"Anchored"

by Wouter Boonstra

Between my first and second years of grad school at the University of Michigan, I spent the summer of 1975 traveling by car across western Canada. Although I never pick up hitchhikers, one rainy afternoon I did -- and they turned out to be a Dutch couple, Albert and Janny Boonstra. They were heading back to their campsite and were only in my car for five minutes, but that brief interlude was the beginning of a friendship that continues to this day.

A few years after we met, Albert and Janny had a son, Wouter, who grew up to be a freelance journalist and eventually an editor for one of The Netherlands' leading financial newspapers. When Rene Appel and I were co-editing Amsterdam Noir in 2017, one of the requirements of the Akashic Press City Noir series was that each volume had to include at least a couple of stories by people not known as crime writers. I invited Wouter to contribute a story to the book, and he was interested, but he'd never written fiction before and, by the time he sent me an early draft of "Anchored," our anthology was already full.

I liked Wouter's story, though, thought it showed a lot of promise. I made some editorial suggestions, and he incorporated most of them into a revised draft. EQMM already had several of my translations of stories by Dutch writers in inventory, so I suggested sending "Anchored" to Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. Editor Linda Landrigan liked it and bought it, and it appeared in the September/October 2020 issue of the magazine .... along with Johnston McCully's "Thubway Tham's Hoodoo Roll," which I selected and introduced as the issue's "Mystery Classic."

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