Traditional mysteries and the short story form have been a perfect pair since Poe and Conan Doyle; this outstanding collection of original tales carries on the combination of genres. Brevity is no detriment to characterization here. D. R. Meredith's Maude Turner is a sharp-eyed, kite-flying senior citizen who turns detective in the murder-by-kite-string of one of her colleagues. Diane Mott Davidson's O. Henry-esque tale features a protagonist at the other extreme: after a fight with his best friend, sixth-grader Arch wanders off and finds his school principal's body discarded in the creek. (``Cool! Can we go see it?'' his friend replies when Arch reports the news.) Plots and locales vary from a zoo's gorilla compound, where Charlotte and Aaron Elkins's murderer tries to pass off his deadly work as a terrible accident, to P. M. Carlson's 19th-century period mystery featuring Lillie Langtry, who is threatened with the kidnapping of her niece. The contributors avoid cliche while remaining true to the genre, accomplishing Peters's ( Crocodile on the Sandbank ) goal of celebrating the traditional mystery. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/04/1992 Release date: 05/01/1992 Genre: Fiction
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