The Year's 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories

Mystery Scene Magazine, Editor, Jon L. Breen, Introduction by
Mystery Scene Magazine, Editor, Jon L. Breen, Introduction by Carroll & Graf Publishers $24 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7867-0361-6
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A couple of sparkling stories highlight this uneven collection: Peter Lovesey's clever ""The Pushover,"" which won the Mystery Writers of America short story contest, and Jean B. Cooper's superb Edgar-winning ""The Judge's Boy."" This fifth annual collection also features strong offerings from Lawrence Block (his assassin Keller appears in ""Keller in Shining Armor""); Sara Paretsky, with an excellent V.I. Warshawski story, ""Grace Notes"" from her recent collection, Windy City Blues; and John Harvey, with his gritty British policeman, Charles Resnick, in ""She Rote."" Marcia Muller gives Sharon McCone's assistant, Rae Kelleher, center stage in a story about social injustice, ""The Holes in the System""; Anne Perry abandons her series sleuths but not Victorian England in ""The Blackmailer,"" a clever twister accomplished with great economy. A variety of styles ranges from Susan B. Kelly's play off Jane Austen in ""The Best Sort of Husband"" to the horrific locked-room mystery ""Beasts in Buildings, Turning 'Round"" by J.N. Williamson. Other authors include Nancy Pickard, Sharyn McCrumb, Joan Hess and Bill Pronzini. Lacking is indication of how the editors selected stories for inclusion, and, while there are few really bad selections, many are too pedestrian to warrant collection with the ""year's best."" (Oct.)
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