A new issue of Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine is generally a cause for excitement, but the July 2016 edition seems particularly special. As part of the magazine’s ongoing 75th year celebrations, EQMM turns the focus toward its ongoing “Department of First Stories,” which became a regular feature of the magazine in 1949, and this latest issue publishes fresh stories by several writers who debuted here over the years, including Steven Saylor, David Morrell, Nancy Pickard, Percy Spurlark Parker, David Dean, Trina Corey, Brendan DuBois, Martin Edwards, and Laura Benedict—and, of course, publishes a debut author as well: John H. Sherman, who enters the Department of First Stories with “Black Monday.”
As a special feature, mystery critic and historian Marvin Lachman reviews the history of EQMM‘s commitment to new writers, from even before this became a regular part of the magazine, and offers a list of “Distinguished Alumni/ae of The Department of First Stories.” It’s an impressive list, including (in order of debut publication) James Yaffe, Harry Kemelman, Jack Finney, Stanley Ellin, William Link & Richard Levinson, Robert L. Fish, James Powell, Jon L. Breen, Francis M. Nevins, Dick Lochte, Charles Ardai, and Meredith Cole—just to sample the many authors included beyond the ones already named above!
I’m proud that my own first mystery story was part of this roll call—”Murder on the Orient Express” in December 1995 (#48 in Lachman’s list here!)—and thrilled to be in such distinguished company generally, part of such an amazing history.
Check out the new issue both for a reminder of EQMM‘s importance in introducing and encouraging new writers and for some great new fiction too!