The first 50 pages of this giant volume are packed with valuable and fascinating material—and you haven't even gotten to the stories yet. Jon L. Breen's roundup of the year 2000 in mystery and crime fiction is a deft and compact survey that manages to be both personal and wide-ranging. Edward D. Hoch's "yearbook" is equally idiosyncratic as well as most useful, while reports from such foreign parts as Great Britain, Australia, Canada, Germany and the Republic of Mystery Fandom are fascinating. As for the stories (41 different entries from 35 writers, plus a Pete Hamill New Yorker
profile of Evan Hunter, which seems a bit out of place), they literally provide something for every mystery taste. There are double helpings from Kristine Kathryn Rusch (now writing a fine series as Kris Nelscott), as well as from Brendan DuBois, Clark Howard, Mat Coward, Edward D. Hoch and Jan Burke. Other fine writers—from Doug Allyn to S.J. Rozan—have standout single stories. "The Sleeping Detective," by Gary Phillips, could well stand as a perfect example of the pleasures to be found by reading (if not carrying around in a backpack) this weighty second annual collection from two smart and hard-working editors. Phillips puts his Los Angeles detective and donut shop owner Ivan Monk into a waking dream that manages to incorporate so many other mystery films, novels, TV and radio shows that it should be part of a test to see how deep your genre knowledge goes. (Dec. 18)
Forecast:An improvement over last year's selection, this is excellent value for the money. Crime aficionados will want both this volume and the rival
Best American Mystery Stories 2001 (Forecasts, Sept. 10).