Thursday, March 31, 2016

Little Big News: Derringer winners!

The Short Mystery Fiction Society has announced the winners of this year's Derringer Awards.  Congratulations to all!



Flash fiction Hero by Vy Kava           

Short story
Twilight Ladies by Meg Opperman        

Long Story
Dentonville by  John M. Floyd        

Novelette 
Driver by John M. Floyd              


Sunday, March 27, 2016

Heathen Springs, by James L. Ross

"Heathen Springs," by James L. Ross, in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, April 2016.

Nice private eye-type story by Mr. Ross in his second appearance on this page.

Hugh Brewster is a disillusioned psychology professor who becomes an investigator for a security company.  One of their clients is a movie studio and when the son of a minor star is kidnapped Brewster is sent into the desert where filming had been going on location to try to solve the dilemma.

The local cops aren't much help and the studio boss isn't willing to contribute to a ransom: "I'm not hanging out a sign saying I'm a soft touch."  But the worst part is thatno one is calling with a ransom demand. If they don't want money than all the other possibilities are grim.

The story is good all the way through but what I loved was the ending, a cold conversation between Brewster and his boss that reminded me of Hammett's Continental Op  chatting with the Old Man.

Friday, March 25, 2016

Little Big News: Shanks Goes Rogue

"Shanks Goes Rogue" appears in the May issue of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, on sale next week.  it is his ninth appearance there, and my 26th.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Perfesser and the Kid, by Roberta Rogow

"The Perfesser and the Kid," by Roberta Rogow, in Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, issue 19, 2016.

This story takes place on the day of Nikola Tesla's funeral.  An aging politician decides to entertain the gathered reporters with the true story of the great inventor's first day in America.

We know that Tesla was robbed on the ship and stepped onto dry land with four cents in his pocket.   The official version says that he then met a man on the street with a broken machine and fixed it on the spot, thereby earning his first dollar on these shores.

Our politician-narrator begs to disagree.  He was a newsboy at the time and he tells a very different story involving a pool hall, a gang of street toughs, and Tammany Hall.

My favorite part is a scene near the end when Tesla solemnly pays his debts.  I can only say: I have known people like that.

There is a clever twist at the end of the story.  I enjoyed it a lot.  





Sunday, March 13, 2016

Upon The Stair, by Declan Hughes

"Upon The Stair," by Declan Hughes, in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, March/April 2016.

Last week my choice was about a private eye as bodyguard.  This week it is private eye as social worker / couple's counselor.  Varied juob description these fictional P.I.'s have.

Ed Loy works in Dublin and he hired to keep an eye on Thomas Harrington who has recently become, as Loy puts it, a Famous Irish Writer, and like a number of  others in that category, is having trouble adjusting to it.  His problems invovle booze, reckless behavior, and possible infidelity.  HIs wife wants to know what's going on.

But just about everybody in this story has a hidden agenda.  All except our hero, and he has to figure it out.  A satisfying story.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Jaguar at Sunset, by John Lantigua

"The Jaguar at Sunset," by John Lantigua, in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, March/April 2016.

A nice private eye story by Mr. Lantigua. 

A Brazilian couple named the Mattos led the fight against development in their region and are murdered for it.  Now their daughter Constancia has taken up the cause and is supposed to make a speech in the Everglades National Park in Florida.

The bad guys would like to her silence her too but they know that a political assassination in the United States would cause more trouble than it would end.  But they can give a plane ticket to Constanzia's bitter former lover, and set him loose in Florida.  A lover's quarrel ending in tragedy is no cause for an international incident.  Did I mention he is an expert marksman with a rifle and a bow and arrow?

Connie's new lover contacts Mimi P.I. Willie Cuesta, and Willie, trying to provide bodyguard service on a shoestring, gathers some unlikely allies...

A good tale with a strong sense of place.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Little Big News: Derringer finalists

The Short Mystery Fiction Society has announced the finalists for the 2016 Derringer Awards.  I am more than delighted that one of the stories is by yours truly.  Congratulations to all!

For Best Flash Story (Up to 1,000 words)
  • Jack Bates, "The Hard Screw" (Near to the Knuckle, August 6, 2015)
  • Craig Faustus Buck, "Heavy Debt" (Mondays are Murder: Akashic Books, August 10, 2015)
  • Barb Goffman, "The Wrong Girl" (Flash and Bang: A Short Mystery Fiction Society Anthology: Untreed Reads, October 2015)
  • Vy Kava, "Hero" (Red Dawn: Best New England Crime Stories 2016: Level Best Books, November 2015)
  • John Weagly, "Trash Pick-Up" (Near to the Knuckle, September 24, 2015)

For Best Short Story (1,001–4,000 words)
  • Shelly Dickson Carr, "Words Can Kill" (Red Dawn: Best New England Crime Stories 2016: Level Best Books, November 2015)
  • Nikki Dolson, "Joe Park's Little Girl" (Mystery Weekly, September 7, 2015)
  • Chris Knopf, "Kill Switch" (Red Dawn: Best New England Crime Stories 2016: Level Best Books, November 2015)
  • William Burton McCormick, "Pompo's Disguise" (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, March/April 2015)
  • Meg Opperman, "Twilight Ladies" (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, March/April 2015)

For Best Long Story (4,001–8,000 words)
  • Ron Collins, "The White Game" (Fiction River: Hidden in Crime: WMG Publishing, November 2015)
  • John M. Floyd, "Dentonville" (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, November 2015)
  • Katia Lief, "The Orchid Grower" (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, November 2015)
  • Robert Lopresti, "Shooting at Firemen" (Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, July/August 2015)
  • Elizabeth Zelvin, "The Man in the Dick Tracy Hat" (Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, June 2015)

For Best Novelette (8,001–20,000 words)
  • John M. Floyd, "Driver" (The Strand Magazine, February-May 2015)
  • Jane Haddam, "Crazy Cat Ladies" (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, February 2015)
  • Richard Helms, "Shooting Stars" (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, September/October 2015)
  • Gordon Hopkins, "Jack Daniels and Associates: The Whiplash Brokers" (Kindle Worlds, March 2015)
  • Travis Richardson, "Quack and Dwight" (Jewish Noir: Contemporary Tales of Crime and Other Dark Deeds: PM Press, November 2015)