MYSTERIOUS PLEASURES: A Celebration of the Crime Writers' Association 50th Anniversary

Martin Edwards, Author . Little, Brown $17.95 (370p) ISBN 978-0-316-72563-7

Did you know that the much-prized Gold Dagger Award given out by the British Crime Writers' Association was known as the "Crossed Red Herring Award" when the group had its first luncheon in 1953? (It went to Winston Graham, of Poldark fame.) Editor Edwards notes this without apparent irony in his introduction to a well-chosen collection of stories by CWA award winners put together to mark the golden anniversary of the influential organization—a shrewd mixture of old favorites such as Margery Allingham's "One Morning They'll Hang Him" and John Creasey's "The Chief Witness" (according to Edwards, one third of CWA's early members "happened to be Creasey himself under his many pseudonyms") and eight new tales written for this anthology by such big names as Colin Dexter, Reginald Hill, Val McDermid and Ian Rankin. The stories cover the range of what we've come to expect from British crime fiction at its best, from the traditional cop on the beat story with a twist in its tail (Hill's "The Game of the Dog") to McDermid's tough and dark "The Consolation Blonde," which appropriately enough is about a male writer who loses a major literary award and takes out his frustration on his date. This could be the perfect volume to take along on your next trip to England, especially with all the recent airport delays. (Apr. 1)

Forecast: Despite its import status, this one should sell well to fans of British mysteries given the all-star cast of contributors. Other tales original to this anthology are by Robert Barnard, Lindsey Davis, H.R.F. Keating and Peter Lovesey.

Reviewed on: 02/02/2004
Release date: 03/01/2004
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