"Annika Andersson"

"With this collaboration, two veteran authors return to our pages. Stanley Cohen first published with EQMM in the 1960s and has since placed many stories in national magazines and anthologies. Josh Pachter, who first appeared with us in 1968, has continued to write short stories while also pursuing a career as editor and critic. The following is a tale about a beautiful Swede they say is 'mean as a snake'..."

When I was in the third grade, my teacher's name was Stanley Cohen. When I was in a senior in high school, I became friends with a guy named Gary Feldman. When I was in college, I found out that there was a mystery writer named Stanley Cohen who'd written a book called Taking Gary Feldman. One evening, I brought the real Gary Feldman to a Mystery Writers of America cocktail party and introduced him to Stan.

In 1975, in the summer between my first and second years of grad school, I spent six weeks driving from Ann Arbor, Michigan, west and north through Minnesota and into Canada, then all the way west to Victoria Island before dropping back down along the Washington and Oregon and California coast to San Francisco — where I visited with Gary Feldman and showed him the movie I'd made from my short story, "A Clear Case of Death."

This was a momentous trip in many ways. I had an amazing adventure in Lake Louise, British Columbia. I met Dutch hitchhikers Albert and Janny Boonstra — a connection which ultimately led to my meeting Lydia Boekn in 1976, marrying her in 1977, and moving to Europe with her in 1979.

And, somewhere out west, I found myself driving along composing the opening scene to a short story. I wound up pulling off the road — underneath an overpass, if memory serves — and writing the scene down.

I never finished the story, though — until, a decade later, I was working on Partners in Crime and stumbled across those 1975 notes. I sent the scene to Stan Cohen, he roughed out a plotline — he'd recently been to the island of Jamaica, and loved it enough to send our main character there — and we wrote the story.

And sent it to all of the mystery magazines, all of whom rejected it. Half a dozen years later, though, Stan dug it out of a drawer and sent it back to Janet Hutchings at EQMM and asked her to take a second look. She did, and this time she liked it.

"Annika Andersson" was my only American magazine appearance during the '90s.

Stanley is the collaborator I've seen most recently. He and his wife Marilyn live in Connecticut, not too far from the high school my daughter Becca attends, and I visit with them every once in a while. (That's Stan, Becca and Marilyn to the left.) Stan's novel Angel Eyes is the best police procedural I've read that wasn't written by Ed McBain.

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