Grifters and Swindlers: Stories from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

Cynthia Manson, Editor Carroll & Graf Publishers $18.95 (287p) ISBN 978-0-88184-931-8
This uneven collection of 17 tales drawn from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine ranges from classics of flimflam to the dully predictable. William Campbell Gault's 1950 ``The Cackle Bladder'' will appeal to readers who relished the central setup of the 1973 movie, The Sting , except that Gault's description of the phony betting parlor, the characters and the scam are even more vivid. In ``Thieves' Bazaar'' by W. L. Heath, an exotic Middle Eastern locale sets the scene for a surprising story of a seasoned traveler who is fooled while trying to protect a fellow tourist. Robert Halsted adds a dollop of humor with an intricate stock transaction and an investor's revenge in ``Hostile Takeover,'' and David Morrell's ``The Partnership'' studies the lengths one con artist will go to in order to get a solid job. Other writers are represented by disappointingly obvious selections, however, like Simon Brett's story of a tour representative who becomes involved in murder (``Playing it Cool'') and Julian Symons's ``How to Trap a Crook,'' which ends in a transparent solution. Also represented here are veterans Robert L. Fish and Donald E. Westlake as well as noir fiction writer Jim Thompson. (July)
Reviewed on: 06/28/1993
Release date: 07/01/1993
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