The short stories collected for the bimonthly editions of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine are always entertaining and diverse. The current issue has some classics as well as brand spanking new ones, though I don’t recall any actual spanking. That must be some other magazine. Here are some of the stories I enjoyed best:
“Pink Squirrel” by Nick Mamatas – Stories with clever Lithuanian grandmas are always entertaining. “Welcome to America! Where you can drink ice cream and alcohol simultaneously!”
“Stray” by debut author Ken Lim – What if what you’re running from isn’t really after you?
“The Interpreter and the Killer” – There’s a big international drug-trafficking case that takes an unexpected courtroom twist for Jeff Soloway’s Spanish-language interpreter. The plot hinges on a single word.
“Boo Radley College Prep” – Karen Harrington’s heartfelt tale about how a young boy learns not to make assumptions about people. This one will stay with me a long time. Excellent characters.
“Curious Incidents” – Steve Hockensmith devised a clever girl who is a Sherlock Holmes devotee, of course, for his latest Holmes on the Range story about Big Red and Old Red and a disappearance out west. Funny and true to the master of detection.
Many of the authors in this issue write novels as well. You can get the flavor of the way they think and write in these short, pleasurable bites.