Black Cat Mystery Magazine [v2 #4, whole #8, January 2021] ex. ed. John Gregory Betancourt, ed. Michael Bracken (Wildside Press, $13.00, 126pp, tp) 1 • Contents Page 2 • From the Cat’s Perch • Michael Bracken • ed 3 • Trip Up on High Street • John Hegenberger • ss 11 • St. Killian’s Choice • M.A. Monnin • ss 18 • You Lose, We Find • Jon Matthew Farber • ss 26 • The Big Picture • John M. Floyd • ss 45 • An Artist in the Harem • Elizabeth Zelvin • ss 62 • Planted in Midair • D.V. Bennett • ss 84 • An Inconvenient Sleuth • Barb Goffman • ss 109 • Just Another Bum • Donald Barr Chidsey • ss Detective Fiction Weekly Jan. 6, 1934
I thoroughly enjoyed this special Private Eye edition of Black Cat Mystery Magazine, edited by Michael Bracken. Its authors include Robert Lopresti and Josh Pachter who have both contributed to past issues of The Digest Enthusiast. Others, like Andrew Welsh-Huggins, Bev Vincent, and John M. Floyd often appear in the pages of newsstand digests like Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen. It was great to see a story from Gordon Linzner, who edited and published the indie SF zine Space & Time for decades. Another indie digest stalwart is Graham Powell, whose work has appeared in places like Needle and Plots with Guns. The prolific, award winner, O’Neil De Noux is onboard, along with Clarkesworld author E.E. King. The volume wraps with two longer yarns, the first by Robert Jeschonek of PulpHouse Fiction and Fiction River-fame, and concludes with a classic reprint from Manhunt by Fletcher Flora.
All told, a terrific read with special appeal for lovers of private detective stories.
New Releases Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 7 Special Private Eye Issue Contents Page Michael Bracken: From the Cat’s Perch Robert Lopresti “The Charity Case” Andrew Welsh-Huggins “The Whole Story” Josh Pachter “The Stopwatch of Death” Bev Vincent “The Fugitive with the Dragon Tattoo” O’Neil De Noux “Love Pirate” Graham Powell “Pictures of Lily” Gordon Linzner “Show and Zeller” John M. Floyd “Mustang Sally” E.E. King “Funeral Potatoes” Robert Jeschonek “The Makings of a Killer” Fletcher Flora “Loose Ends” (Classic Reprint)
Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 7 Publisher/Executive Editor: John Gregory Betancourt Editor: Michael Bracken Production: Sam Hogan, Karl Wülf 6” x 9” 168 pages Print $13.00 Wildside Press Website
Digest Magazine Blogs Phyllis Galde talks with Zecharia Sitchin, eminent Orientalist and biblical scholar at Fatemag.com.
LaToya Jovena, whose “The Winner” appears in the upcoming EQMM Nov/Dec 2020, explains where she gets story ideas at Something is Going to Happen.
Readin’ and Writin’ This week’s reading included wrapping up the current issue of Fantasy & Science Fiction, an ecclectic mix of entertaining fiction and features. My favorite stories were Marc Laidlaw’s “Weeper,” Leah Cypess’ “Of Them All,” James Sallis’ “The Cry of Evening Birds,” and Brian Trent’s “The Dog and the Ferryman.” The introduction to Laidlaw’s yarn also highlights his Games column with the promise “We think you’ll appreciate his insights into the narratives of this new-ish medium, even if you don’t play games.” I don’t, but it did prove to be an issue highlight. I also greatly enjoyed Jerry Oltion’s Science column on the science of printing. If you hurry, you can still find the issue on newsstands or order a copy directly from the publisher online.
Alec Cizak sent me the first batch of stories he’s selected for Pulp Modern Vol. 2 No. 6 and I’ve begun the layout. We’re going with a two-column layout this time to look more like the pulps and digests of old.
Rick McCollum sent the final art for my story that will appear in The Digest Enthusiast No.13. Fab as usual. It’s already in place in the issue, which is progressing nicely. Also completed the retouch on the covers for Steve Carpers’ new article.
Our current issue: The Digest Enthusiast No. 12 is available in print at Lulu.com and Amazon, and in digital formats at Kindle Books and Magzter.
New Releases Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 6 Contents Page Michael Bracken: From the Cat’s Perch Trey R. Barker “Seven Card Joker High” Robert Guffey “The Loser” Michael Bracken “Blest Be the Tie that Binds” John Hegenberger “The Magnificent Score” Robert Lopresti “Worse than Death” Patricia Dusenbury “The Last Thing He Remembered” Laird Long “Paint the Clown Red” Bryce Walton “The Contagious Killer” (Classic Reprint)
Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 6 (Vol. 2 No. 2) (June 2019) Publisher: John Gregory Betancourt Editor: Michael Bracken Production Team: Sam Cooper, Steve Coupe, Shawn Garrett, Sam Hogan, Yamini Manikoth Cover: Uncredited 6” x 9” 132 pages Print $14.49 Kindle $3.99 Black Cat Mystery website
The Jul/Aug 2020 issues of Analog and Asimov’s are now available. For contents click on their titles.
Pulp Modern editor Alec Cizak provides an update on the fiction digest at No Moral Center and introduces Pulp Modern Flash, a new online genre fiction website.
Tales from the Magician’s Skull No. 4 Contents Page John C. Hocking “Guardian of the Broken Gem” Adrian Cole “On Death Seed Island” James Enge “Masks of Silence” James Stoddard “Cage of Honor” C.L. Werner “The Witch’s Hand” Ryan Harvey “The Dead Queen’s Triumph” Tom Doyle “Thieves of the Fallen World” Milton Davis “Apedamak’s Army” Terry Olson’s Appendix: Game Statistics
Tales from the Magician’s Skull No. 4 Publisher: Joseph Goodman Editor: Howard Andrew Jones Cover: Doug Kovacs Design: Lester B. Portly Interior Art: Chris Arneson, Randy Broecker, Samuel Dillon, Jannell Jaquays, Doug Kovacs, Brad McDevitt, Russ Nicholson, Stefan Prag 8.5” x 11” 72 pages Print $14.99
Digest Magazine Reviews Robert Lopresti reviews Mark Thielman’s “A Beastly Trial” from AHMM Jul/Aug 2020 at Little Big Crimes.
Jacqueline Freimor whose story “That Which is True” debuts in EQMM Jul/Aug 2020 responds to the question: “Where do you get your ideas?” at EQMM’sSomething is Going to Happen.
TDE Contributor Corner Jack Seabrook and Peter Enfantino review Batman No. 323, The Brave and the Bold No. 162, and Detective Comics No. 490 at bare•bones e-zine.
Jack Seabrook presents The Hitchcock Project—Harold Swanton Part Two: Portrait of Jocelyn at bare•bones e-zine.
Readin’ and Writin’ (6-28-20) Finished reading The Confession by Domenic Stansberry, Hard Case Crime, 2004 (HCC-006) this week. A criminal psychologist tells his first-hand story of the criminal justice system when he finds himself facing trial for the murder of his lover amid an avalanche of circumstantial evidence.
Second read of the week was Eddie’s World by Charlie Stella, from Stark House Press’ Black Gat imprint. It’s Black Gat Books No. 2. The copyright is 2001, first published by Carroll & Graf. Cover photo by Peter Rozovsky, book design by Mark Shepard.
Eddie is a sometimes gangster, sometimes word processor. He takes on his latest caper mostly to help out a friend who is in deep financial straits. It’s an after-hours heist for $15K in cash, split three ways between Eddie, Tommy, and the inside-gal Sarah. Like the rest of Eddie’s life, things get complicated, get worse, and get hard to see anyway free and clear of the noirish muck he’s mired in. Plot, characters, prose—this one’s terrific from every angle.
Updated several larquepress.com webpages this week, adding The Digest Enthusiast No. 12 and Pulp Modern No. 5 to their respective webpages and a complete redo of the links page.
DreamHaven Books now has copies of The Digest Enthusiast No. 10–12 and bare*bones No. 1 and No. 2 for sale online and at their landmark store in Minneapolis.
Jack Seabrook wrapped up a terrific article on Mystery Book Magazine author Leo Marr that’s locked in for The Digest Enthusiast No. 13, due in January 2021.
While you’re waiting you might want to check out the current issue that includes an interview with John Shirley about his special issue of Weirdbook No.42. The Digest Enthusiast No. 12 is available in print from select booksellers and Lulu.com–and in digital versions for Kindle and Magzter.
Vintage Crime Digest Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine Feb. 1959 Brett Halliday: First Appearances Brett Halliday “Keep Me Out of the Morgue” (Mike Shayne) Lewis Horne “Strangers in Gideon” Art Crockett “Murder Begins at Home” Johnston McCulley “Thubway Tham’s Double Play” Henry Slesar “Something Borrowed” John Jakes “The Crooked Three” Charles Beckman, Jr. “Framed” Dennis Weigand “Child’s Play”
Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine Vol 4 No. 3 Feb. 1959 Publisher: Leo Margulies Editorial Director: Cylvia Kleinman Production: Walter P. Dallas 5.5” x 7.75” 128 pages Cover Price: 35¢
Contents Page John Gregory Betancourt: From the Cat’s Perch Michael Bracken “The Show Must Go On” Dara Carr “Emily and Elodie” Tracy Falenwolfe “Partners in Crime” John M. Floyd “Rhonda and Clyde” Charlie Hughes “The Idea” Janice Law “The Bodyguard” Dennis Palumbo “Trigger Warning” Keith Snyder “Blue Skies” Elizabeth Zelvin “A Unicorn in the Harem” Gil Brewer “Don’t Do That” (Classic Reprint)
Black Cat Mystery Magazine No. 5 (Vol. 2 No. 1) (Nov. 2019) Publisher: Wildside Press LLC Editors: John Gregory Betancourt, Carla Coupe, Michael Bracken Production Team: Sam Cooper, Steve Coupe, Shawn Garrett, Yamini Manikoth Cover: Uncredited 6” x 9” 148 pages Print $12.00 Kindle (coming soon) Black Cat Mystery website
“George Milonivich did not know if his city was becoming Sodom or if it was becoming Gomorrah, but the increasing numbers of strip clubs, gay bars, and general perversity he witnessed on a daily basis certainly indicated it was headed in that direction.” “Skirts” by Michael BrackenBlack Cat Mystery Magazine Spring 2018
“The ABCs of Murder,” a humorous poem by Josh Pachter, fills out the back cover. Oddly, it’s run landscape; I suppose to maximize the type size.
Black Cat Mystery Magazine is a welcome new arrival for fans of crime fiction magazines. Its content fulfills its promise of something for all mystery readers—hardboiled, cozy, noir, crime, private eye, suspense, and thriller. Each story is a satisfying example of its sub-genre. My favorites were those by Michael Bracken, Kaye George, and Fletcher Flora; but I lean toward the dark side. If you enjoy the full range of crime fiction, you’ll love the variety here. And frankly, variety is what a great anthology is all about.
Publisher: Wildside Press LLC Editors: John Gregory Betancourt and Carla Coupe Cover: Fotolia 6” x 9” 150 pages POD $12.00, Kindle $3.99
“Beside a Flowering Wall” by Fletcher Flora is reprinted from Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine April 1968. A spinster is visited by the lost love of her life. “The wonder was that he had [once] loved her, for she had been a plain girl, as she was a plain woman, with an odd faded look as if she had been laundered too many times in boiling water.” The crime here was the loss of what might have been, until the opportunity to erase it forever arose.
Together, Martin Leroy and King Danforth make up the fictitious mystery writer “Leroy King,” the creation of real-life writer James Holding (1907–1997). A concept perfect for its original run of ten stories in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. Their third outing, “The Italian Tile Mystery,” reprinted here, originally saw print in EQMM Sept. 1961.
The mystery is a puzzle, and the writing partners and their wives sleuth out its solution in this enjoyable puzzle procedural. The editor’s notes reveal a forthcoming complete collection of Leroy King stories from Crippen & Landru—The Zanzibar Shirt Mystery.
The Flirty Flamingo is a strip club where an ex-cop named Fin often stations himself at the end of the bar. “Usually he let Joe, the barkeep, handle the rough customers and was only there for unofficial backup.” But when new girl Jodie Vive shares her story, Fin finds himself mangled up in high-profile politics and murder. “Flight to the Flirty Flamingo” by Kaye George is smart, tart, and fleet.