cover image Dangerous Ways: Selected Mysteries

Dangerous Ways: Selected Mysteries

Jack Vance. Subterranean (, $45 (560p) ISBN 978-1-59606-359-4

Fans of F&SF Grand Master Vance will best appreciate these three subpar crime novels. The opener, The Deadly Isles (1969), which concerns a series of murders tied to an affluent San Francisco family, fails to cohere, despite a promising premise: one family member, Luke Royce, survives an attempt on his life in Tahiti, unbeknownst to his would-be assassin, and goes undercover to discover the assassin's motive. In the Edgar-winning The Man in the Cage (1960), the best of the three, Darrell Hutson travels to Tangier to trace his missing brother, Noel, who may have been tied up with gunrunners and drug dealers. Bad Ronald (1973) is a less than plausible account of a repellent murderer who's bad from start to finish with no background to explain his pathology. Still, some will agree with editors Terry Dowling and Jonathan Strahan, who provide an introduction to this reprint collection, that Vance's mystery fiction deserves a wider readership. (May)