Katherine Hall Page, Lincoln, Massachusetts
An issue of Mystery Scene in my mailbox was always an occasion for much happiness, an occasion to give myself a nice long time to sit and read the magazine from cover to cover. Many thanks for these last 20 years of articles that were unique for the quality of the writing and the breadth of the subjects. Each issue touched upon past Golden Ages and introduced us to debut authors poised for the next. The columns illustrated just how wide the mystery world is.
It was a pleasure, and challenge, to write for you—the highlight was researching the article on Mary Stewart after I had received a letter from her shortly before her death. I know new readership resulted—especially for her gem Madam, Will You Talk?
Ave atque vale, Kate and Brian!
Robin Agnew, Ann Arbor, Michigan
What a gift this magazine has been to our community—coverage of awards, conferences, in depth interviews, and of course reviews so readers knew what to look forward to. Even though I was myself a reviewer I scoured the columns for what to read next, just like anyone else. I am deeply saddened it will no longer be around to spread the word about the greatness of the mystery genre. Many many hats off to Kate and Brian for their stellar work, with sadness and affection.
Oline H. Cogdill, Plantation, Florida
I am beyond sad that Mystery Scene is publishing its last issue.
Working for Mystery Scene has been a highlight for me, allowing me to interview some outstanding authors through the years. Mystery Scene is the pure definition of quality as the editors and writers take great care in sculpting our interviews, profiles, articles, reviews, and blogs. I have the utmost respect for Kate and Brian and the publication they have led.
John B. Valeri, Portland, Connecticut
To say “thank you” seems inadequate and yet sometimes the simplest words best express the most profound sentiments. Before I had the privilege of becoming a contributor to Mystery Scene—an absolute honor over which I’m still pinching myself (ouch!)—I was an avid reader of the magazine (still am) and would look forward to each issue with unabashed glee, knowing that I was about to “meet” new (to me) authors and books that would bring countless hours of entertainment and enlightenment.
To this day, I greet each publication with that same sense of wonderment. Whether the big, beloved authors we all recognize or lesser known (but equally talented) writers of regional or international prominence, there is always an abundance of literary gems to be unearthed. As much as I’ll miss writing for the magazine, I’ll miss reading it more. I couldn’t have asked for, or had, a better experience—as a reader or a writer. But I know that I am better for having been both, and that your influence will continue to be felt in all that remains to be read and written.
Hank Wagner, Rockaway, New Jersey
It’s hard to believe that Mystery Scene is closing up shop after nearly 35 years. I fondly recall buying the early issues in my late 20s and early 30s, eagerly absorbing sacred genre knowledge from the likes of Ed Gorman and Charles L. Grant. I feel even more nostalgic about becoming a member of the Mystery Scene family around the turn of the century, after the esteemed Mr. Gorman recommended my services to you shortly after you and Brian had taken the helm. Thanks so much for all the assignments, and for suggesting I do the "Original Thrillers Paperback" column; I’ve enjoyed the work, and working with you and Reviews Editor Teri Duerr, immensely. It was a privilege and an honor, but, most of all, it was fun.
Teri Duerr, Sr. Editor, Brooklyn, New York
When I answered an ad for an assistant editor job for Mystery Scene sometime in the fall of 2005, I had no clue what I was getting myself into. I had no idea that my interview with Kate and Brian at the Mystery Scene office (a fourth-floor Midtown walk-up) was in the building of the original Mysterious Bookshop. I had no clue who the bespectacled guy on the cover of Issue #90 Brian handed me was (some guy named Michael Connelly?). Believe it or not, dear readers (and it pains me now to admit it) I was not a lover of mysteries!
But boy, oh boy, has Mystery Scene ever changed that. And I’ll be forever grateful it has.
I don’t know what sort of outsized con I pulled to get hired that day, but it has paid off in spades (and then some). Over the nearly two decades working side-by-side with Kate, I’ve learned things that have opened worlds to me, made me a better reader, a better writer, and a better editor. My admiration of the genres we all know and love has grown and deepened, but I particularly value the way I earned this appreciation: through countless recommendations and shared passions from our contributors and readers, from the chance to talk with hundreds of unique and fascinating authors over the years, through reading Mystery Scene’s fascinating articles and benefiting from the knowledge of genre luminaries—I especially miss my back-and-forths with our founding father and one of the funniest, most talented, and most generous humans ever Ed Gorman, who passed away in 2016. And I’ll tell you the only person who may have him beat in the talent, kindness, and generosity department is this magazine’s current publisher and editor, Kate Stine.
There is no other publication like Mystery Scene and it will leave a very large hole in the mystery world. A big thank you to Kate and Brian for putting it into the world these past two decades (and for taking a chance on a tenderfoot like me). A big thank you to all the reviewers and contributors I’ve had the honor of working with over the years. And one final big thank you to all of our readers, many of whom I’ve also gotten the chance to know and have found to be just as storied and interesting as the books they read.
Max Allan Collins, Muscatine, Iowa
This is, obviously, terrible news—an awful blow to the genre. I was part of Mystery Scene in its earliest days, when it was just being born, kicking the concept around with Ed Gorman and Bob Randisi. For about the first 10 years, I had the film review column in the magazine. It’s a gut punch to working mystery writers, the very thought of the magazine being gone. You did a fantastic job with it and should be very proud of what you accomplished. Congratulations on a great run. This is a huge loss to the mystery community.
Joseph Scarpato, Jr., Marlborough, Massachusetts
After more than 20 years of reviewing new mysteries for Mystery Scene, I will miss it very much. I looked forward to reading about the mystery authors, new mysteries being published and the very interesting articles about all things mystery related. Thank you for the opportunity to contribute as a reviewer.
Debbie Haupt, St. Charles, Missouri
Thanks for the memories! It was late 2018 when I was invited to review for this acclaimed publication and ever since have been very proud to be a part of the Mystery Scene family. In those years I have had the pleasure of reading, reviewing and discovering many, many wonderful novels and authors who have since become go-to favorites. My editor, Teri Duerr, is super and has always made my reviews look fabulous and I will deeply miss her guidance and hope the future is bright for her and all the other staff members. It’s hard to say goodbye and so it’s with a heavy heart that I say, Adieu, Adios, Arrivederci, Au Revoir, Auf Wiedersehen and Sayōnara.
Jay Roberts, Wareham, Massachusetts
To Kate and Brian, thanks for letting me be a part of the Mystery Scene contributors for all these years. It has been no small honor for me to be able to offer my thoughts on a variety of books in your pages. I wish this ride with you was continuing onward but just know that, to paraphrase the late great Warren Zevon, “I’ll keep you in my heart for a while.” P.S. Kate, I’m still holding out hope for a Mystery Scene logo T-shirt. To Teri, I'd like to say I don't have the words but as you can see by this letter of comment, I clearly have plenty of them. I know you work with plenty of reviewers, but I have always made sure to credit you (“my” editor) for making sure my ham-fisted first draft reviews turn into pieces with all the words in the right order and with a concise viewpoint. If I was writing a mystery novel, I’d want you to edit it. And yes, I’ll be waiting for your edits on this letter.
This may be the last issue of Mystery Scene and while everyone that played a part in creating each issue will surely miss it, we also know that we did a damn good job while having quite a blast talking about everything mystery. And for that, Mystery Scene will not be soon forgotten.
Dick Lochte, Los Angeles, California
I can’t remember exactly when I began contributing to Mystery Scene. Since I’d been co-writing the audio column "Sounds of Suspense" with Tom Nolan in The Armchair Detective during Kate Stine’s editorship there, my guess is, when she and Brian Skupin took hold of MS, the column, Tom and I followed. That would have been during 2002 or thereabouts. So, for a couple of decades—before and after Tom left to write his masterful biography of Ross Macdonald and other books—I spent untold hours listening to talented performers read crime books to me. This has been the longest I’ve ever worked at any job. Part of that was because it was a labor of love. Most of it was because of the atmosphere of professionalism and friendship and respect that Kate and Teri Duerr created. Thanks to all. I’m sorry it’s over, but it surely was a criminally fun ride.
Eileen Brady, Fountain Hills, Arizona
Our mailman usually stuffed the media mail envelope into our mailbox. On the way back to the house I’d tear open the brown paper mailer containing my Mystery Scene Magazine review books— then flip each book over and read the advertising copy. Did it sound interesting? Had I read the author before? Or why the heck did they send this one to me? Well, you really can’t tell a book by its cover, or blurbs, or quick synopsis. You simply start at page one. As a reviewer, I dug in and experienced each book aware that the author devoted a year or more of their life writing it.
Through Mystery Scene Magazine I’ve met many new authors, enjoyed familiar series, laughed, cried, and cheered characters on. Writers have surprised me with twisted endings. They’ve angered me, taught me, or simply swept me away with the power of their words. I’m a better writer, reader, and person because of them. Each issue made me proud I worked for this magazine. My thanks to editor and friend Teri Duerr, and our outstanding Publisher Kate Stine, who made it all look gloriously easy.
Pat H. Broeske, Santa Anna, California
Mystery Scene folding is a crime the likes of which even the combined talents of Hercule Poirot and Harry Bosch couldn’t solve. As an avid reader for years, I especially loved the articles on both new authors and starry veterans. As a proud contributor since 2018, it was a pleasure writing reviews and features, and my brand new (it ran for just two issues) nonfiction column, “Just the Facts.” A big thank you to the publisher, editor and staff—and the magazine’s dedicated readers. The genre community won’t be the same. Let’s hope there’s a sequel in the works.
Cheryl Solimini, Milford, Pennsylvania
Thank you, Mystery Scene (that is, Kate, Brian, Teri) for the privilege of interviewing/reviewing veteran authors (Michael Connelly, Sara Paretsky, just to name two) and then-newbies (Louise Penny, Tana French, Amy Stewart, to name just three) who have given me and so many others immeasurable hours of pleasure. As champions of crime writers, fiction and nonfiction, and their readers, you have provided a service, also immeasurable, to this community. We will all miss you!
Jean Gazis, Brooklyn, New York
I’ve been writing for Mystery Scene since January, 2016, and am endlessly grateful for the privilege. My review assignments introduced me to more than 70 new-to-me authors and an incredible array of fabulous settings, characters, and styles. I saw Regency England through the eyes of a crack present-day FBI agent with Julie McElwain, and through those of an abolitionist Black noblewoman with Vanessa Riley. I visited Colonial Boston with Chris Bohjalian, 1920s Calcutta with Sujata Massey, 1970s Afghanistan with Jasmin Aimaq, present-day Ghana with Kwei Quartey, and a post-apocalyptic future with Carrie Vaughn. I met so many characters I’d love to spend more time with, as I watched plucky young women, determined mothers, crusty police detectives, the Brontë sisters, and the late Queen Elizabeth II solve crimes, catch the bad guys, and clear the innocent.
I was riveted by seasoned pros Elizabeth Hand, Meg Gardiner, Thomas Mullen, and Philip Gray, and blown away by the debut efforts of Katie Gutierrez, Bev Thomas, Alex Michaelides, Janice Hallett, and Emma Flint. Lindsay Faye offered pyrotechnic prose; Anthony Horowitz and Elizabeth Little made me laugh; Kimberly McCreight skewered my very own corner of Brooklyn. Beyond providing top-notch entertainment, writers Naomi Hirahara, Susan Elia MacNeil, and others illuminated aspects of history and society that I wish were better known. I’ve enjoyed recommending the books I wrote about to friends, family, book groups, and local bookstores, and I’ll definitely be supporting those indie shops when these wonderful writers’ new mysteries are published.