cover image Small Felonies: Fifty Mystery Short Shorts

Small Felonies: Fifty Mystery Short Shorts

Bill Pronzini. St. Martin's Press, $0 (269pp) ISBN 978-0-312-02283-9

This is a collection of 50 very short, very good crime stories. Pronzini ( Deadfall, Shackles) here presents a variety of scenarios, written from a wide range of viewpoints and in a number of stylesusing no more than a few pages in each case. In settings ranging from a wealthy San Francisco suburb to Cricklewood, Mont., from the Lower East Side of Manhattan to a cantina in Mexico, the volume is populated by blackmailers and murderers, thugs and muggers, vigilantes and PIs, shoplifters and con-men, finks, cops, double-crossers, psychotic children, star-crossed lovers, practical-jokers and lynch mobs. The author gleefully displays his knowledge of crime from many sides of the law, is able to surprise with marvelous, triple-cross O. Henry-esque twists and, at times, holds forth with a wild sense of humor. There are more stand-outs than it is possible to enumerate; readerswhether they favor genteel, English manor-style murder or hardboiled mayhemwill find plenty to enjoy. (Dec)