I suppose it all began when I started reading the Hardy Boys mysteries as a kid, but for as long as I can remember, I have loved reading mysteries. So it shouldn't have been a surprise to anyone when I decided to subscribe to Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. I hate to admit it, but in this busy world, sometimes I just don't have time to read as many books as I'd like to. That's why a subscription to EQMM seemed like the perfect solution for me. The stories are well written, and you can easily fit one in before turning in at night.
For the first time this year I plan to submit a ballot for the 2010 EQMM Readers Award (details are in the December issue). I've read every single story in EQMM this year and picking a favorite is a difficult choice. Luckily, I've kept a running record of my favorites. For each issue I have listed my favorite story followed by a few runners-up. Consider these great short stories for your reading pleasure:
January 2010: "Io, Saturnalia!" by Margaret Maron
Runners-up for January: "The Digital Date" by Doug Allyn, "The Body in the Dunes" by Caroline Benton, "Ravensara" by Melanie Lawrence, and "Heartbeat" by Katia Lief.
February: "Skyler Hobbs and the Rabbit Man" by Evan Lewis was featured in The Department of First Stories
Runners-up for February: "Boxcar" by Nancy Means Wright, "A Dark Reunion" by Kate Ellis, "Family Values" by Robert Barnard, and from Passport to Crime: "Heard at One Remove" by Hiroki Nagaoka.
March/April: This was an excellent issue, but for my favorite I have to go with "Duel" by William Link. He helped create some to TV's best crime series: Columbo, Mannix, and Murder, She Wrote. "It All Adds Up" by Thomas Kaufman was a lot of fun to read too.
Second place is a tie: "Satan Rides the 5:15" by Vincent Lardo and "Death By Misadventure" by John Buchanan. Other runners-up: "The Girl in the Golden Gown" by Robert S. Levinson, "When, He Wondered" by Lynne Barret, "A Tour of the Tower" by Christine Poulson, and "The Disappearance of Wicked" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Loved "Monopoly" by Judith Merchant, which was featured the Passport to Crime section. And keep an eye out for Steven Steinbock, who wrote "Cleaning Up" for the Department of First Stories section.
May: "Little Old Ladies" by Simon Brett.
Runners-up: "A Small Technical Problem" by Caroline Benton, "Snake Song" by Bill Pippin, "The White Door" by Stephen Ross, and "Truck Cemetery" by Ruth Francisco.
June: "The Gift" by Phil Lovesey
Runners-up: "Whole Life" by Liza Cody, "The City of Radiant Brides" by Janice Law, and "Last Dance in Shanghai" by Clark Howard.
July: "The Body Snatchers" by Bill Pronzini
Runners-up: "Without a Body" by Lawrence Block, "Fete Worse Than Death" by Judith Cutler, "Tradition" by Ed Gorman. Also, enjoyed the French short story by Maud Tabachnik, "An Ordinary Woman".
August: This month there was a tie for my favorite story between "Ants and Flowers" by Jean Femling and "Lovely Requiem, Mr. Mozart" by Robert Barnard.
Runners-up: "Escape From Wolfkill" by Clark Howard and "The Green Cross" by Elizabeth Zelvin
September/October: "Archie's Been Framed" by Dave Zeltserman
Runners-up: "So Much In Common" by Mary Jane Maffini, "Mr. Alibi" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, "Open and Shut Case" by Marilyn Todd, and "The Scent of Lilacs" by Doug Allyn
November: "The Changelings: A Very Grim Fairytale (but for our times)" by Carol Biederman
Runners-up: "Inevitable" by Jennifer Itell, "Bedside Manners" by Martin Edwards, and "Death on the Mountain" by Nessa Altura
December: "The Man with One Eye" by Stephen Ross
Runners-up: "Winter's End" by Clark Howard and "What am I?" by Todd A. Whaley
So there you have it, my list of favorite stories for the year. You're probably wondering which one I liked best. Well, it was a tie. My two favorites for 2010 are "Io, Saturnalia!" by Margaret Maron and "Skyler Hobbs and the Rabbit Man" by Evan Lewis. May the best story win!