Friday, December 18, 2009

I'm a fan of Mystery Scene Magazine

Yes, I'm a fan of Mystery Scene Magazine and have been subscribing for years. For me, its the best way to keep my finger on the pulse of the mystery publishing business and community, and I'm happy to report that the patient is "not dead yet." Far from it! New publishers, new imprints, new series, and new authors spring up all the time, and Mystery Scene is where I often read about them first. When the magazine arrives in the mail, I immediately sit down and read it cover-to-cover.

The latest issue, Number 112, 2009, is no exception. First is the wonderful in-depth article on cover model Sara Paretsky, and her protagonist, V.I. Warshawski. I've admired Sara since joining Sisters in Crime and learning that she was the founder of this worldwide organization to support women crime writers, which earned her Ms. Magazine’s 1987 Woman of the Year award. Modern-day women crime writers like myself can now walk blithely through the doors that pioneers like Sara pounded open for us.

After the cover article, I usually go to the book reviews to find out which books I should add to my growing to-read list. I'm especially heartened that books from my three favorite mystery publishers (two of which publish my books) are often included and well-reviewed in the pages of Mystery Scene: Five Star, Poisoned Pen Press, and Inkspot's own Midnight Ink. It's wonderful that books from mid-sized presses like these, and even smaller presses, are given the same attention by Mystery Scene's reviewers as those from the big New York presses.

Next, I go to the New Books section to read entertaining, and often funny, articles by authors about their new book releases. The articles give behind-the-scenes glimpses into authors' lives, the research we do, how we develop our characters and plot ideas, and early influences in our childhoods that led us into becoming so fascinated with reading and writing mystery books. I've been very lucky that Mystery Scene has accepted two of my own New Books essays, one each for my two Claire Hanover gift basket designer mystery books, A Real Basket Case and To Hell in a Handbasket. Probably because I'm such a eager reader of these essays, I know what the editors are looking for.

And let me digress and praise the editors, Kate Stine and Brian Skupin, for all they do for the mystery community. I, and many others, always look forward to the New Author Breakfasts and Speed-dating Sessions that Kate and Brian host at mystery conferences to acquaint attendees with new talent in the field.

Finally, this latest issue of Mystery Scene has two very special feature articles. First was the "Mystery Lover's Gift Guide" by Kevin Burton Smith. I can tell you that quite a few of his suggestions made it onto MY gift list! And last but certainly not least was Lawrence Block's debut column, "The Murders in Memory Lane". What a fascinating story he had to tell about where a particular book title came from! I'm really looking forward to future columns by him.

The only thing that I don't find in the pages of Mystery Scene to satisfy my cravings for all things mystery is short fiction. I'm a huge fan of the mystery short story form, am a member of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and have even written and published a few of my own mystery short stories. I've decided that to satisfy my craving for short mystery fiction, I should subscribe to another mystery magazine that features at least one short story a month.

So, here's a challenge to Inkspot readers. What other mystery-related magazine do you read and recommend (and tell me why you like the magazine so much)? I want to put one that includes short mystery fiction on my Christmas gift idea list that I'm giving my husband. Which one do you think he should subscribe to for me? I'll go with whichever magazine gets the most votes.

Let the voting begin!


Alan Orloff said...

I've read this magazine here and there (and certainly enjoyed it), but my path is now clear. I need to subscribe!

(And congrats Beth, on the release of your sci-fi novella, THE EPSILON ERIDANI ALTERNATIVE!)

Sue Ann Jaffarian said...

I'm also a huge fan of Mystery Scene Magazine and of Kate and Brian. They've been so very kind to me and my books within their pages. I consider Mystery Scene Magazine the "Time Magazine" of our genre.

G.M. Malliet said...

Alan, don't hesitate. Subscribe to Mystery Scene. Kate and Brian - a class act - go out of their way to welcome new writers.

Beth - I think the Strand offers short fiction?

Mystery Readers Journal, written largely by contributors, is good for suggesting classic must-read books.

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Keith Raffel said...

Mystery Scene also recently added the terrific Oline Cogdill (a winner of the Ellen Nehr Award for Excellence in Mystery Reviewing) to its list of reviewers.

Sue Ann, the Time Magazine of our genre? I hope not. If we're going to pick a newsmagazine for magazine, could we go with The Economist?

Cricket McRae said...

Mystery Scene is a terrific magazine! But for short mystery fiction I'm afraid I stick to the classics: Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock.

Beth Groundwater said...

Thanks for the suggestions, Gin & Cricket!

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