Bill Crider on his story with Joe Lansdale for Black Cat Mystery Magazine #3, an indie anthology digest, from his interview for The Digest Enthusiast book five:
BC: Wow. “A Right to be Dead” was a long time ago. Joe Lansdale and I were corresponding by letters (as I said, a long time ago), and I was trying to write a story that might fit Mike Shayne’s Mystery Magazine. What I came up with was “A Right to be Dead,” and I thought it had a great first line, which I still remember: “The dead man sat up and looked around.” It didn’t sell to Shayne, so Joe said he’d look it over and punch it up, which he did. I wrote most of it, and he did the polish and the marketing.
He eventually sold the story to Black Cat Mystery Magazine, which was published in Canada. I was thrilled, and I was even more thrilled when the editors agreed to buy another story from us before “A Right to be Dead” was published.
After the TDE interview was published, Tore Stokka wrote to say the story was reprinted in Lansdale’s anthology For A Few Stories More.
The Cat’s Perch by John Gregory Betancourt and Carla Coupe
“Getting Away” Alan Orloff
“Fairy Tale” by Art Taylor
“Eb and Flo” by Josh Pachter
“Crazy Cat Lady” by Barb Goffman
“A Pie to Die For” by Meg Opperman
“Murder at Madame Tussaud’s” by Dan Andriacco
“Rooster Creek” by John M. Floyd
“Don’t Bank on It” by Jack Halliday
“Dixie Quickies” by Michael Bracken
“Flight to the Flirty Flamingo” by Kaye George
“The Italian Tile Mystery” by John Holding (Classic Reprint from EQMM Sept. 1961)
“Beside a Flowering Wall” by Fletcher Flora (Classic Reprint from AHMM April 1968)
“The ABCs of Murder” by Josh Pachter (verse)
Black Cat Mystery Magazine #1 Winter 2017/2018
Publisher: Wildside Press LLC
Editors: John Gregory Betancourt and Carla Coupe
6” x 9” 150 pages, $12.00 POD, $3.99 Kindle
Wildside Press website
Black Cat Mystery Magazine #2
I collect digest magazines—titles and the work of specific authors. I also make mistakes. One of the authors I’m tracking is Bill Crider; his short story appearances in digest magazines. He writes mostly novels, so you might call it a short list. He also writes columns for Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine and Mystery Scene Magazine, and although I enjoy both, I’m not specifically collecting them. I’m after his short fiction.
Black Cat Mystery Magazine was a title I’d never heard of until I gathered a list of Bill’s short stories from Galactic Central. Black Cat was a small press digest from 1981/82 that ran six issues, retitled Black Cat Mystery Quarterly beginning with #4. It was published by March Chase Publishing and edited by F. Clare-Joynt in Toronto. It ran a mix of genre fiction and articles. I was happy when I found one at Abe Books from a Canadian dealer.
It arrived yesterday in one of those fiber-padded envelopes that was itself encased in an additional plastic seal. A little odd, but I understood once the plastic was removed. The envelope inside was soaked. Completely saturated as if the package had been submerged in water, yanked out and then sealed to lock in the moisture. And the carrier—Canadian or U.S.—did a good job. In forty years of mail order magazines I’ve never seen anything like it. What the hell were they thinking?
It was 100 degrees give-or-take in Portland yesterday so it only took a few hours of sun to dry the thing out completely. It isn’t stained. At least the soaking appears to have been administered with clean water. It’s badly warped, worthless as a collectable, but can be read.
But I made a mistake. It’s issue #2, and I wanted #3. What the hell was I thinking?