A Full Life in 19 Fragments.” Janice Law brings us a tale of a sharp co-ed and her cat who see trouble coming in “The Fitz.” Mark Thielman’s “Spud Stud” P.I. is back on the job representing the Potato Advisory Board—and taking on a murder—at a turkey bowling competition in “A Case of Fowl Play.” And it turns out that the passing of years hardly dampens the shock of betrayal when South African ex-pats in England learn that a woman they considered a comrade had been feeding information to the apartheid security police in Linda Mannheim’s tale “The Confession.” 

Finally, this issue also features “The Man Who Went Down Under” by Alexis Stefanovich-Thomson, the 15th winner of our Black Orchid Novella Award, which AHMM cosponsors with the Wolfe Pack.

And as always, you’ll find insightful book reviews, challenging puzzles, and our popular Mysterious Photograph flash fiction contest and winning entries to help you while away a lazy summer.

Look for our July/August 2022 issue on sale at newsstands on June 14, 2022 Or subscribe to AHMM in print or in a wide variety of digital formats.

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