cover image Year's Best Mystery and Suspense Stories 1988

Year's Best Mystery and Suspense Stories 1988

. Walker & Company, $17.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-8027-1050-5

The latest in this series is a mixed bag of 14 stories; readers should find at least half of them enjoyable, a higher pleasure-ratio than usual. Among the best are Robert Barnard's ``The Woman in the Wardrobe,'' about a double life with a twist ending; Harlan Ellison's ``Soft Monkey,'' with vivid action and modern pathos; Brian Garfield's ``King's X,'' involving an elegant scam; Paula Gosling's ``Mr. Felix,'' about an over-the-hill jewel thief with a lot of life still in him; and Joyce Harrington's ``The Au Pair Girl,'' a reverse spin off Rebecca. The best are Bill Pronzini's ``Stacked Deck,'' with Deighan (not Nameless) in violent, snappy revenge against the Mob, and Julian Symons's ``Has Anybody Here Seen Me?'', a psychological puzzler with a smashing surprise ending. Readers should beware Isaac Asimov's pedantic ``The Stamp,'' and Eric D. Heideman's ``Roger, Mr. Whilkie,'' which is badly written (``the muggy landscape'') and silly. Hoch's introduction is concise and thoughtful. (October)