"Jake Brown's Anomalies"

by Arend Smits

I've been translating crime stories from Dutch (and other languages) for Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine's "Passport to Crime Department" since 2004, and somewhere along the line editor Janet Hutchings told me that she'd come to trust my judgment enough that she would agree to pay me for translating any story I recommended to her, even if she ultimately wound up deciding not to use it. For more than a decade, that trust seemed to be well placed, since she accepted 100% of the stories I recommended.

The March/April 2023 issue included my translation of Marjolein van der Gaag's 2021 story "Beneath the Surface," which was the first and, as it turned out, only winner of The Netherlands' Silver Noose Award for best short Dutch-language crime story of the year. For 2022, the award was renamed the Goeken Prize, and the winner was Arend Smits' "Jake Brown's Anomalies." I recommended it to Janet, she authorized me to translate it and for the first time ever, she passed on the translation. Why? Well, the story is long for "Passport to Crime," and it's set in America rather than overseas, and Janet pointed out that several of the things Arend wrote about the US were actually wrong. (As per our agreement, she offered to pay me for the translation anyway, but I said I didn't want to get paid for something she couldn't use.)

With Arend's permission, I submitted the story to Mystery Magazine, and editor Kerry Carter bought it and made it the cover story of her January 2024 issue! This was my twelfth contribution to MM (including those that appeared under its previous title, Mystery Weekly Magazine), the first translation I did for them, and the first time something of mine (albeit a translation) was selected as the issue's cover story. It was also my fiftieth published translation, most of them for EQMM but also twelve for Amsterdam Noir, three for Foreign Bodies, and two for Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. (This isn't counting translations of novels, memoirs, and comic books.)

Return to Bibliography.