170 Winter Cover, Patricia CornwellHello Everyone!

The holidays are fast approaching and that means our own favorite elf, Kevin Burton Smith, has assembled this year’s “Mystery Scene Gift Guide.” This handy feature is guaranteed to solve all your gift-giving dilemmas— or maybe inspire you to treat yourself.

I was working as the book review editor at the late, lamented The Armchair Detective magazine when Patricia Cornwell’s Postmortem first appeared in 1990. I remember clearly the excitement this extraordinary debut incited around the office. As book number 25 in the Dr. Kay Scarpetta series is published, there’s some of that old electricity in the air. Scarpetta is back after a long break and answering to U.S. president, no less. Don’t miss John B. Valeri’s conversation with one of the giants of contemporary mystery fiction.

Michael Mallory looks at Steve Fisher, a once successful writer who is nearly forgotten today. Is it possible critics have discounted the value of Fisher’s crime fiction simply because he wrote so much, in so many genres, for so many mediums? Mallory contends that if Fisher had only published “his masterful 1941 thriller I Wake Up Screaming and his handful of stories for Black Mask Magazine, he’d be remembered as a master of the hardboiled mystery who more than anyone pushed the edge of its envelope into the darker, more emotional realm of noir.”

Shows such as The Sopranos (which first aired in 1999), Six Feet Under (2001), The Wire (2002), Battlestar Galactica (2004), Lost (2004), Mad Men (2007), Breaking Bad (2008), and Game of Thrones (2011), are generally considered the basis of the so-called second Golden Age of television. But, in this issue, Craig Sisterson contends that the origins of this creative peak go back farther—to NYPD Blue, a trailblazing cop drama premiering in 1993. Take a stroll through the 15th Precinct and let us know what you think!

Author Rhys Bowen has an affinity for the past. “I am very much drawn to the first half of the 20th century. I suppose it’s close enough that I can relate to it,” she says. “My mother was a teenager in the 1930s, my grandmother a young woman in Edwardian times, but it’s remote enough that there are big differences. Women couldn’t vote in many of my books. The 1930s and WWII are particularly compelling as times of heightened tension, and we can see so many similarities to our own times.” John B. Valeri talks to Rhys Bowen in this issue.

Jon L. Breen takes a look at an unlikely but delightful sleuth: Edna Ferber, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of So Big, Showboat, Giant, and Dinner at Eight, among other works. Ed Ifkovic has imagined this new career for the bestselling mid-century writer in a series of 11 mysteries that Breen calls “almost uniformly excellent.”

Nicholas Meyer has many titles—director (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), screenwriter (Time After Time), Academy Award nominee (The Seven-Per-Cent Solution), Emmy nominee (The Day After), and author (The West End Horror). But Meyer prefers a simpler, more to the point title—storyteller. Oline Cogdill interviews Meyer and discusses his varied and very successful career.

Also in this issue, Gabrielle St. George and Howard Michael Gould offer entertaining “My Book” essays on their new work.


Kate Stine
Editor in Chief