It's been another great year of short stories by the best mystery has to offer. Throughout the year I like to keep track of the stories that stood out from the crowd so to speak. Here's a list of the stories I enjoyed the most in 2011:
January/February: First place tie: "The Writing Workshop by Janice Law and "Archie's Escape" by William F. Smith
Runners-up: "The Karnikov Card" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, "The Alchemist" by R. T. Lawton, and "The Gun Also Rises" by Jeffrey Cohen.
March: My absolute favorite story this month was the Mystery Classic by Jack Ritchie. "The Cardula Detective Agency" first appeared in AHMM in March, 1977. I'll have to look up the other stories in the series because I enjoyed this one so much.
Other stories that I enjoyed for March include: "Catchphrase" by Neil Schofield, "The Pain of Others" by Blake Crouch, and "Small Favors" by Steve Lindley.
April: First place goes to John R. Corrigan's short story "Shooter" which had a great twist ending.
Runners-up: "Lost in a Strange Neighborhood" by Elaine Menge and "Sweet Thing Going" by Percy Spurlark Parker.
May: "Pawns" by Janet E. Irvin was my favorite this month.
Runners-up: "Death in Rehab" by B. K. Stevens and "Bankasaurus Rex" by David Dietrich.
June: My favorite for this month was "What Schedule F Told" by Martha Lufkin
Runners-up: "Natural Defenses" by David Hagerty and "Dark Horizons" by Rex Burns.
July/August Double issue: "Comedy Ann" by Dan Warthman
Runners-up: "Effleman the Psychic" by Kevin Mims, "The Real Celebrities" by Michael Mallory, "Change the Ending" by Terence Faherty, and "The Fact" by Alan Gordon.
September: My favorite short story of the year so far is "Thicker Than Blood" by Doug Allyn; absolutely excellent.
Runner-up: "A New Pair of Pants" by Jas. R. Petrin. I also really enjoyed the Mystery Classic feature for this month, "The Day of the Bullet" by Stanley Ellin. I'll have to check out more of his work.
October: There were only five stories featured this month; of which my favorites were "Swimming in Fog" by John C. Boland and "Labor Day" by R. T. Lawton.
November: Of the six stories featured this month, my two favorites were "The Burning Grounds" by Shelley Costa and "Meltdown" by John H. Dirckx.
December: This issue also had only six stories. My favorites were "No Fences" by Eve Fischer, "First Death on Mars" by Joe Calabrese, and "Plain Reckless" by Scott Mackay.