, . . Berkley Prime Crime, $23.95 (352pp) ISBN 978-0-425-19035-7

When people are pushed to their absolute limit, what might they do? Absolutely anything seems to be the answer as demonstrated in these 19 original stories from members of the Mystery Writers of America. MWA has produced some outstanding anthologies, and while this one doesn't rank with the best, there are a few diamonds on display. The late Henry Slesar's (1927–2002) tale, "The Day of the 31st," reminds us of how good a writer he was, as a husband seeks vengeance on his wife's killer. Charlotte Hinger's "Any Old Mother," about a woman scamming mothers who gave up a child for adoption, is a crafty exercise in consequences. Elizabeth Foxwell's "No Man's Land" gives a glimpse of the tough gals who drove ambulances in France in WWII and demonstrates how they could handle just about anything thrown their way. Elaine Viets's "Red Meat" tells of a wife who gives her husband a perfect gift for his 60th birthday—a beautiful woman who'll whip him back into shape. Brendan DuBois's "Her Last Gift" shows how a potter molds a unique present for the man she blames for her husband's death. A woman investigates the accidental death of her best friend in Elaine Togneri's "Guardian Angel" and makes a life-changing discovery. Block provides an introduction but no story. Other contributors include Rhys Bowen, Marcia Talley and Jeremiah Healy. (July 1)