cover image Guilty Creatures: A Menagerie of Mysteries

Guilty Creatures: A Menagerie of Mysteries

Edited by Martin Edwards. Poisoned Pen, $14.99 trade paper (272p) ISBN 978-1-4642-1584-1

The 14 stories in this excellent reprint anthology from Edwards (Settling Scores: Sporting Mysteries) feature animals in a variety of roles, including killer, witness, and source of clues. One highlight is G.K. Chesterton’s “The Oracle of the Dog,” in which evidence provided by a retriever helps Father Brown solve a baffling impossible murder. In Edgar Wallace’s intriguing “The Man Who Hated Earthworms,” his vigilante protagonists, the Four Just Men, must figure out why a golfing acquaintance of one of their members stopped to kill earthworms with extreme fury every time he spotted one. Wallace’s daughter, Penelope Wallace, provides the most chilling selection: “The Man Who Loved Animals,” in which a woman enlists the help of an old man known for being able to calm even the most vicious canine. Christianna Brand’s series sleuth, Inspector Cockrill, is on the case in “The Hornet’s Nest,” another exemplar of the subtle but fair clueing Brand made her trademark in which both insects and mollusks play a part in the solution. Edwards succeeds again in sharing quality classic short mysteries with a common theme. This is another winner from the British Library Crime Classics series. (June)