In 2004 I accepted "Costa Rica? No Thanks," a short story by Dan A. Sproul for an anthology I was editing. Sproul, the author of several short stories published in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine and other publications—including two of my anthologies—died in 2007.
Unfortunately, the anthology was cancelled by the publisher. While other contributors have placed their stories elsewhere, Dan's story languishes in my filing cabinet.
I do not know how to contact Dan's surviving relatives and suspect they may be non-writers who have no idea what to do with Dan's unpublished manuscripts. I suspect they have trashed the hardcopies of his manuscripts and/or erased them from his computer drive because they do not understand the value of what he left behind.
I am left with a conundrum. I have a contract with Dan to publish his story, but the contract was tied to a specific anthology. Unless I somehow resurrect the dead anthology, I have no right to publish Dan's story nor do I have the right to see that someone else publishes it.
On the other hand, if I do nothing, the story may never see publication.
If anyone knows Dan's surviving relatives and can connect us, I would greatly appreciate it.
If anyone knows of a loophole in the copyright law that would allow me to shepherd this story into publication without his family's permission, I would greatly appreciate that information as well.