The Short Mystery Fiction Society

Derringer Awards


The Short Mystery Fiction Society seeks to "actively recognize writers and readers who promote and support the creative artform of short mysteries in the press, in other mystery organizations, and through awards."

The annual Derringer Awards were created in 1997 by the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and were named after the palm-sized handgun, a metaphor for a crime short story -- small, but dangerous.  The Derringer was created to fill a void in the arena of American mystery awards, which arguably tend to concentrate on novels (most major awards do in fact include a short fiction category). Any story published (in print or online) in a given calendar year is eligible for a Derringer.



| 1998 | 1999 | 2000 | 2001 | 2002 | 2003 | 2004 | 2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 |

*As usual, private eye novels, or at least those of more than general interest to P.I. fans are marked by an asterisk.


1998 DERRINGER AWARDS
(For Stories Published in 1997)

BEST SHORT STORY (TIE)

BEST SHORT-SHORT STORY

BEST FLASH

BEST FIRST SHORT STORY

BEST NOVELLA


1999 DERRINGER AWARDS
(For Stories Published in 1998)

SHORT STORY CATEGORY

FLASH CATEGORY

GOLDEN DERRINGER AWARD
For Lifetime Achievement of Short Mystery Fiction

DERRINGER READER AWARD
For Supporting Short Mystery Fiction


2000 DERRINGER AWARDS
(For Stories Published in 1999)

BEST SHORT STORY

  • "The Way to a Man's Heart" by Elizabeth Dearl (February 1999, The Case.Com "Twist")

BEST SHORT SHORT (TIE)

  • "When in Rome" by Dorothy Francis (December/January 2000, Murderous Intent Mystery Magazine)
  • "Just a Man on the Sidealk" by Carol Kilgore (March 12-18, 1999, TheCase.Com)

BEST NOVELLA

  • "Saint Bobby" by Doug Allyn (April 1999, EQMM)

HONORARY BEST FIRST SHORT STORY

  • "Death in Full Bloom" by Ray Wonderly (August 1999, Futures)

GOLDEN DERRINGER AWARD
For Lifetime Achievement of Short Mystery Fiction

  • Henry Slesar

DERRINGER AWARD FOR READER SUPPORT

  • Robert Foster
  • Jiro Kimura


2001 DERRINGER AWARDS
(For Stories Published in 2000)

BEST SHORT MYSTERY STORY

  • Erie's Last Day by Steve Hockensmith (May 2000, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine)
  • The Disappearance of Miss Sarah Oswald by Jennifer Ashley (Spring 2000, Over My Dead body)
  • Amish Butter by Jacqueline Fiedler (Unholy Orders)
  • The Dark Tower by Gwen Moffat, (Malice Domestic)
  • Tom Wasp and Anybody's Child by Amy Myers (Scenes of Crime)

BEST MYSTERY NOVELLA

  • Lilacs and Lace by Lynda Douglas (June 2000, Futures)
  • The Death Row Pet Show by Doug Allyn (April 2000, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
  • Attitude Thing by William J. Carroll, Jr., (May 2000, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine)
  • Blood Paths by Clark Howard (June 2000, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
  • The Sedgemoor Strangler by Peter Lovesey, (Criminal Records)

BEST FLASH MYSTERY (tie)

  • Polls Don't Lie by Earl McGill (Blue Murder)
  • The New Lawyer by Mike Wiecek (Spring 2000, Crimestalker Casebook)
  • Accident by Guy Belleranti (About.com Mysteries)
  • Sunken Dreams by Tim Myers, (December 2000, Futures)
  • Lucky Man by Ali Seay (About.com Mysteries)

BEST PUZZLE STORY

  • The Cabin Killer by Henry Slesar (July 2000, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
  • Happy Acres Homicide by Richard Ciciarelli (Solve-It #227, MysteryNet.com)
  • Killing the Old Survivors by Gary Sensening (Solve-It #215, MysteryNet.com)

THE GOLDEN DERRINGER FOR LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT

  • John Lutz

THE READERS SUPPORT AWARD

  • Babs Lakey


2002 DERRINGER AWARDS
(For Stories Published in 2001)

FOR BEST SHORT MYSTERY

  • All The Fine Actors by Earl Staggs (EWG Presents Without A Clue; * SMFS vice-president)
  • The Last Letter by Mike Wiecek (AHMM)
  • Smoky Didn't Send Me by Charles Cutter (AHMM)
  • Tunnel of Malice by Margaret Dicanio (Futures)
  • Cuts Like A Knife by Michael Bracken (Fedora)

FOR THE SHORT-SHORT MYSTERY

  • In the Heat of the Moment by Nick Andreychuk (February 2001, Futures)
  • Greenhouse Pest by Tim Myers (November 2001, Futures)
  • A Matter of Interest by Stephen Rogers (August 2001, HandHeldCrime)
  • Lucrezia and The Thief by Henry Slesar (April 2001, EQMM)

FOR THE BEST LONGER MYSTERY

  • Early Morning Rain by Jean McCord (Futures #4)
  • Lesser-Included Offense by Jeffery Deaver (May 2001, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
  • The Mondo Whammy by David Handler (September/October 2001, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
  • Avenging Miriam by Peter Sellers (December 2001, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
  • Harry's Lament by Bentley Dadmun (June 2001, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)

THE SILVER DERRINGER FOR EDITORIAL EXCELLENCE

  • Cathleen Jordan (posthumous)
    For 20 benchmark years at the helm of Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine.


2003 DERRINGER AWARDS
(For Stories Published in 2002)

BEST SHORT STORY

  • "Closure" by Dave White (Fall 2002, The Thrilling Detective Web Site; Jackson Donne)*
  • "Top of the World" by Bill Crider (Flesh and Blood: Dark Desires)
  • "Just Looking" by Bill Pronzini (Flesh and Blood: Dark Desires)
  • "Mexican Gatsby" by Raymond Steiber (March 2002, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)*
  • "More Than a Scam" by Dave Zeltserman (Mysterical-E)

BEST SHORT SHORT

  • "A Cut Above" by Del Tinsley (Fall 2002, Hardluck Stories)
  • "Sending Out an S.O.S." by Nick Andreychuk (Apr/May/June 2002, Futures)
  • "Jumping the Fence" by Stephen Rogers (Fall 2002, Hardluck Stories)
  • "What A Day" by Seymour Shubin (January 2002, Futures)
  • "Shark Infested Pudding" by John Weagly (November 2002, Judas Ezine)

BEST LONG SHORT STORY

  • "The Murder Ballads" by Doug Allyn (March 2002, EQMM)
  • "Medicine Water" by David Edgerly Gates (September 2002, AHMM)
  • "To Live and Die in Midland, Texas" by Clark Howard (September-October 2002, EQMM)
  • "Painter of the Seven-Eyed Beast" by Catherine Mambretti (November 2002, AHMM)
  • "Henry's Power" by Bob Stevens (March 2002, HandHeldCrime)

2004 DERRINGER AWARDS
(For Stories Published in 2003)

BEST FLASH STORY (Up to 500 Words)

  • "All My Yesterdays" by Michael Bracken (2003, Suddenly V; SMFS vice-president)
  • "Patience" by Nick Andreychuk (Fall 2003, Futures)
  • "Motive For Murder" by Guy Belleranti (Spring 2003, Futures)
  • "How to Become a Rodeo Queen" by Michelle Mach (October 2003, Mslexia)
  • "At Thirty Paces" by Graydon Miller (The Havana Brotherhood)

BEST SHORT SHORT (501 to 2000 Words)

  • "Nailbiter" by Rob Lopresti (September 2003, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)
  • "Coyotes Find" by Gay T. Kinman (February 2003, Detective Mystery Stories)
  • "Waiter, There's a Clue in My Soup" by Camille LaGuire (Spring 2003, Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine)
  • "Children Seen and Heard" by K. G. McAbee (July 2003, EWG Presents: Without a Clue)
  • "Packy Run" by Stephen D. Rogers (Spring 2003, Hardluck Stories)
  • "Silky's Getaway" by Earl Staggs (Summer 2003, Futures; SMFS president)

BEST MIDLENGTH SHORT STORY (2001 to 6000 Words)

  • "Notions of the Real World" by Dorothy Rellas (Summer 2003, Futures)
  • "A Mother Scorned" by Michele R. Bardsley (Writer's Digest)
  • "Big Winner" by Terry Black (November 2003, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)
  • "Sara Morningsky" by Lee Driver (March 2003, A Mystery in Mind)
  • "Wanda Wilcox is Trapped" by Eddie Muller (September/October 2003, Plots With Guns)

BEST LONG SHORT STORY (6001 to 15000 Words)

  • "The Mask of Peter" by Clark Howard, April 2003, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
  • "Bombshell" by Loren D. Estleman (August 2003, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
  • "The Windsor Ballet" by Deborah Morgan (Flesh and Blood: Guilty as Sin)
  • "Henry and the Idiots" by Robert J. Randisi (High Stakes)
  • "Amazing Grace" by Harriet Rzetelny (February 2003, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)

2005 DERRINGER AWARDS
(For Stories Published in 2004)

BEST FLASH STORY

  • "The Big Guys" by JA Konrath (2004, Small Bites; edited by Garrett Peck and Keith Gouveia)
  • "Housesitter" by J. K. Cummins (Summer 2004, Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine)
  • "Sand Scam" by Nick Andreychuk (Fall 2004, Crimestalker Casebook)
  • "Theda" by Beverly Brackett (November 2004, Flash Fantastic)
  • "Widow’s Peak" by S.A. Daynard (2004, Riptide: Crime Stories by New England Writers; edited by Skye Alexander, Kate Flora, Susan Oleksiw, Level Best Books)

SHORT-SHORT STORIES

  • "The Test" by Mike Wiecek (November 20, 2004, Woman’s World)
  • "Experience Required" by Michael Giorgio (March 2004, Lunatic Chameleon [Print Edition])
  • "Sweet Smell of Success" by Beverle Graves Myers (2004, Who Died in Here?; edited by Pat Dennis, Penury Press)
  • "The Big Store" by Stephen D. Rogers (Spring 2004, Hardluck Stories)
  • "Up in Smoke" by Jan Christensen (January/February/March 2004, Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine)

MID-LENGTH SHORT STORIES

  • "Viscery" by Sandy Balzo (December 2004, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine)
  • "Brethren of The Sea" by Joan Druett (November 2004, Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine)
  • "Freddie Swings In" by David Terrenoire (2004, Fedora III; edited by Michael Bracken, Betancourt & Company)
  • "Hilly Palmer’s Last Case" by Duane Swierczynski (September/October 2004, Plots With Guns)
  • "Phillie's Last Dance" by Ray Banks (March 2004, Shots Magazine)

LONGER SHORT STORIES

  • "Secondhand Heart" by Doug Allyn (January/February 2004, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine)
  • "God's Dice" by David White (Spring 2004, Thrilling Detective Web Site; Jackson Donne)*
  • "A Sunday in Ordinary Time" by Terence Faherty (August 2004, Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine; Owen Keane)*
  • "The Franklin Fiasco" by Beverle Graves Myers (September 2004, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine)
  • "The Girl in Apartment 2A" by G. Miki Hayden (2004, Dime; edited by Babs Lakey, Quiet Storm)

2006 DERRINGER AWARDS
(For Stories Published in 2005)

BEST FLASH STORY

  • "Secondhand Shoe" by Patricia Harrington (2005, A Flasher’s Dozen)
  • "The Last Journey" by Mary Schenten (July 2005, Flashshot)
  • "Word Power" by Michelle Mach (March 2005, Flashshot)
  • "Secondhand Shoe" by Patricia Harrington (Winter 2005, A Flasher's Dozen)
  • "Hell Hath No Fury" by BJ Bourg (March 2005, Mysterical-E)
  • "No Athiests in Foxholes" by Stephen D. Rogers (May 2005, Kwickee)

BEST SHORT-SHORT STORY

  • "Zipped" by Stephen D. Rogers (2005, Windchill: Crime Stories by New England Writers, Level Best Books)
  • "Twilight of the Fireflies" by John Weagly (December 2005, Big Muddy: Journal of the Mississippi River Valley)
  • "Roses at His Feet" by Todd Robinson (December 2005, Thuglit)
  • "The Day the Bad Men Came" by Andy Henion (January 2005, Thieves Jargon)
  • "Hangman's Tree" by Deanne Boast (December 2005, Crime and Suspense)

BEST MID-LENGTH SHORT STORY

  • "One Step Closer" by Iain Rowan for (2005, Hardluck Stories)
  • "Best Wishes" by JR Chabot (September 2005, Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine)
  • "The Spare" by Woody Hanstein (October 2005, Level Best Books)
  • "Johnny Cash is Dead" by Jordan Harper (October 2005, Thuglit)
  • "A Death in Ueno" by Mike Wiecek (March 2005, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)* 

BEST LONGER SHORT STORY

  • "The Safest Place on Earth" by Mark Best (Spring 2005, Thrilling Detective Web Site)*
  • "Monday, Sweet Monday" by John F. Dobbyn (June 2005, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)
  • "Good Shepherd" by Frank Zafiro (May 2005, Ascent Aspirations Magazine)
  • "Fish" by Stephen Johnston (Fall 2005, Web Mystery Magazine)
  • "The Cherries of Lucullus" by Steven Saylor (May 2005, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine; Gordianus the Finder)*

2007 DERRINGER AWARDS
(For Stories Published in 2006)

BEST FLASH STORY

  • "Vigilante" by Barry Ergang (Summer 2006, Mysterical-E)
  • "Matched Set" by Jan Christensen (Winter 2006, Long Story Short)
  • "Snowflake Therapy" by Michelle Mach (June 2006, Thereby Hangs a Tale)
  • "Flight School" by Jill Maser (August 28, 2006, Flashshots)
  • "Home Entertainment" by Sandra Seamans (July/August 2006, A Cruel World)

BEST SHORT-SHORT STORY (tie)

  • "Elena Speaks of the City, Under Siege" by Steven Torres (September/October 2006, Crimespree Magazine)
  • "Four For Dinner" by John M. Floyd (Seven by Seven)
  • "Even Steven" by Gail Farrelly (Winter 2006,Mouth Full of Bullets)
  • "Interview" by Justin Gustainis (October 2006, Cape Fear Crime Festival)
  • "The Worst Door" by Frank Zafiro (January 2006, Dispatch)

BEST MID-LENGTH SHORT STORY

  • "Cranked" by Bill Crider (Damn Near Dead: An Anthology of Geezer Noir)
  • "Eden's Bodyguard" by David Bareford (September 2006, Thuglit)
  • "Shadow People" by Rex Burns (June 2006,Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)
  • "Uncle Blinky's Corner of the World" by Robert S. Levinson (March/April 2006, Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine)
  • "Shanks on the Prowl" by Robert Lopresti (May 2006, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)

BEST LONGER SHORT STORY

  • "Strictly Business" by Julie Hyzy (These Guns for Hire)
  • "Signature in Blood" by Annette Dashofy (Winter 2006, Mysterical-E)
  • "Daphne MacAndrews and the Smack-Head Junkies" by Stuart MacBride (Damn Near Dead: An Anthology of Geezer Noir)
  • "See Also Murder" by Larry Sweazy (December 11, 2006, Amazon Shorts)
  • "The Valley of Angustias" by Steven Torres (October 2006, Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine)

2008 DERRINGER FINALISTS
(For Stories Published in 2007)

BEST STORY (0-1Best Story 0 to 1,,000 WORDS)

  • "My Hero" by Patricia Abbott (2007, D.Z. Allen’s Muzzle Flash)
  • "Saved" by Keri Clark (Fall 2007,Mysterical-E)
  • "Dreaming of a Spite Christmas" by B.V. Lawson (Winter 2007, Mouth Full of Bullets, )
  • "A Woman Scorned" by Jillian Berg (Autumn 2007, Mouth Full of Bullets)
  • "Your New Fan" by Keri Clark (Winter 2007, Mouth Full of Bullets)

BEST STORY (1,001-4,000 WORDS)

  • "In the Shadows of Wrigley Field" by John Weagly (November 2007, The Back Alley)
  • "Brimstone P.I." by Beverle Graves Myers (May 2007, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)*
  • "We All Come from Splattertown" by Hugh Lessig (July 2007, ThugLit)
  • "Joyride" by Rick Noetzel (December 2007, Shred of Evidence)
  • "Handful of Stars" by Jack Hardway (Autumn 2007, Mouth Full of Bullets)
  • "The Promise" by Camille LaGuire (March-April 2007, Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine)

BEST STORY (4,001-8,000 WORDS)

  • "The Gospel According to Gordon Black" by Richard Helms (Fall 2007, The Thrilling Detective Web Site)*
  • "A Trader’s Lot" by Twist Phalen (from Wall Street Noir)
  • "Devil’s Lake" by John Schroeder (January/February 2007, Futures Mystery Anthology Magazine)
  • "A Private Hanging" by Herschel Cozine (Summer 2007, Mysterical-E)
  • "Mr. McGregor’s Garden" by Kate Flora (Still Waters)
  • "Growing Up Is for Losers" by Rosemary Harris (Still Waters)

BEST STORY (8,001-17,500 WORDS)

  • "Paper Walls/Glass Houses" by Eric Shane (June 2007, The Back Alley)
  • "The Bookworm’s Demise" by Beverle Graves Myers (December 2007, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)
  • "The Enlightenment of Magnus McKay" by John Burdett (Wall Street Noir)
  • "Wasting Assets" by Mike Wiecek (September 2007, Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine)
  • "Forget Me Not" by Clifford Royal Johns (Fall 2007, Mysterical-E)

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