Murder By Crowquill

Annotated Table of Contents

Fantastic cover art by Stephen Blue Murder By Crowquill is divided into four sections, each exploring a distinct aspect of the mystery genre. Following is an annotated list of the stories in each section.


The mystery genre has a long and rich tradition, and one of its key pleasures is the reinterpretation of classic characters and archetypes.

Art by Gary Dumm from DYING IN THE AFTERGLOW Gary Dumm keeps a glass-fronted bookcase next to his drawing board, with first editions of Cain, Hammett and Chandler classics. His MR. GREY series is an elaborate homage to the hardboiled tradition; 'Dying in the Afterglow' takes the series to new levels of spellbinding moral ambiguity.

Art by Jenni Gregory from THE PREACHERS DAUGHTER Jenni Gregory's DREAMWALKER series stars a woman who's dreamscape adventures draw her into the emotional lives of others. Her sleuth Felicity Winters exhibits a similar empathy in the whodunnit 'The Preacher's Daughter', handling cold cases with a warm heart.

Art by Josh Neufeld from I LEFT MY NAME IN SAN FRANCISCO In the anthology KEYHOLE, Josh Neufeld has been chronicling the autobiographical adventures of himself and his girlfriend Sari touring Southeast Asia. In 'I Left My Name in San Francisco' Josh and Sari take a fictitious Nick-and-Nora turn investigating a friend's strange behavior.

Art by Alex Robinson from ALTAMONTS LAST BOW No mystery anthology would be complete without a gracious nod to the Master Detective himself. Alex Robinson takes a break from his hit slacker comedy series BOX OFFICE POISON to reveal the secrets of an aging eccentric in 'Altamont's Last Bow.'


Ever since Sir Arthur Conan Doyle breathed life into an oafish Watson, the mystery story has had little room to take itself seriously. Obviously the same can be said of 'comic' books, as this section demonstrates.

Art by Tim Truman from DOG, CAT, AND BABY Tim Truman and Joe R. Lansdale are the trailblazers who've revived DC comics' JONAH HEX to prominence as a ground-breaking Western series. In 'Dog, Cat, and Baby', they explore the homicidal impulses of man's best friend.

Art by Batton Lash from TO SUE OR NOT TO SUE Grisham and Turow imitators may be swarming the best-seller list, but in comics, Batton Lash has the legal thriller genre all to himself. The movie version of WOLFF AND BYRD, COUNSELORS OF THE MACABRE will be coming soon to your local theatre, but in the meantime, enjoy the depositional duo in 'To Sue or Not to Sue.'

Art by Gary Dumm from THE ETERNITY PASTA David Yurkovich's addictive off-center humor from DEATH BY CHOCOLATE and THRESHOLD is well-represented in 'The Eternity Pasta', a cuisinary query into longevity levity.

Art by Jesse Reklaw from SPACED OUT Jesse Reklaw's dream chronicles for CONCAVE UP and the daily strip SLOW WAVE have set new standards for somnolent sensationalism. One suspects that 'Spaced Out' is the result of him nodding off while watching The Cartoon Network.

Art by John f. Polacek from SCARHEAD Ben Adams and John F. Polacek are the creators of PRISONOPOLIS, an SF commentary on incarceration and social control. In the first of two darker satires, they focus on the media's glamorization of vicious killers in 'Scarhead.'

Art by Colin Upton from MEAT And Colin Upton, acerbic creator of the controversial graphic novel BUDDHA ON THE ROAD, aims a jab straight at the reader with 'Meat,' a pointed commentary on our obsession with violence.


The mystery may be an intellectual puzzle, but what always drives it is the undercurrent of lurking danger, a dark foreshadowing that makes for edge-of-your-seat reading.

Art by Charles Dougherty and Robert Humble from AFFAIR OF HONOR Charles Dougherty and Robert Humble are immensely skilled American artists who work exclusively for the European comics market (the anthology THREADS is one of their rare stateside appearances.) Their mastery of gradually-building tension is well-displayed in two macabre tales, 'Affair of Honor' and 'Tigress,' Art by Charles Dougherty and Robert Humble from TIGRESS the latter written by Mort Castle, whose NIGHT CITY has been nominated for the International Horror Guild's "Best Graphic Story/Stories" award.

Art by Steve Conley from THE RIDE Best known for his satirical retro-SF series ASTOUNDING SPACE THRILLS, Steve Conley delivers a tense short about a killer on mass transit in 'The Ride.'

Art by Mack White from MISSING TIME Mack White's surrealistic anthology VILLA OF THE MYSTERIES probed the limits of reality. A well-researched conspiracy theorist, White speculates here in more realistic fashion about mind control and the erasure of identity in 'Missing Time.'

Art by Joe Zabel from WELL OF DARKNESS THE TRESPASSERS creator Joe Zabel (that's me) finds romance and danger lurking in the shadows of a night-cloaked fire escape in 'Well of Darkness.'


There's a convergence of the mystery genre and serious literature in the pessimistic fatalism of noir. These are stories that are not so much about an individual crime, but about society's betrayal of our faith in decency, order and justice.

Art by Tony Consiglio from NUMB Tony Consiglio's simple style belies the serious intent of his stories; his mini-comics series DOUBLE CROSS is one of the best and most overlooked comics being published today. 'Numb' is a haunting tragedy of covert exploitation.

Art by Robert Humble from FOOD CHAIN Robert Humble (see 'Affair of Honor' in previous section) chronicles the ignoble fate awaiting a war casualty in 'Food Chain.'

Art by Michael Neno from A GREATER HONOR For years, Michael Neno has toiled in obscurity on quirky minis like 'This Eternal Flaw.' His most triumphantly ambitious comics work to date, 'A Greater Honor' plumbs the heart of darkness in a corrupt family.

Art by Joe Chiappetta from A FAREWELL TO TROUBLES The theme of fatherhood has never been treated with more passion and depth in comics than in Joe Chiappetta's award-winning avant-garde series SILLY DADDY. In 'A Farewell to Troubles' Joe reminds us that love relationships can be as full of mystery as any whodunnit.

Art by Scott Gilbert from COMANCHE In TRUE ARTIST TALES, Scott Gilbert has taken the weekly newspaper strip to places it's never been before-- quirky pop-art gag fests, zen musings, and compelling serialized graphic novels. His adaptation of Sigman Byrd's 'Comanche' is the perfect evocation of the noir ethos, where sex, savagery, and doom mix together in an intoxicating brush with eternity.