My story “A Necessary Ingredient” has been named a finalist for the Agatha Award for Best Short Story at this year’s Malice Domestic! The story originally appeared in the anthology Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea, edited by Andrew McAleer and Paul D. Marks and published by Down & Out Books. You can read the full story here for free.
I don’t usually write private eye stories, and this one is far from the traditional hard-boiled detective tale. But the narrator of “A Necessary Ingredient” is himself a reader of those stories, and much of the tale is a tip of the hat—excuse me, tip of the fedora—to classic crime fiction and to the joys of reading mystery. My very first published mystery story—”Murder on the Orient Express” in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine in December 1995—was also one that took its inspiration from classic crime fiction (Agatha Christie directly in that case, obviously) and that explored how our reading lives and our real lives can meld together. “A Necessary Ingredient” then comes a little full circle with some of the themes I find myself focused on—and the title itself has several meanings, one of which relates to those books we just can’t do without.
Congratulations to all of the other finalists for Best Short Story: Gretchen Archer, Barb Goffman, Debra Goldstein, and Gigi Pandian. And congrats too to all the finalists up and down this year’s slate of Agatha contenders—so many great writers, and so many friends among them. You can find the full list here.
Look forward to seeing everyone in Bethesda in April!