Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine

published by Dell Magazines

Published 12 times a year along with its sister magazine, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, EQMM is arguably the best mystery magazine today. It has a consistently strong collection of entertaining and well-written crime stories; though by crime stories they mean any story where a crime or the threat of a crime figures prominently. They don't publish supernatural, graphic, horror, true crime or erotic material and are generally the cleanest collection of crime stories I've seen besides being the best.

In circulation since 1941, EQMM publishes most of the big names in mystery fiction--Edward D. Hoch, Dennis Lehane, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert S. Levinson, Neil Schofield, Stephen King, Stuart Kaminsky, David Edgerly Gates--though I'm continually amazed at how few women writers they publish. It's as if they throw in something from Joyce Carol Oates every other month (no exaggeration) and consider that good. Of the eight-ten stories published in each issue no more than one or two a month is written by a female and often the entire issue is male.

But regardless, the stories are entertaining and after going through my old issues (I kept them all) for a representative issue to order as a trial I'd recommend the December 2003 which includes "The Face of Ali Baba" by Edward D. Hoch, "The Chain" by Iain Rowan, "Morning of the Murder" by Helen Tucker, and "Fisherman's Friend" by Ingrid Noll. The styles can range from police procedural to locked door and impossible crimes to the occasional hard-boiled or cozy (I usually skip the hard-boiled, I get enough gratuitous violence with four kids when school's out. I don't need any further stimulation, thanks).

I subscribe to both magazines off and on, keeping an issue in my purse for those down times at the doctor's office or waiting for kids to get out of school. Between the two publications I think the fiction in EQMM is slightly better (though only very slightly) and they have the Department of First Stories for previously unpublished writers and the Passport to Crime department for foreign writers which are both a bonus, AHMM has a monthly puzzle and a "Mysterious Photograph" contest where writers submit a 200-word story to go with the selected photograph--which I always enjoy.

I'd recommend a subscription--and if you're a mystery lover, check-out Bouchercon 2007 coming up. See you there!


Anonymous said...

Oh my word! I missed this (poss before I started reading you?) and I have never heard of this mag but I LOVE the old Ellery Queen books...sigh...wonder what their int'l shipping rates are?