When Air Mail launched a year ago this month, we sensed that readers craved a break from all the horrifying, depressing political news filling their newspapers and social media. We figured that the well informed would appreciate a Saturday-morning journal that covers the world with insight, humor, and flair and that offers a rich variety of stories, opinions, and international perspectives—not readily found in American publications.

Last July, we did not foresee that a number of things even worse for the world than having Donald Trump in the White House could happen: a global pandemic, economies teetering on the edge of Depression-era collapse, right-wing nationalists on the rise in presidential palaces and parliaments, rebellion in the streets—and Trump, making all of the above far worse.

But we were on the right track. When the news turns so relentlessly dark and anxiety-inducing, people need a chance to read something different—and at Air Mail we endeavor to mix it up. On any given week, there will be a story about the coronavirus outbreaks in Asia and the protests in Washington and Minneapolis, but also a saucy French sex scandal, a day in the life of a fashionable London florist, a serial killer in Cyprus, reviews of movies by Woody Allen and Roman Polanski that are not shown in the United States, investigative multi-part series about a murderer or a predator, a witheringly funny column about social-media madness by Cazzie David, a look at the discovery of a long-lost version of Darkness at Noon in the original German, an exposé of the scofflaw socialites who frequent ultra-hip New York speakeasies under lockdown, and, yes, an irreverent look—or two—at the latest misguided antics of Meghan & Harry and Prince Andrew. These days, Trump is best left to our cartoonists.

We figured that the well informed would appreciate a Saturday-morning journal that covers the world with insight, humor, and flair.

Sure enough, even in these gloomy economic times, subscriptions continue to grow, our sponsors remain on board, and readers write in to express pleasure and delight. (And give advice.) Mostly, it turns out, they say they enjoy stories about scandal and crime—especially when it involves people with boldfaced names. And we like going against the grain.

So, for the July Fourth issue, we decided to skip all the usual patriotic essays, soul-searching memoirs, and flag-and-fireworks photos, and present anew some of our favorite scandals and crime stories of the last year.

When the nation goes red, white, and blue, we go noir.