"A Woman's Place"

written with René Appel

"Josh Pachter has been appearing in EQMM for nearly fifty years, as a solo writer, a collaborator, and a translator. Dutch author René Appel has twice had stories in our Passport to Crime department. Following their collaboration on this new story, they'll be coediting Akashic Books' Amsterdam Noir, which includes their second story collaboration, 'Starry Starry Night.'"

Another Partners in Crime story, this one written in collaboration with René Appel, "the godfather of the Dutch psychological thriller."

I've translated several of René's stories and one of his novels, and we are the co-editors of Amsterdam Noir, a collection of dark stories coming out in 2018 in both English (Askashic Books) and Dutch (Ambo|Anthos). This is, however, the first time we wrote a piece of fiction together.

"A Woman's Place" started out as a novel called Dutch T(h)reat, which I wrote on my own. I was never able to sell it, and at one point I asked René if he'd be willing to read it and offer me some suggestions. He was, and he did, and his main suggestion was that the plot really wasn't rich enough to justify a novel but would work better as a short story.

With Partners in Crime in mind, I suggested that René take a stab at condensing my 250-page manuscript down to a 25-30 page story. He eliminated my first-person narrator, the romantic subplot, two of the murders and a lot of the eating and tea-drinking. Together, we came up with a new clue that leads the police to identifying the killer ... and, sure enough, the story worked better as a story than it had worked as a novel.

EQMM editor Janet Hutchings thought so, too, and she bought it. When it appeared in print, I was delighted to see that it was the September/October 2017 issue's lead story ... and especially delighted with the lovely illustration by Laurie Harden, who I had the pleasure of meeting at the EQMM editorial offices in September of 2016, when we were both there for breakfast preceding the magazine's seventy-fifth anniversary symposium at Columbia University, at which we both spoke.

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