by Leigh Lundin
As you may have noticed from posting datelines below my recent
articles, I'm traveling, which is taking me through South Africa. At
the moment, I'm being unforgivably rude by closeting myself in a corner
of my friends' beach home as I dash out this article, the result of a
sudden decision to take down my intended column for today and slap up a
new one… with good reason.
The friends are Tig and Sue and their house in Port Shepstone
overlooks the Indian Ocean, where in the distance, whales are breaching
as I write. Yesterday, they give us a tour of the Oribi Gorge where the
deer and the antelope play… or rather monkeys and impala, the real
kind, not those bred by Chevrolet.
This sounds exotic to those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, but what
I've found more amazing is how comfortable, how natural South Africa
feels, at least this province of KwaZulu-Natal, birthplace of the Zulus.
Family helps of course, and everyone has made me feel like
family. There's English, too– North Americans don't have to
struggle with phrase books because everyone speaks more English English
than most of us do. S.A. politics are as mad as America's and our sense
of humor shares the same DNA. Except for occasional vervet monkeys
scampering through the back garden, you couldn't possibly find this
beautiful land all that different from ours.
So with abject apologies to my gracious and forgiving host and hostess, on with the article.
One of the last things I did before journeying across the seas was to forward subscriptions for Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazines. Thus, I was happily able to enjoy RT Lawton's bail bond twins and Janice Law's 'Medium' in the last issue and Rob's story 'Brutal' in the current one. Damn, SleuthSayers has great authors, don't we?
Reading these stories reinforces how good these writers are. If
anything, their talents are understated, because I find myself
marveling and taking a sort of proprietary pride in knowing them. And
before I forget, Janice Law has a historical coming out later this
year, which I'll ramble about in an upcoming article.
I've read all but two stories in this, the September issue. I know, I
know… the magazine industry dates their periodicals like
automobile companies… is the 2013 Dodge Viper out yet?
Rob Lopresti, as usual, received mention on the cover for his
wicked story 'Brutal'. It's sly, it's funny, it's a groaner… I can't
say more without giving away too much.
The story reminds me of one of John Lutz's parables. There's an
author's adage to heap misery on the hero until he can't take any
more… and then dump on even more. You might say both writers
turned that adage on its head.
Read AHMM to see what I mean. But wait, there's more…
Jolie McLarren Swann, otherwise known as James Lincoln Warren,
graced the previous (August) issue with 'Inner Fire', the Black Orchid
Novella Award-winning takeoff on Nero Wolfe, which I was previously
permitted to critique– actually rave about. You do not want to miss
Although Ellery Queen inexplicably omitted SleuthSayers authors
in the current August issue (don't ask me to explain why the magazines'
dates differ), they do contain articles by two of our friends.
Terrie Moran, our pal at Women of Mystery,
has come up with a nuanced tale set in Florida. Terrie is one of those
authors who never stamps out the same kind of story twice. Each seems
very different from the other. Her latest seeps with research she's put
into it. 'Fontaine House' reads like a southern romance… without
the romance. With a pinch of love in the air, I could picture an
offshoot of this story winning a RWA competition. You'll probably gulp
at the end.
Melodie Johnson Howe, our colleague at Criminal Brief, created the series Hollywood fatale Diana Poole, who appears in a new book, Shooting Hollywood, on sale at disreputable bookstores everywhere. Now I liked Diana Poole, but I love her new story, 'Losing It', a deceptive tale about a stolen shawl. I doubt most readers will come close to guessing this unusual plot; I certainly couldn't. And like I said above, you'll probably gulp at the end.
Jeff Baker placed a story in Sherlock Holmes #8, which I haven't seen yet. Herschel Cozine wrote a parody in the queue for December, issue #10. This is my wake-up call to subscribe.
And More Coming Up…
David Dean's scheduled for the December Ellery Queen with "Mariel." A reprint of "The Vengeance Of Kali" will appear in
an Ed Gorman edited anthology, Best Mystery Stories Of 2010.
Jan Grape co-edited an anthology released in May, Murder Here Murder There from Twilight Times Publishing, which includes her short story 'The Confession'.
Elizabeth Zelvin has a CD out. She also currently has out her third novel, Death Will Extend Your Vacation, 'Shifting Is for the Goyim', coming out on Untreed Reads very, very soon, and a story in Ellery Queen that will appear in 2013.
John Floyd has several stories in the queue… Actually John's
like the British Empire… The sun never sets on John's stories– they're
everywhere. John reports a story in the current Woman's World and another coming up there in August; stories coming up in future issues of Hitchcock and Strand Magazine; stories in issues #8, #9, and #11 of Sherlock Holmes Mystery Mag; one in Prairie Times; several coming up at Mysterical-E; and stories forthcoming in three anthologies. John will also release a fourth collection of short mystery stories, called Deception, scheduled for next spring.
Janice Law wrote a story in Connecticut Muse, one in the most recent Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, and an entry in the recent MWA anthology.
Rob Lopresti has another AHMM story about six months from now.
Readers and writers, who have I missed? Let me know and I'll add you in.
You don't have to have your literature shipped to South Africa… find them at bookstores and newsstands now.