Knowledge is Power
Sherlock Holmes famously spoke of stocking the lumber room of his mind with information useful to him as a consulting detective (A Study in Scarlet). Mystery stories frequently feature protagonists who bring specialized knowledge or experience to the solution of crimes, whether it’s the seen-it-all detective or the gardener who knows poisonous plants.
In this issue, a retired actor with sadly relevant experience is asked to counsel a young man reporting fantasies of shooting people in Greg Fallis’s “Red Flag.” Eighth Army C.I.D. agents George Sueño and Ernie Bascom, despite their knowledge of Seoul’s red light district, are still unprepared for what they find when they investigate the kidnapping of a child in Martin Limón’s “Death Floor.” A graduate student expert in erosion and ancient methods of preservation in the Peruvian Andes must decide whether to heed the warning in the locals’ folktales in “The Hungry Ones” by Emily Devenport. A cult member’s eyes are opened when a stranger wanders into the group’s compound in “The Trailhead” by Eric Rutter. An Oklahoma private investigator’s understanding of farming comes in handy when he is hired to look into the vandalizing of a farmer’s alfalfa bales in “Not My First Rodeo,” by Bret Jones. Another sleuth, Greenwich Village Beat Poet Delgardo, returns in Robert Lopresti’s atmospheric novella “Please Pass the Loot.”
Conversely stories may hinge on a character’s tragic ignorance of a particular fact. A small-time conman assumes a stranger’s identity in “A.K.A. Ross Landy” by Paul D. Marks. An ambitious film director steps into a time portal without fully appreciating what might happen in Merrilee Robson’s “Tired of Bath.” A scheme to filch some paint lands a do-it-yourselfer in hot water in “DIY” by Mark Theilman. In “Waiting for Godot” by Michael Black, a fire and rescue crew member during a South Florida hurricane walks into a deadly power play among drug lords who refused an order to evacuate.
Whether the characters in this issue are well or poorly informed, we know that you will enjoy them.
Look for our March/April 2022 issue on sale at newsstands on February 15, 2022 Or subscribe to AHMM in print or in a wide variety of digital formats.