"A Woman's Place"

written with Rene Appel

"Josh Pachter has been appearing in EQMM for nearly fifty years, as a solo writer, a collaborator, and a translator. Dutch author Rene 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 Rene Appel, "the godfather of the Dutch psychological thriller."

I've translated several of Rene's stories and one of his novels, and we were the co-editors of Amsterdam Noir, a collection of dark stories published in both Dutch (Ambo|Anthos, 2018) and English (Askashic Books, 2019). This was, 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 Rene 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 Rene 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. I got in touch with Laurie, and she was willing to sell me the original illustration, which I had framed ... and which now hangs right above my computer monitor in my home office, where I can see it every time I sit down at my keyboard....

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