Best Flash (Up to 500 words)
- "All My Yesterdays" by Michael Bracken (Suddenly V, Stone River Press, 2003)
- "Patience" by Nick Andreychuk (Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine, Fall 2003)
- "Motive For Murder" by Guy Belleranti (Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine, Spring 2003)
- "How to Become a Rodeo Queen" by Michelle Mach (Mslexia, October 2003)
- "At Thirty Paces" by Graydon Miller (The Havana Brotherhood, Sol y Luna, 2003)
Best Short Short (501–2,000 words)
- "Nailbiter" by Rob Lopresti (Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, September 2003)
- "Coyotes Find" by Gay T. Kinman (Detective Mystery Stories, February 2003)
- "Waiter, There's a Clue in My Soup" by Camille LaGuire (Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine, Spring 2003)
- "Children Seen and Heard" by K. G. McAbee (EWG Presents: Without a Clue, July 2003)
- "Packy Run" by Stephen D. Rogers (Hardluck Stories, Spring 2003)
- "Silky's Getaway" by Earl Staggs (Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine, Summer 2003)
Best Mid-Length Short Story (2,001–6,000 words)
- "Notions of the Real World" by Dorothy Rellas (Futures Mysterious Anthology Magazine, Summer 2003)
- "A Mother Scorned" by Michele R. Bardsley (Writer's Digest, November 2003)
- "Big Winner" by Terry Black (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, November 2003)
- "Sara Morningsky" by Lee Driver (A Mystery in Mind, March 2003)
- "Wanda Wilcox is Trapped" by Eddie Muller (Plots With Guns, September/October 2003)
Best Long Short Story (6,001–15,000 words)
- "The Mask of Peter" by Clark Howard (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, April 2003)
- "Bombshell" by Loren D. Estleman (Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, August 2003)
- "The Windsor Ballet" by Deborah Morgan (Flesh and Blood: Guilty as Sin, Mysterious Press, April 2003)
- "Henry and the Idiots" by Robert J. Randisi (High Stakes: 8 Sure-Bet Stories of Gambling and Crime, Signet, September 2003) "Amazing Grace" by Harriet Rzetelny (Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine, February 2003)
The 2004 Derringer winners were announced at Pennwriters Conference in Grantville, PA on May 15, which was proclaimed Short Mystery Fiction Day in Pennsylvania by Governor Ed Rendell. Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine editor Linda Landrigan also gave the following remembrance:
I would like to take a moment to remember three accomplished short story writers who were great practitioners of the form, who have all passed away recently. They were all members of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and I am proud to say that we published each in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine.
Henry Slesar wrote hundreds of stories in the course of his long career. His first story for Hitchcock appeared in our second issue, in 1957, and in many ways he exemplified what came to be known as "the Hitchcock sensibility".
Dan Sontup was a regular contributor not only to our magazine, but also to Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, as well as many of the pulps that are no longer in existence. His first Hitchcock story appeared in 1962; his last story nearly forty years later. Dan once said that he enjoyed the particular challenges of the short story: building character and plot and evoking a response in the reader in a very short span of time.
Their younger collegue and your neighbor, David K. Harford, wrote in a variety of styles and lengths, but his two series--one set in Vietnam and one set in rural Pennsylvania--particularly resonated with readers. His 1998 novella "A Death on the Ho Chi Minh Trail" was chosen for the 1999 Best American Mystery Stories.
Three writers--inspirations all.