For many years I have kept a list of my favorite stories featured in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine. 2015 was a stellar year for short stories. Short stories appeal to me because they can carry you away to a different time and place almost instantly. This is especially great when you spend a lot of time waiting for appointments like at the doctor's office. Anyway, without further ado, here is my list of favorites for 2015:
January: The Department of First Stories is one of my favorite features of EQMM. I really enjoyed this month's pick, "Chung Ling Soo's Greatest Trick" by Russell W. Johnson. I hope to read more of his stories in the future. I also enjoyed "God is Good" by Dennis McFadden, "Christmas Eve at the Exit" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and "Born Mean" by Ruth Moose.
February: My favorite story this month was "Leap of Faith" by Brendan DuBois. The characters and setting reminded me of growing up in a small town. I also enjoyed reading "The Man with the Twisted Lip" by Terence Faherty and "Our Little Secret" by Barbara Nadel.
March/April Double issue: My favorite short story this month was "Chin Yong-Yun Meets a Ghost" by S. J. Rozan. This story was clever and just plain fun to read. Additionally, I enjoyed David Dean's spooky treat, "Her Terrible Beauty." Other stories that were fun to read included: "No Remorse" by Paula Daly, "The Black Spot" by Loren D. Estleman, "Twilight Ladies" by Meg Opperman, and "Like It Never Happened" by Jill D. Block.
May: In this issue, I enjoyed Margaret Maron's excellent short story, "We On the Train!" Other stories I liked included: "Commission" by Art Taylor, "Cakes and Ale" by John S. Barker, and "A Loneliness to the Thought" by Michael Caleb Tasker.
June: They saved the best story for last in this issue of EQMM. "The Last Cut" by Sarah Weinman was short, but left a lasting impression on me. Other stories I enjoyed included: "No Cabs After Midnight" by William Hallstead, "Her Final Shot" by Brendan DuBois, and James Warner's clever story, "The Postmen."
July: "The Walking Path" by David Dean gave me chills. No more walking in the woods alone for this girl! I also enjoyed reading "The Kashmir Enigma" by Joan Richter and D. B. Toth's first story, "The Bracelets."
August: Stories I enjoyed this month included: "Mr. Kill-Me" by David Dean, "The Water Was Rising" by Sharon Hunt, and Jane Pendjiky's first story, "Splash." My favorite story was the Passport to Crime selection, "The Executive Who Lost His Mind" by Soji Shimada (translated by David Karashima & adapted by John Pugmire).
September/October Double issue: I couldn't make up my mind, so I have two favorite stories this month: "Happy Valley" by David Dean and "The Chair" by Nancy Pickard. You don't want to miss these two. Other stories that were fun to read included: "Why Alice Jumped" by Dandi Daley Mackall, "Wedding Day" by Bill Pronzini, and "Shooting Stars" by Richard Helms. I also enjoyed the Passport to Crime feature, "The Last Run" by Michael Berg (translated by Josh Pachter), and Elle Wild's first story, "Playing Dead."
November: The story that I keep thinking about in this issue is Carolyn Hart's "What Goes Around." It was clever and fun to read. I also enjoyed "The Orchid Grower" by Katia Lief and "The Lake Tenant" by Brendan DuBois.
December: There were so many fantastic short stories in this issue it is difficult to pick a favorite. However, "Snap" by Bill Pronzini stood out because it featured the viewpoints of several different characters. Other stories I enjoyed included "The Siege" by Hilary Davidson, "Mr. Gladstone's Floorboard" by Judith Cutler, and "Rizzo's Good Cop" by Lou Manfredo. I also enjoyed the Passport to Crime feature, "The Spider" by Koga Saburo (translated by Ho-Ling Wong and adapted by John Pugmire.)
Now for my pick for the 2015 EQMM Readers Award: "We On the Train!" by Margaret Maron. My next choice is "The Walking Path" by David Dean. With so many fantastic stories, it was a difficult decision. I highly recommend that everyone read both of these stories and many of the others featured in this article. With any of the EQMM issues, there's always something that will appeal to everyone.