Short Fiction Beyond the Pulps
When the pulps started to die out, the markets for short story crime and mystery writers, particularly those of a hard-boiled bent, started to dry up as well. Fortunately, there were a handful of outlets left, mostly digests such as Ellery Queen, that published everything from cozies to hardcore noir in the same issue.
And then, in the mid-fifties, there was a rebirth of sorts, spurred by the launch of Manhunt in 1955. Manhunt and its imitators focussed on hard-boiled crime. Most lasted only a few years, but a handful (most notably Manhunt and Mike Shayne’s Mystery Magazine) lasted long enough to have a major impact on the genre, and several of the shorter-lived ones (Trapped, Guilty, etc.) proved a sturdy training ground for writers as diverse as Harlan Ellison, Donald Westlake, Lawrence Block, Robert Silverberg and Ed McBain to sow their literary wild oats and hone their craft.
Two of the more general crime and mystery digests, Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock, are still going strong. Add to this, the current boom in themed anthologies, and the rough, unruly on-line crime fiction and the e-publishing scenes, and the short story market is suddenly looking better than it has in years. Current outlets for fiction are in brown; defunct, expired, pushing up the daisies magazines are in red.
One of the more interesting developments is the evolution of several long-running titles from print to downloadable ezines to web sites and blogs.
For magazines which are primarily non-fiction (but may occasional feature fiction), see Murder in the Library: The Crime Mags.
Of course, I could be wrong about a lot of these, so if you know better, please let me know…..
- Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine | Print | Active
(1956 to present)
Frequency: ten times a year
Original publisher: H. S. D. Publications
Other publishers: Dell
Contributors: Almost everyone, at one time or another.
Founded in 1956, AHMM is the second oldest mystery short story magazine in existence — and the biggest seller. Originally a tie-in with the Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV show, they offer short origial fiction, an occasional “Mystery Classic”, poetry, reviews, logic problem. (Same company, different editorial staff from EQMM.) Published eleven times a year, with a special summer double issue in July/August. Now the best-selling crime-fiction magazine in the world, at least in English, and currently tending toward cozies, although it wasn’t that long ago that it was regularly publishing P.I. tales by the likes of Loren D. Estleman and Rob Kantner.
- Black Cat Mystery Magazine | Print | Digital | Active
(2017, Wildside Press)
Editors: John Gregory Betancourt and Carla Coupe
Contributors: Michael Bracken, Eve Fisher, JM Taylor, Cynthia Benjamin, Robb T. White, Art Taylor, Kaye George, John M. Floyd, Josh Pachter
A new kid on the block, devoted to “the best in mystery short fiction. ” The spiel continues: “Crime? Noir? Cozy? Private eye? You’ll find all genres present and accounted for.” Featuring new stories and an occasional reprint from the likes of James Holding and Fletcher Flora.
- Black Maple | Digital | Defunct
Editor: Janice Statham
A short-lived online crime mag that actually paid for fiction! Black Maple needed dark and mysterious writing, i.e. mystery, suspense, thriller, psychological horror, and true crime. Preferred length was 1000 to 1500 words, but they considered works shorter than 1000 words, as well as works up to a maximum of 5000 words. Alas, it went the way of many on-line mags, and at this time, there are no plans for a print edition.
- Blue Murder Magazine | Digital (defunct)
Editor: David Firks
Contributors: O’Neil de Noux, Kevin Burton Smith
An early and excellent e-mag, the late and truly lamented standard bearer for online-published short crime fiction. Each issue was available for download in handy dandy Acrobat pdf format on their also-excellent website. They promised “Fresh Pulp on the Web”, and they went about it in a particularly stylish way. Exceptionally writer-friendly, and they also had a column on private eyes written by yours truly, but don’t hold that against them… Best of all, they paid their writers. At least until the very end. They’ll be missed.
- Bullet | Print (defunct)
Editor: Keith Jeffrey
Formerly known as Octane, this one specialized in what they called “rock’n’roll noir.” They promised a slim volume of 10 high voltage stories each no longer than 1500 words. From the promo: “Imagine the buzz of the Ramones, the electric intensity of the Clash. Imagine rock’n’roll turned into fiction. Imagine BULLET.” Issue one hit the deck in September 2003 and lasted just seven issues. But it was great fun while it lasted.
- Cemetery Dance | Print | Active
Editor: Richard Chizmar
They bill themselves as “the world’s leading specialty press publisher of horror and dark suspense.” Which might be stretched to include a P.I. tale or two.
- Charlie Chan Mystery Magazine | Print (defunct)
(1974, Renown Publications)
Editor: Cylvia Kleinman, Thom Montgomery
Publisher: Leo Margulies
Contributors: Jack Foxx (Bill Pronzini), John Lutz, Dennis Lynds, Gary Brandner, Henry Slesar
A “brother publication” of Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, this one lasted only four issues. It featured a Charlie Chan story in each issue. Richard Gallagher fills us in: “As it happens, I know that there were a total of four issues published, because I was a charter (and possibly only!) subscriber. I still have all four, so I thought you might like a little detail on them. Vol. 1, No. 1 was published in November, 1973. Each issue contained a short Charlie Chan novel (ranging from 56 pages to 75 pages) credited to Robert Hart Davis (probably a pseudonym – my guess is Dennis Lynds, who wrote a Charlie Chan novel during the same era). Contributors to the first issue were Jim Duke, Robert W. Alexander, Andrew Bogen, Bill Pronzini, Pauline C. Smith, George Antonich, and Lawrence Treat. Vol. 1, No. 2 was published in February, 1974 (actually, the cover says February but the first page says January). Contributors were Hal Ellson, John Lutz, James P. Cody, Henry Slesar, Lawrence Treat, M.G. Ogan, and Edward D. Hoch. Vol. 1. No. 3 was published in May, 1974. Contributors were David Mazroff, John Lutz, James Holding, Syd Hoff, Jack Foxx, Evelyn Payne, and Herbert Harris. The last issue, Vol. 1, No. 4, was published in August, 1974. Contributors were Francis Clifford, M.G. Ogan, Al Nussbaum, Ronald Anthony Cross, Gary Brandner, Clarence Alva Powell, and Pauline C. Smith. I suspect that the demise of the magazine was connected to the death of Leo Margulies, because Renown Publications was still soliciting subscriptions in issue no. 4. Incidentally, Thom Montgomery doesn’t show up on the masthead until issue no. 3, where he is listed as Editor. The first two issues listed only Leo Margulies as publisher and Cylvia Kleinman (Mrs. Margulies) as Editorial Director.” Thanks, Rich.
- Crime and Justice Detective Story Magazine | Print (defunct)
(1956-57, Arnold Magazines, Inc.)
Four known issues
Publisher: Everett M. Arnold
Clearly a sister of Homicide Detective Story Magazine and Killers Mystery Story Magazine.
- Crimestalker Casebook | Print (defunct)
(aka “Austin Layman’s Crimestalker Casebook”)
Editor: Andrew McAleer
Founders: Andrew McAleer and John McAleer
Publisher: Falconcroft Press
Contributors included: O’Neil De Noux, Stephen D. Rogers, Michael Bracken, Andrew McAleer
Great small zine, featuring some truly great short stories. Highly recommended. But just try to find old copies now!
- CrimeWave | Print (defunct)
(1999-2013, TTA Press)
Editor: Mat Coward
Publisher: TTA Press
Status: No longer publishing
From the UK. What a slick package! A lot of great UK and American detective writers strutted their stuff here, and well worth it. Rival David Birks of the late, great Blue Murder Magazine assured anyone visiting this site that “This stuff is right up your alley.”
- Detective Story Magazine | Print (defunct)
Contributors included: John D. MacDonald
- Detective Story Magazine | Print (defunct)
Editor: Gary Lovisi
Later merged with Wayne Dundee’s Hardboiled to form Hardboiled Detective Magazine for three issues in 1990, whereupon it reverted back to just Hardboiled, edited by Lovisi.
- Double Action Detective and Mystery Stories | Print (defunct)
(1954-59, Columbia Publications)
Editor: Robert Lowndes
Contributors included: Frank Kane, Richard Deming
Another crime digest from the fifties published out of of Holyoke, Mass. A sister publication of Mammoth Detective and Fast Action Detective, this was one of Columbia’s low-budget magazines edited by Robert Lowndes. Double Action Detective Stories was actually the digest-sized continuation of the pulp-sized Double Action. Their editorial offices were located at 241 Church Street, NY 13, NY, which had previously been listed as also the address of the publisher.
When Columbia folded in late 1959 or early 1960, Robert Lowndes eventually found work with the even lower-budget Health Knowledge Publications, for whom he put together first The Magazine of Horror (1963-’71), and eventually a string of magazines including Startling Mystery Stories, the first magazine to publish Stephen King and F. Paul Wilson. But perhaps his most important “discovery” for the purposes of this site was back at Columbia, when he was the first to publish Edward Hoch (who wrote the obituary for Lowndes in Mystery Scene). (Richard Moore, Todd Mason)
- Ed McBain’s Mystery Book | Print (defunct)
Contributors included: Richard Prather, Ross Macdonald, Anthony Boucher, Craig Rice, Helen Nielsen
Apparently only published an issue or so in 1960, but the first issue featured a new Shell Scott story by Prather, and a new 87th Precinct story (fancy that), among an impressive list of names (and Pronzini and Adair apparently consider it mostly hard-boiled). (Todd Mason)
- Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine (EQMM) | Print | Active
(Fall 1941 to present)
Original Editor: Ellery Queen (mainly Fred Dannay)
Original Publisher: The American Mercury, Inc.
Contributors: Almost everyone, either as reprints or originals
First appearing in 1941, and established by Ellery Queen himself (or more accurately themselves), Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine has pretty much become the top dog in the short fiction crime genre, and certainly one of the most critically acclaimed, with 35 major awards and nominations just since 1990! Their forte is short fiction, but they also offer occasional poetry, and a regular book review column “The Jury Box.” Same company, different editorial staff from AHMM. Reaching mystery fans around the world was one of Ellery Queen’s first goals for EQMM, and in their more than half-century of publication, EQMM has been translated into more languages than virtually any other American magazine.
- Famous Detective Stories | Print (defunct)
(1950s, Columbia Publications)
Editor: Robert Lowndes
Contributors: Hunt Collins, Frank Kane, Carroll John Daly
The Robert Lowndes-edited pulps were well down the publishing food chain but he was always able to manage some quality on a shoe-string budget. I’ve purchased a few copies recently of from the early 1950s. The most recent (via eBay) was the February 1952 issue. All but one of the eight writers were unknown to me and I suspect most if not all were house names for Columbia Publications. (Richard Moore)
- Fast Action Detective | Print (defunct)
Another crime digest from the fifties published out of of Holyoke, Mass. Their editorial offices were located at 241 Church Street, NY 13, NY, which had previously been listed as also the address of the publisher. A sister publication of Mammoth Detective, Mystery Stories and Double-Action Detective and Mystery Stories. (Richard Moore)
- Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine | Print | Digital | Active
Publisher: Ardy Scott
“Short Tales For Story Lovers… by Writers and Artists with Fire To Fly.” A fan favourite among the self-pub crowd when it was in print and editor Barbs Lakey would publish contest “winners” who had submitted the “entry fee.” At one time a big, relatively thick quarterly it lingered on and on, in various guises, and under various editorialships, but is now exclusively an online venture. Mystery and its assorted subgenres currently make up 60% of the fiction, the rest is horror, science fiction and mainstream. They also feature cartoons, reviews and some non-fiction. It’s a shadow of its former self, although I see it’s returned to its BSP roots.
- Guilty Detective Story Magazine | Print (defunct)
(1956-62, Feature Publications)
Editors: W.W. Scott
Contributors: Harlan Ellison, Robert Turner, Talmage Powell, Harry Whittington, Lawrence Block, Gil Brewer
A long-lasting digest starting with the July 1956 issue and lasting until June 1962. Published by Feature Publications at the same Holyoke, Mass. address as Homicide Detective Story Magazine, et al, with editorial offices at 1790 Broadway and later at 32 West 22nd Street in NYC. This was one of Harlan Ellison’s steady markets as it was for Robert Turner. Talmage Powell, Harry Whittington and Robert Silverberg were regulars and Lawrence Block and Gil Brewer also graced its pages. (Richard Moore)
- HandHeldCrime | Digital | Defunct
Editors: Victoria Esposito-Shea and Jamey Dumas
Way, way, way ahead of its time, this little venture was specifically tailored to the hand-held market, although everything was also on their web site. And our old editor Vicky was there, so you know it was good stuff. Unfortunately, HandHeld, one of the first online markets for crime fiction that actually paid their writers, went the way of Blue Murder in July 2003. It will be missed.
- Hardboiled | Print (defunct)
Founding editor: Wayne Dundee
Editor: Gary Lovisi
Publisher: Gryphon Publications
Contributors: Andrew Vachss, Wayne Dundee, Jan Grape, Mike Avallone, Eugene Izzi Robert Randisi, Max Allan Collins, Ed Gorman, Mickey Spillane, Bill Pronzini, Lawrence Block, Howard Browne, Morris Hershman, Walter Sorrells, O’ Neil De Noux, Jack Dolphin and others.
Current Staus: Last issue was 2012
A quarterly devoted to hardboiled fiction, this was one tough little mag,with an impressive roster of talent, featuring mostly originals, with a few classic reprints. Hardboiled started out as a obvious labour of love, photocopied and hand-bound out of someone’s basement, and has since grown into a fine, professional-looking showcase of some of the best writing around in this genre, with incredible cover art by Bruce (Batman: The Animated Series) Timm and others. Along the way, it incorporated Gary Lovisi’s Detective Story Magazine (DSM) in 1990, and ran as Hardboiled Detective Magazine for three issues, whereupon it reverted to its original title, but with Lovisi as editor. Gary is also the founder and big kahuna of Gryphon Publications. Apparently no longer publishing, although back issues are available.
- Hardboiled Detective Magazine | Print (defunct)
- Hardluck Stories | Digital | Defunct
Editor: Dave Zeltserman
Their mission was “to help hardboiled readers discover future hardboiled classics. The rules here are simple. Click on a book cover and you get in the author’s own words how the book came into existence, a hardboiled short story from the author, and a link to find more information about the book.” A quarterly eZine section showcasing new hard-boiled and noir stories was added in the fall of 2002 and it quickly became, for a brief time, one of the premier spots for on-line hard-boiled fiction in the wake of the demise of Plots With Guns.
- High Adventure (formerly Pulp Review) | Print | Active
Publisher: Adventure House
High Adventure has been reprinting pulp fiction for years and focusses on weird menace, action/adventure stuff, sci-fi, and yes, even occasional private eye stuff, including some Dan Turner tales. All issues include a gloriously pulpy full color cover, 96 pages and are perfect bound. Back issues are available from their web site or via mail.
- Homicide Detective Story Magazine | Print (defunct)
(1956, Arnold Magazines, Inc.)
1 known issue
Publisher: Everett M. Arnold
Contributors: John D. MacDonald, William Campbell Gault
This minor fart in the crime fiction digest cosmos only managed one issue. Yet that single issue, September 1956, according to loyal correspondent Richard Moore was worth it. It included a John D. MacDonald story and one by William Campbell Gault. Homicide was published by Everett M. Arnold, Arnold Magazines, Inc., 1 Appleton Street, Holyoke, Mass.; with their editorial offices at 303 Lexington Avenue, New York 16, New York…
“That Holyoke, Mass address rang a bell for me, so I pulled down the invaluable Monthly Murders by Michael L. Cook. And guess what? Homicide Detective Story Magazine became Killers Mystery Story Magazine with the same addresses in Mass. and in NYC. But now the mystery deepens. Upon further investigation, it turns out there are many magazines that list Holyoke, Massachusetts as the publisher’s address. So many that I must assume that this was the address of the distributor or some other logical reason for this. At first I thought it was a dodge to escape bill collectors. Now I favor the distributor explanation. Besides Homicide and Killers, Crime and Justice Detective Story Magazine, Guilty Detective Story Magazine, Hunted Detective Story Magazine, Off Beat Detective Stories, Pursuit Detective Story Magazine, Sure Fire Detective Stories, Saturn Web Magazine of Detective Stories, Trapped Detective Story Magazine, Fast Action Detective,Double-Action Detective and Mystery Stories and Terror Detective Story Magazine all listed the publisher’s address as that now crowded address in Holyoke, Mass.” (Richard Moore)
- Hunted Detective Story Magazine | Print (defunct)
(1954-56, Star Publications)
12 known issues
Publisher: J.A. Kramer
Contributors: Stephen Marlowe, John Jakes, Fletcher Flora, Talmage Powell
12 known issues between the first December 1954 to October 1956. Published bimonthly by Star Publications, Inc. 1 Appleton Street, Holyoke, Mass.; editorial office 545 Fifth Avenue, NY 17, NY. This was one of the best Manhunt imitations..
But that New York address looked very familiar. I scanned around Thomas Cook’s Monthly Murders and when I came to the listing for Manhunt my eyes bugged out. The editorial offices of the legendary Manhunt were also at 545 Fifth Avenue. Hmmm… of course, that was no doubt a large office building with plenty of room for both publications. I suppose the writers and agents benefited from having them in the same building as a rejection could be recycled on the elevator. (Richard Moore)
- Judas E-zine | Digital | Defunct
Publisher/Editor: Anthony Dauer
Some of you may remember Anthony Boy as the “Words From the Monastery” guy on Rara-Avis, or from his own short-lived Hard-Boiled discussion group, but here he actually delivered the goods, letting other people do the talking with some quality hard-boiled fiction. Anthony didn’t believe in having a heavy hand when it came to editing (he’d even let you format your own story) so this was a good place for beginning writers, and those intimidated by the idea of being edited. And of course, with a name like Judas… unfortunately, they lost their domain name or something, so they had to change it to the equally short-lived the3rdegree.com.
- Killers Detective Story Magazine | Print (defunct)
(1956-57, Arnold Magazines, Inc.)
3 known issues
Publisher: Everett M. Arnold
The continuation of the one-issue-run Homicide Detective Story Magazine. Michael L. Cook, in his invaluabe Monthly Murders, listed the contents for the January 1957 (#3) and March 1957 (#4) issues which makes me think there was a November 1956 issue (#2) of either Homicide or Killers. The contents of the two issues do not equal the impressive first issue of Homicide, but includes stories by Talmadge Powell, Edward D. Hoch, Joseph Commings, Charles Fritch and Henry Slesar. Not too shabby. (Richard Moore)
- Mammoth Detective Stories | Print (defunct)
(<1954-59, Columbia Publications)
Editor: Robert Lowndes
Another of Columbia Publications’ low-budget magazines edited by Robert Lowndes (Double Action Detective and Mystery Stories and Fast Action Detective were others), that disappeared when Columbia passed on in 1959-60. It was the digest-sized continuation of the Mammoth Detective pulp (1942-47) that had been published by Ziff-Davis. (Todd Mason)
- Manhunt | Print (defunct)
(1953-67, St. John Publications/Flying Eagle)
Contributors included: James M. Cain, Ed McBain, Evan Hunter , Mickey Spillane, Howard Browne, Ross Macdonald, Charles Williams, Donald E. Westlake, Richard Stark, Gil Brewer, Craig Rice, John D. MacDonald, Richard Deming, Richard Prather, Leslie Charteris, David Goodis, Robert Bloch, Harlan Ellison, Harry Whittington
“Manhunt has come to be regarded by some as probably the most important outlet for “hard-boiled” fiction after Black Mask and Dime Detective. The excellent introduction to Bill Pronzini and Jack Adrian’s Hard-Boiled notes that the original was launched with a January 1953 issue that featured a new serialized Mickey Spillane novel, and folded in 1967. It inspired a slew of imitators, including Flying Eagle’s own Murder!, Verdict, Menace, and Mantrap, as well as efforts by other publishers, such as Pursuit and Trapped. There was even a “Best-of-Manhunt” paperback collection published in 1958″. (Todd Mason)
“I’d like to stick my neck out and suggest that issue-for-issue and pound-for-pound, Manhunt was the best and most consistent crime mag around. Unlike most of the pulps, it had a relatively short run (only 14 years, from 1953-67) and was thus relatively free of the dreadful filler that clogged so many of the long-running pulps. And if it didn’t boast such icons as Hammett and Chandler, it did print original stories from guys like Mickey Spillane, Ross Macdonald, Charles Williams, Donald E. Westlake, Richard Stark, Ed McBain, Gil Brewer, Craig Rice, John D. MacDonald, Richard Deming, Richard Prather, Leslie Charteris, David Goodis, Robert Bloch, Harlan Ellison and Harry Whittington.” (Kevin Burton Smith)
- Mantrap | Print (defunct)
(1954-55, St. John Publications)
Editor: John McCloud
Published by the same folks as Manhunt and featuring the same type of hard-boiled crime stuff, with many of the same authors, but it never caught on and folded after only two issues.
- Mary Higgins Clark Mystery Magazine (MHCMM) | Print (defunct)
(1996- 2000, Family Circle Special Interest Publications, Inc.)
Editor-in-Chief: Kathryne V. Sagan
Original Publisher: James W. McEwen
Contributors included: Elmore Leonard, Walter Mosley, P.D. James, Sara Paretsky, Lawrence Block, Edna Buchanan, Jeremiah Healy, Gar Anthony Haywood, Stuart Kaminsky, Joseph Hansen
Family Circle threw their considerable weight behind this glossy, full-size magazine. Very mainstream, very slick, glossy, filled with trivia, lists, reviews, short interviews and somewhere in there some excellent stories. Not necessarily the most hard-boiled (naturally) but impressive, nonetheless, if a tad over-produced. A bigger problem was its publishing schedule: sporadic is the most charitable word I can think of. It was apparently published to fill the same slots as the traditional baking, knitting, etc.,magazines which make up Family Circle “special projects”. It might actually have outsold AHMM, in fact; if one could have only found independent circulation figures for it, but it shared those counts with the baking, knitting, etc., magazines. In the Summer 2000 issue, they admitted they were down to once-a-year publication. But it got worse. In January 2001, they admitted they were pulling the plug completely.
- A Matter of Crime | Print (defunct)
(1987-88, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich)
Four issues in total
Editors: Matthew J. Bruccoli and Richard Layman
Contributors: Loren D. Estleman, Andrew Vachss, Marcia Muller, James Ellroy, Robert Sampson, Michael Collins, James M. Reasoner, Joe Gores, L.J. Washburn, Joyce Carol Oates
After their ambitious attempt to revive the legendary Black Mask with The New Black Mask in the mid-eighties crashed and burned, partially due to copyright issues, the publisher tried to continue with this more modestly-priced “series of original paperbacks comprising the best of contemporary mystery and suspense fiction.” It also marked a shift away from hard-boiled to more traditional mysteries.
- Menace | Print (defunct)
(1954-55, St. John Publications)
Published by the same folks as Manhunt but even more hard-boiled. It only lasted a couple of issues.
- Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine (MSMM) | Print (defunct)
(1956-1985, Renown Publications)
Editors: Sam Merwin, Jr., Cylvia Kleinman, Charles E. Fritch
Publishers: Leo Margulies, Cylvia Kleinman, Edward & Anita Goldstein
Michael Shayne Mystery Magazine was started in 1956 by Leo Margulies, a veteran editor from the pulp era. After the first six issues, the title was switched to Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine, which is what it was known as wher n it finally ran out of steam almost thirty years later.
Margulies passed away in 1975 and his wife Cylvia Kleinman succeeded him as both editor and publisher of MSMM, as well as the short-lived Charlie Chan Mystery Magazine. She sold the magazine in 1978 and Charles E. Fritch became its final editor.
Every monthly issue had a novelette by “Brett Halliday.” This “Brett Halliday” is not Davis Dresser, but a host of ghost writers, working under a house pen name. Sam Merwin Jr., first editor of the magazine, wrote many of the Shayne stories. Others who contributed Shayne stories as Brett Halliday included Dennis Lynds (the most prolific, with approximately 80 stories), Michael Avallone, Richard Deming, Robert Turner, Robert Arthur, Frank Belknap Long, Joe Lansdale, Bill Pronzini, Jeff Wallman, Edward Y. Breese, Peter Germano, James Reasoner, and Hal Blythe and Charlie Sweet. No doubt other writers did some here and there, too. It ran almost thirty years and there were over 300 Mike Shayne stories published in it, ranging from 7500 word short stories to 20,000 word novellas. Over the course of its run, the formula rarely varied: each issue contained the Shayne short story, at least one novelette, and four or five short stories, many by some of the great hard-boiled authors of the era: Dennis Lynds, as Michael Collins, with the Slot-Machine Kelly stories, the forerunners of the Dan Fortune novels; Richard S. Prather with Shell Scott stories; Frank Kane with Johnny Liddel stories; Henry Kane with Peter Chambers stories, etc. Today these issues are difficult to find but worth looking for. MSMM was a good magazine, never quite reaching the heights of Manhunt at its height, but hanging in there for a lot longer.
“Somewhere, Joe Lansdale, or maybe it was Ed Gorman, has a nice little essay, about being one of the Mike Shayne boys,” reader Todd Mason remembers, “young writers proving themselves in the late ’70s/early ’80s MSMM under CK and Charles Fritch. I do remember that despite the unevenness of MSMM back in those days, the fact that someone could shout ‘You fucking asshole’ in MS, while the worst that could happen (rarely) in AHMM was ‘You stupid bastard’ and in EQMM ‘He muttered an oath,’ added a much-appreciated note of realism.”
Other magazines Margulies edited include The Man From U*N*C*L*E, The Girl From U*N*C*L**E, Shell Scott Magazine, the Zane Grey Western and various Weird Tales revivals, and possibly the Jack London Adventuremagazine, as well as Satellite SF.
See also Memories of Mike Shayne Mystery Magazine by Richard A. Moore.
- Mouth Full of Bullets | Digital | Print (defunct)
Editor: BJ Bourg
An e-zine that briefly made the jump to print with its last three issues, this was another valiant but short-lived attempt to cut a notch in the hard-boiled market, although it was overshadowed by both Plots with Guns and Blue Murder, which preceded it, and Murdaland which was its contemporary (but which also only lasted a few years). Still, they did manage to get out stories by Patricia Abbott, Stephen Rogers, Sandra Ruttan, Barry Ergang, Gerald So and Patricia Harrington, among others.
- Murdaland | Print (defunct)
(2006-08, MugShot Press)
Editor: Michael Langnas
An ambitious but short-lived attempt to publisher a regular annual print anthology focussing on “Crime Fiction for the 21st Century.” In just two issues, it managed to publish original stories and excerpts from such heavies as Scott Phillips, Vicki Hendricks, Henry Hunsuicker,Daniel Woodrell, Anthony Neil Smith, J.D. Rhoades, J.F. Connolly, Patricia Abbott, Gary Phillips and Ken Bruen.
- Murderous Intent Mystery Magazine | Print (defunct)
(1995-99, Madison Publishing Company)
Editors: Marie Gerules, Margo Power
Was one of the promising new kids on the block back in the nineties. It published short mysteries by both well-known and unknown writersnew and established authors, as well as interviews, and nonfiction articles.
- Mysterical-e | Digital | Defunct
Editors: Denise Baton, Barry Ergang, Pam Skochinski
Contributors: Stephen D. Rodgers, Barry Ergang, Marcia Kiser, Guy Montgue, Thomas Lipinski, Earl Staggs, Dave Zeltserman, Ed Lynskey, Bill Capron
Columnists: Gerald So, Jim Doherty
An E-zine run “by mystery lovers for mystery lovers,” Mysterical-e, which publishes both fiction and non-fiction, proudly billed itself at one point as the first of its kind, although I was never quite sure what it was the first kind of. Unfortunately, the online “issues” are becoming rarer and rarer, although so far they’re still looking for submissions “on a rolling basis,” and are open to other genres. Non-paying. Guidelines can be found on the site. No payment, but a chance for your work to be published on-line and available to the world. All mystery genres and cross-overs considered; story must include a crime element; they are open to, but may choose not to publish, graphic language, sex and violence; such elements will be considered in the context of the story. Fiction up to 10,000 words; mystery-writing related non-fiction up to 5,000 words. There’s also a Facebook group, which has proven to be slightly more active.
Well worth checking out: Real-life P.I. Bob Stevens’ occasional Through A Private Eye Darkly columns.
- Mystery Magazine | Print (defunct)
Editor/publisher: Stephen Smoke
Editors: Stephen Smoke, Paul Bishop, Thomas Godfrey,
Contributors included: Robert Randisi, David Wilson, Robert Randisi
Short-lived (11 issues) but interesting attempt to combine fiction and non-fiction. Started as a limited-distribution title, shifting to a nationally-distributed slick, quarto-sized, in January 1981. After nine issues it converted to a digest, but only lasted a few more issues. Notable for its special emphasis on hard-boiled fiction. There were looks at film noir, and interviews with people like Dennis Lynds, Ed McBain, Lawrence Block, Jonathan Latimer and more, as well as fiction by folks like Loren Estleman and Michael Seidman. The magazine was founded by Stephen Smoke, who went on to write several private eye novels, including the Ace Carpenter series under the pen name of Hamilton T. Caine and the inspirational P.I. novel Trick of the Light.
- MysteryNet | Digital | Defunct
There seemed to be a lot of money behind it, and it originally billed itself as “The Online Mystery Network,” back when it was easy to boast about such things, but it seems to be satisfied with offering a handful of online mysteries and mystery games, having petered out years ago.
- Mystery Street | Print (defunct)
(early nineties, Pulphouse)
Editor/publisher: O’Neil De Noux
Published detective stories, puzzles and reviews. O”Niel De Noux’s magazine from the early 90’s, published originally by Pulphouse, and now long folded.
- Mystery Time | Print (defunct)
(1993-2002, Hutton Publications)
Editor: Linda Hutton
A small press anthology of short suspense & mystery, MT sponsors contests, prints poetry, puzzles and reviews as well as traditional stories. How many issues were published pre-1993 is unclear, although there are suggestions it may have begun publication as early as 1983.
- Mystery Weekly Magazine | Digital | Active | Subscribe through Amazon
Editor: Kelly Carter
Publisher: Charles F. Carter
Monthly, with free samples weekly
Yeah, it’s called “Mystery Weekly” but but this digital mag is published monthly, and presents “crime and mystery short stories by some of the world’s best established and emerging mystery writers. The original stories we select for each issue run the gamut from cozy to hardboiled fiction.” The monicker, I assume, comes from their free weekly samples, and of course that’s the bait. They’re hoping you’ll love it so much that you’ll subscribe to their monthly, printer-friendly PDF version. This digital mag is also available through Magzter, Amazon, Google Play & the App store. And writers take note– they’re always looking for submissions.
- Needle: A Magazine of Noir | Print (defunct)Print (defunct)
Editors: Steve Weddle and John Hornor Jacobs
An honest-to-goodness print journal whose credo sounds pretty damn good: “Hardboiled. Lean and mean. No silly reviews. No poetry (that’s for pussies). No advertising. Nothing but hard hitting stories. In your face and busting up your kiss-maker. Kapow.” Kapow, indeed. Contributors are a veritable who’s who of the new pulp (and plenty of ’em are friends of this site). They include Ray Banks, Kieran Shea, Keith Rawson, Patti Abbott, Dave Zeltserman, Paul D. Brazill, Sandra Seamans, Eric Nusbaum, Jedidiah Ayres, Sarah Weinman, Stephen Blackmoore, Anthony Neil Smith, Libby Cudmore and Graham Powell.
- Nefarious: Tales of Mystery | Ezine (defunct)
Editor: R.K. Foster
R.K.Foster, AKA “Ned,” was the nefarious editor (N.Ed.) of this ambitious e-zine, a “mystery entertainment and information site for readers, writers, moviegoers, and fans of the mystery in all its forms.” which featured fiction, non-fiction, news and reviews. It ran for three years and then disappeared. In 2007 it attempted a comeback, focussing mostly on more “tradtional” mystery fiction, but it never quite reached cruising speed. A web site still exists but it seems to be just a placeholder.
- The New Black Mask | Print (defunct)
(1985-87, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich)
Eight issues in total
Editors: Matthew J. Bruccoli and Richard Layman
Contributors: Arthur Lyons, Raymond Chandler, Robert Parker, Dashiell Hammett, William F. Nolan, Bill, Pronzini, Sara Paretsky, John Lutz, Robert Sampson, Ron Goulart, Joyce Carol Oates, Joe Gores, Michael Collins, William Campbell Gault, Mark Coggins, James Ellroy, Loren D. Estleman
An ambitious attempt to revive the seminal crime pulp mag, it ran for just eight incredibly star-studded, digest-sized issues in the mid-late ’80s, and featured some of the very best of contemporary hard-boiled writers (and some pretty snazzy and intriguing reprints).Perhaps it was just a little too expensive, or too poorly distributed, but it petered out after losing rights to the title, only to reappear as the paperback-sized A Matter of Crime (and seemed to shift away from hardboiled to cozy).
Read An Overview and Tribute by Mark Coggins
- New Mystery | Print (defunct)
Editor: Charles Raisch
Contributors: William Campbell Gault, Stuart Kaminsky, Manuel Ramos, O’Neil De Noux, Gar Haywood, Andrew Greeley, George Pelecanos, Jerry Kennealy, John Lutz, Taibo Paco, Randye Lordon, Lawrence Block, Henry Slesar
This modest (hah!) little magazine offered “The World’s Best Mystery/Crime/Suspense Stories.” Ambitious, pretentious, belligerent, unapologetic, equal parts annoying and thrilling. Published some of the very best hard-boiled fiction of its time, and boasted a web site as in-your-face as its print version. The buzz was that, although they offered subscriptions for four issues, that didn’t necessarily mean they were published quarterly. Their schedule was annoyingly erratic, and varied over the years from several issues annually down to sometimes just one a year. Still, it’s was worth checking out…. According to one contributor, “New Mystery lives, but in a rather confused manner. The next issue is going to be the Summer issue but I still haven’t been told a date as to when it will hit the stands. I’m hoping that because the web site has been updated the print issue can’t be far behind. We shall see…” Mind you, that was over a decade ago. Stick a fork in it, it’s done.
- Noir: The Illustrated Crime Fiction Quarterly | Print (defunct)
Editor: Christopher Mills
Publishers: Alpha Productions (1st issue); CFD (2 issues)
A great idea that unfortunately failed after only three issues (and two publishers). This 64-page, comic-book size modern-day pulp magazine featured fiction, art and comic strips by the greatest talents in the mystery, crime fiction and comics fields. Contributors included Robert Randisi, Ron Goulart, Wendi Lee, C.J. Henderson, and Max Allan Collins, and featured Mike Mauser comic adventures. Too offbeat for the newstands, too literate for the comic book stores, and possibly hampered by it’s offbeat size.
- Noir Nation: International Crime Fiction | Print/Digital | Active
Editor: Eddie Vega
Contributors: Scott Wolven, Paul D. Brazil, Ray Banks, Andrew Nette, Thomas Pluck, Stephen D. Rogers, Tom Vater, Neliza Drew, Rob Brunet, BV Lawson
Noir fiction with a decidedly international bent, this annual features material that’s “often dark, sometimes creepy, and sometimes humorous but always at the service of the literary imagination as it explores the darker regions of human experience, where the only crime is weak writing.”
- Off Beat Detective Stories | Print (defunct)
(1957-63, Pontiac Publishing Corporation)
Contributors: Lawrence Block, Henry Slesar, Bryce Walton, Ed Hoch, Ed Lacy, Talmage Powell
Published by Feature Publications at the same Holyoke, Mass. address as Homicide Detective Story Magazine, et al.
- Ontario Review | Print (defunct)
(1974-2008, University of San Francisco)
Editors: Raymond J. Smith and Joyce Carol Oates
An occasionally noirish literary mag, featuring American and Canadian writing. Currently archived.
- P.I. Magazine | Print | Active
Editors: Bob Mackowiak, Grace Elting Castle
Contributors: S.J. Rozan, Rob Lopresti, Robert W. Tinsley, Steve Kaye
Subtitled “The Journal of Proferssional Investigators,” this magazine is essentially a trade journal for real-life private eyes, and as thus often makes for fascinating reading. And somewhere back in its long, varied history, it even used to run P.I. fiction in the early nineties. The biggest name they ever published was probably S.J. Rozan, whose Lydia Chin and Bill Smith made their debut there, but Rob Lopresti’s Marty Crow, Robert W. Tinsley’s Jack Brady and Steve Kaye’s Leonard Dolman also made early appearances. They no longer run fiction, alas.
- Pirate Writings | Print (defunct)
(1992-2005, Pirate Writings; later DNA)
Editor & Art Director: Edward J. McFadden
Contributors: Mike Resnick, Hugh B. Cave, Robert Randisi, Bill Pronzini, Ed Gorman, Joe Lansdale
This semi-pro mag regularly mixed crime fiction with fantasy/horror/sf, like a less star-studded, less criminous magazine version of an Alfred Hitchcock Presents anthology. It was retitled “Fantastic Stories of the Imagination” in 2000. (Todd Mason)
- Plots With Guns | Online (defunct)
Contributors: Stephen Blackmoore, Jedidiah Ayres, Kieran Shea, Patricia Abbott, Scott Wolven, Hugh Lessig, Victor Gischler, Jim Winter, Stephen D. Rodgers, Charlie Stella
Co-editor Anthony Neil Smith promised this much beloved ezine would be “a pulp magazine for the 21st century. Cheap, fast, and dirty.” They were looking for good fiction, poetry, and essays in the hard-boiled noir tradition (tweaked and twisted, however). And it had to have a gun in it. “You can be as sly as you want with that or come out guns blazing,” they said, “as long as there’s a gun in it.” They found it.
- Pursuit Detective Story Magazine | Print (defunct)
(1953-56, Star Publications)
18 known issues
Editor: L. B. Cole
Contributors: Evan Hunter, Frank Kane, Bryce Walton, Evan Hunter, Robert Turner, Stephen Marlowe, August Derleth, Steve Frazee
This one ran from September 1953 to November 1956. Published by Star Publications, located at that same ubitquious Holyoke, Mass. address as all the rest, with editorial offices at 545 Fifth Avenue, NY 17, NY. A sister publication of Hunted Detective Story Magazine — that building on Fifth Avenue must have been crowded with mystery writers. (Richard Moore)
- Rex Stout Mystery Magazine | Print (defunct)
(1945-47, Avon Detective-Mysteries, Inc.)
Editor-in-chief: Rex Stout
Managing Editor: Louis Greenfield
Contributors: Reprints from Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, Jack Boyle, Leslie Charteris, H.P. Lovecraft, William Irish, John Dickson Carr and even Rex Stout
This early digest (from the forties) featured reprints from some of the greatest crime and mystery writers. As far as I can tell, only eight issues ever made it to the newstands which, judging from the one issue I own, (No. 3, February 1946) is a real shame. There are some real treasures here, including “Boston Blackie’s Mary” by Jack Boyle.
- Rock and a Hard Place | Print | Active
Editors: Roger Nokes and Jay Butkowski
A multi-genre magazine that promises to deliver “crime and dark fiction that thrives on bad choices made by desperate people. We ain’t Highlights.”
- The Saint Detective Magazine | Print (defunct)
(also known as The Saint Mystery Magazine and The Saint Magazine)
(1953-60’s, various publishers, Britsh and American editions)
Frequency: 10 issues/year
Editors: Hans Stefan Santesson
Supervising Editor: Leslie Charteris
Contributors: Leslie Charteris, Fredric Brown, William MacHarg, Craig Rice, Avram Davidson, Theodore Sturgeon, Fritz Leiber, Poul Anderson
The Saint Detective Magazine
(Spring 1953 – Oct 1958, King-Size Publications)
The Saint Mystery Magazine
(November 1958 – Apr 1966)
The Saint Magazine
(May 1966-October 1967)
The Saint Magazine
(June 1984-August 1984)
The Saint Detective Magazine
(November 1954-December 1959)
The Saint Mystery Magazine
(January 1960-March 1966)
The Saint Magazine
(April 1966-November 1966)
The Saint Detective Magazine was named after, and often included, a reprinted or original story featuring Leslie Chartis’ gentleman-adventurer, Simon Templar, aka “The Saint.” The U.S. edition, originally published by King-Size, began in 1953, was re-named The Saint Mystery Magazine in 1958, and folded in 1967, with a three-issue revival in 1984. The UK edition began in 1954 as The Saint Detective Magazine, became The Saint Mystery Magazine in 1960, and folded in 1966, according to The Saintly Bible, Dan Bodenheimer’s exhaustive site.
After King-Size collapsed in 1959, the American edition was published by Great American Publications through most of the ’60s (Anthony Boucher, then editor of The Year’s Best Detective Stories, referred to SMM in the early ’60s as “consistently the second-best crime fiction magazine, after EQMM” — I always pick up any issues I find with Avram Davidson stories, and H.S. Santesson’s extensive connections in the speculative-fiction community meant that the likes of Theodore Sturgeon, Fritz Leiber, and Poul Anderson more often appeared in SMM than in the other contemporary crime-fiction magazines). There was a very short-lived revival in the ’80s, as well, that unfortunately lasted about as long as Charlie Chan Mystery Magazine. By the way, most, if not the vast majority, of Simon Templar stories in the magazine were originals written by other hands (much like the Mike Shayne stories in MSMM) written from outlines provided by Saint creator Leslie Yin, a Chinese/British/American who decided being Leslie Charteris was a bit safer when mocking the Establishment in the 1930s …or perhaps his publishers decided for him. The American edition was distinctly different from the British one, and there were also a small number of non-English editions: namely French and Dutch. (Todd Mason)
- Saturn Web Magazine of Detective Stories | Print (defunct)
(1957-65, Candar Publishing)
Contributors: Richard Deming, Frank Kane, Lawrence Block, John Jakes
Under various names this ran from 1957 into 1965. The first five issues were science fiction and at some point the name changed to Web Terror Stories. Published by Candar Publishing Company out of good ol’ Holyoke, Mass., Massachusetts (where else?).
- Shell Scott Mystery Magazine | Print (defunct)
(February 1966-November 1966, LeMarge Publishing Corporation)
Publisher: Leo Margulies
Contributors: Evan Hunter, Harry Whittington, Dennis Lynds, Jonathan Craig, John Jakes, Talmage Powell, John D. MacDonald, Bill Pronzini
Short-lived digest, named after Richard Prather’s wildly-popular P.I. hero, Shell Scott, of course. It was published under the imprint of the LeMarge Publishing Corporation, the name being a sort of anagram of publisher Margulies’ name. Each issue featured a Shell Scott short story by Prather, as well as stories from some of the best in the biz. Its final issue featured Bill Pronzini’s first published story.
- Shred of Evidence | Online (defunct)
(2003-06, M3iP )
Editor: Megan Powell
Columnists: Daniel J. Bishop
Contributors: James R. Winter, Nancy Sweetland, John A. Broussard, Guy Belleranti, Stephen D. Rogers
This online mag offered mystery, crime and suspense fiction, including the various subgenres and cross-genre stories, and even paid their writers.
- The Strand Magazine | Print | Active | Subscribe through Amazon
(1998-present; The Strand Magazine)
Managing Editor: Andrew F. Gulli
Contributors: Ken Bruen, Michael Connelly, Max Allan Collins, Jeffrey Deaver, Alexander McCall Smith, Joseph Finder, John Mortimer, Dashiell hammett, Mickey Spillane, Max Allan Collins, Raymond Chandler
“This American revival of the classic British mag that introduced Sherlock Holmes to the world has managed to hang on for over twenty years. With decent Holmes pastiches, good nonfiction, and HRF Keating, Michael Bond, and other big names who skirt cozy and Edwardian, this is still the most PI-oriented of the non-hardboiled print ‘zines, necessarily as a result of all the Sherlockiana.” (Todd Mason)
Also worth checking out is the magazine’s web site. It has information on the magazine, of course, as well as short stories, articles, interview excerpts, and book reviews. And editor Gulli has proven to be quite the detective in his own right, sniffing out obscure and long-lost stories and dragging them into the light, including long-lost stories by people like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler. Not bad, not bad at all.
- Sure Fire Detective Stories | Print (defunct)
(1957-58, Pontiac Publishing Corp.)
Contributors: Harry Whittington, Larry M. Harris, Robert Turner, Talmage Powell
Published by Pontiac Publishing Corp., editorial offices at 1776 Broadway, NY 19, NY. A sister publication of Off Beat Detective Stories. (Richard Moore)
- Switchblade: An Anthology of Noir | Print/Digital | Active
Editor: Scotch Rutherford
Contributors: Paul D. Marks, Sarah Chen, Stephen D. Rogers, Paul D. Brazill, Travis Richardson, Fred Zackel
WARNING: Contains cutting edge suspense under extreme tension. It can get a little frustrating trying to find this scrappy fiction mag outta Los Angeles, but it’s worth it.
- Tangled Web | Online | Active
Editor: Andrew Osmond
A massive on-line British crime and mystery fiction journal, featuring “The Best in Crime and Mystery Fiction,” devoted to crime and detective fiction, with articles on collecting, true crime, interviews, reveiws, crosswords, and original fiction. Their web site’s something else, although it seems to have stopped being updated somewhere in 2017, or possibly even earlier. It’s hard to tell.
- Terror Detective Story Magazine | Print (defunct)
(1956-57, Arnold Magazines)
Four known issues
Publisher: Everett M. Arnold
Contributors: Fredric Brown, John Jakes, Edward Hoch, Harlan Ellison, Robert Turner
Four known issues from October 1956 to April 1957. Published by Arnold Magazines out of Holyoke, Mass., with editorial offices at 303 Lexington Ave. NY 16, NY. Another sister publication of Homicide, Crime and Justice, and Killers.
- the3rdegree.com | Online (defunct)
Publisher/Editor: Anthony Dauer
Essentially Judas under a new name, this equally short-lived ezine was run by Anthony “In the Navy” Dauer. Mr. Charm didn’t believe in having a heavy hand when it came to editing (he’d even let you format your own story) so this was an excellent place for beginning writers whose egos may have been a little fragile, as well as those who felt editors were scum.
- Trapped Detective Story Magazine | Print (defunct)
(1956-1960, Headline Publications)
Editor: W.W. Scott
Contributors: Lawrence Block, Lloyd Biggle, Jr., Harry Whittington, Milton K. Ozaki, Harlan Ellison, Gil Brewer, Robert Alter, Lawrence Block, Robert Silverberg, Talmage Powell.
Published by Headline Publications, Inc., out of Holyoke, Mass. A sister publication of Guilty Detective Story Magazine.
- Trouble Is My Business | Print (defunct)
Contributors: Polly Whitney, Elena Santangelo, Anthony Dauer, and Noreen Ayres, among others.
Hard-boiled poetry was the hook here, but I’m not sure any issues were ever published.
- Verdict | Print (defunct)
(aka “Verdict Crime Detection)
(1953-57 Flying Eagle Publications)
Editor: John McCloud
Contributors: Steve Fisher, Bruno Fischer, Richard Deming, Cornell Woolrich (writing as William Irish), Raymond Chandler, Fredric Brown, Rex Stout, Henry Kane,, Chester Himes, James M. Cain, Evan Hunter, Craig Rice, George Harmon Coxe, Frank Kane
Not the evangelical Christian magazine, but a short lived and pretty decent crime digest. Following the successful launch of Manhunt, Flying Eagle launched this copy cat, but it never really caught on, despite two further attempts to revive it. All told, only seven issues were published. Perhaps it was the inclusion of reprints that turned readers off. But looking at it from the present, what reprints! Cornell Woolrich (writing as William Irish), Raymond Chandler, Fredric Brown, Rex Stout, Henry Kane,, Chester Himes, James M. Cain, Evan Hunter, Craig Rice, George Harmon Coxe and Frank Kane. That version only lasted 4 issues, but the publishers tried again three years later as Verdict Crime Detection. That didn’t take either.
- Whispering Willows Mystery Magazine | Print (defunct)
(1997, Whispering Willows Ltd.)
Editor: Trula Johnson
Hard-to-find small press mag out of Oklahoma City, only lasted five issues, each labelled with names like “Sleuth Edition,” “Bon Voyage Edition,” etc., rather than being dated.