cover image The Best Mystery Stories of the Year 2021

The Best Mystery Stories of the Year 2021

Edited by Lee Child. Mysterious, $25.95 (450p) ISBN 978-1-61316-238-5

The 20 entries in this superior anthology exhibit the storytelling gifts of authors both familiar and not. In David Morrell’s “Requiem for a Homecoming,” a masterpiece of suspense, two college friends reunite at the scene of a decades-old unsolved murder at their campus’s library in an effort to finally find the truth. Joyce Carol Oates takes readers on an unsettling journey inside the mind of a murderer in “Parole Hearing, California Institution for Women, Chino, CA,” which imagines the thoughts of a fictional disciple of Charles Manson as she appears before a parole board. David Marcum’s “The Adventure of the Home Office Baby,” a convincing Sherlock Holmes pastiche, masters the challenge of centering its plot on espionage rather than homicide. Members of a Manhattan jury become crime victims in Jacqueline Freimor’s ironic and moving “That Which Is True.” In Sue Grafton’s tense “If You Want Something Done Right,” an unpublished story found after her death, a wife is horrified to find that her purse, containing notes about doing away with her husband, has fallen into the wrong hands. This volume is a must for mystery aficionados. (Sept.)