The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories: Third Annual Collection

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9780765302359: The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories: Third Annual Collection
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More than 200,000 words of great crime and suspense fiction

Each year, Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg, editors of The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories, have reached farther past the boundaries of the United States to find the very best suspense from the world over. In this third volume of their series they have included stories from Germany, Belgium, and the United Kingdom as well as, of course, a number of fine stories from the U.S.A. Among these tales are winners of the Edgar Award, the Silver Dagger Award of the British Crime Writers, and other major awards in the field.

In addition, here are reports on the field of mystery and crime writing from correspondents in the U.S. (Jon L. Breen), England (Maxim Jakubowski), Canada (Edo Van Belkom), Australia (David Honeybone), and Germany (Thomas Woertche).

Altogether, with nearly 250,000 words of the best short suspense published in 2001, this bounteous volume is, as the Wall Street Journal said of the previous year's compilation, "the best value-for-money of any such anthology."

The A-to-Z of the authors should excite the interest of any mystery reader:
Robert Barnard · Lawrence Block · Jon L. Breen · Wolfgang Burger · Lillian Stewart Carl · Margaret Coel · Max Allan Collins · Bill Crider · Jeffery Deaver · Brendan DuBois · Susanna Gregory · Joseph Hansen · Carolyn G. Hart · Lauren Henderson · Edward D. Hoch · Clark Howard · Tatjana Kruse · Paul Lascaux · Dick Lochte · Peter Lovesey · Mary Jane Maffini · Ed McBain · Val McDermid · Marcia Muller · Joyce Carol Oates · Anne Perry · Nancy Pickard · Bill Pronzini · Ruth Rendell · S. J. Rozan · Billie Rubin · Kristine Kathryn Rusch · Stephan Rykena · David B. Silva · Nancy Springer · Jac. Toes · John Vermeulen · Donald E. Westlake · Carolyn Wheat.

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About the Author:

Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg have edited a number of anthologies, singly and together. Gorman is a Shamus Award winner for his own hard-boiled suspense; Greenberg has been behind numerous successful books, mystery and suspense, science fiction, and fantasy. Ed Gorman lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Martin H. Greenberg lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories: 3
The Year in Mystery and Crime Fiction: 2001Jon L. Breen 
 
 
It has never been so difficult to assign a handy label to the year in mystery fiction. Of course, the specter of September 11 hangs over every attempt to sum up the year. The mystery world reacted to that cataclysm much as did everyone else, with anger, reflection, reassessment, determination, and symbolic acts of community. Despite fears of flying and the possibility of further terrorist attack, Washington, D.C., hosted the Bouchercon as scheduled. What lasting effects, if any, the terrorist acts will have on the narrow world of fictional crime remains to be seen.You could call 2001 the Year of Change, but we're embarked on a century of change in literary delivery systems. Time will tell what the ultimate effect of the electronic revolution will be on book publishing. On the plus side, new technologies give writers, both established and neophyte, new ways to reach their audience. On the downside, writers and other artists must ponder how intellectual property can be protected in a time of rapid change in modes of delivery.The New York publishing mainstream continued to show more interest in the blockbuster and less in the standard bread-and-butter mystery novel. As a partial result, a number of writers whose names are familiar from major publishing lists had new novels published through smaller specialist or regional publishers, among them Taffy Cannon, Shelley Singer, Jeremiah Healy, Les Roberts, Ralph Mclnerny, and Michael Bowen.Vanity (or more politely, subsidy) publishing used to be a sucker play, but with the relatively inexpensive dissemination of e-books and books-on-demand, writers of genuine talent who are frustrated by the difficulty of breaking into mainstream markets are able to go that route much more economically In 2000, I reviewed an author-financed on-demand novel for the first time, Daniel Ferry's Death on Delivery (iUniverse), and found it a thoroughly professional job that would not have been out of place on an established publisher's list. In 2001 came Thomas B. Sawyer's The Sixteenth Man (iUniverse), a novel by a successful television writer that undoubtedly would have found a receptive market in traditional publishing channels if the author had chosen to offer it.This new flood of inexpensively self-driven publications has the same drawback that can be applied to most of the Internet: the lack of editorial intervention. Good newer writers who could use the help of a strong editor aren't getting it. (You could say that best-selling writers with big-moneymultibook contracts aren't getting it either--who would deign to edit a six-hundred-pound gorilla?--but that is a problem for another day.)Change being a constant, now more than ever, I'll call 2001 the Year of the Group Novel. The tradition of multiauthor mysteries goes back to the Detection Club's The Floating Admiral (1931), and there have been several examples since, but never, I think, three in one year as in 2001: Yeats Is Dead (Knopf), edited by Joseph O'Connor, an Elmore Leonard-style crime comedy by a group of Irish writers, mostly non-genre specialists; Naked Came the Phoenix (St. Martin's Minotaur), edited by Marcia Talley, told in turn by a group of prominent female mystery writers; and Natural Suspect (Ballantine), devised by William Bernhardt, the comic serial novel of several legal thriller specialists. All the books benefited charity (Amnesty International, breast cancer research, and the Nature Conservancy, respectively); all make entertaining reading, though none is as ultimately satisfactory as a good novel by a single hand.BEST NOVELS OF THE YEAR 2001The following fifteen were the most impressive of the crime novels I read and reviewed in 2001. The standard disclaimer applies: I don't claim to cover the whole field, but I challenge anyone to name fifteen better.J. G. Ballard, Super-Cannes (Picador USA). Science-fiction great Ballard provides a genuine detective story as well as an incisive view of dark societal trends in the tale of a sinister state-of-the-art industrial park on the French Riviera. (The late Stanley Kubrick might have made a great movie out of it.)William Bernhardt, Murder One (Ballantine). For legal fiction buffs, the series about Oklahoma lawyer Ben Kincaid is one of the best extant, encompassing humor, extended courtroom action, and ingenious plotting.Lawrence Block, Hope to Die (Morrow). Manhattan private eye Matt Scudder's latest adventure will please equally those who admire traditional detection, fiction noir, and good English prose.Ken Bruen, The McDead (Do-Not/Dufour). Another of the author's satirical, minimalist London police novels. Not for every taste, but for me one of the strongest arguments for Brit Noir.Michael Connelly, A Darkness More Than Night (Little, Brown). Two Connelly characters, L.A. cop Harry Bosch and heart-transplant-recipient and former FBI agent Terry McCaleb (of Blood Work [1998]) join forces in a typically complex and enthralling procedural.David Cray, Bad Lawyer (Carroll & Graf/Penzler). A fine specimen of the Big Trial novel from an ostensibly well-known author using a pseudonym. (You might not want to read the jacket copy.)Val Davis, The Return of the Spanish Lady (St. Martin's Minotaur). The best yet in the Nicolette Scott series combines a present-day expedition torecover a World War II Japanese fighter plane with a 1918 reporter's pursuit of a dangerous story. (You must not read the jacket copy!)John Dunning, Two O'Clock Eastern Wartime (Scribner). Too long? Yes. Crazy plot? Sure. But I couldn't leave off my list this evocative World War II-era tale, which offers the second or third best use of a radio background in crime fiction.Evan Hunter and Ed McBain, Candyland (Simon & Schuster). The collaboration of a "straight" novelist with his mystery-writing alter ego is a stunt, to be sure, but a successful one.Val McDermid, Killing the Shadows (St. Martin's Minotaur). Who could resist a novel about a serial killer of authors of serial-killer novels? In an exploration of criminal and creative psychology, McDermid even gives samples of each victim's prose.Joyce Carol Oates (writing as Rosamond Smith), The Barrens (Carroll & Graf/Penzler). In a splendid example of dark suspense, Oates provides a chilling exploration of criminal psychology--and the noncriminal characters are pretty twisted, too.Sara Paretsky, Total Recall (Delacorte). Recovered memory therapy and recollections of the kindertransport figure in one of the best novels featuring Chicago private eye V I. Warshawski.Peter Robinson, Aftermath (Morrow). As the title suggests, most of the action of the latest Alan Banks novel occurs after a particularly grisly serial killer has been captured.Steven Saylor, Last Seen in Massilia (St. Martin's Minotaur). Some series sleuths never let you down, and the ancient Roman Gordianus the Finder is in that number.Laura Wilson, Dying Voices (Bantam). In a second novel, about a young woman trying to solve the delayed-action murder of her long-gone mother, Wilson reasserts her position as a major new talent.SUBGENRESPrivate eyes. Apart from the characters of Block and Paretsky (see the list of fifteen), there were good cases for Parnell Hall's soft-boiled Stanley Hastings in Cozy (Carroll & Graf/Penzler); Ed Gorman's 1950s midwesterner Sam McCain in Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow? (Carroll & Graf); and Gary Phillips's Las Vegas sleuth Martha Chainey (not technically a PI but she acts like one) in Shooter's Point (Kensington). The Comeback of the Year Award goes to mid-twentieth-century shamus Jack LeVine, who returns after a quarter-century absence in Andrew Bergman's Tender Is Le Vine (St. Martin's Minotaur). Returning after a shorter hiatus of seven years was R. D. Rosen's baseball player turned private eye Harvey Blissberg in Dead Ball (Walker).Lawyers. Another famous advocate entered the fiction fray with goodresults: in collaboration with Walt Becker, Robert Shapiro wrote Misconception (Morrow), featuring some intriguing issues related to the abortion debate. Series lawyers in solid form included Linda Fairstein's Manhattan prosecutor Alex Cooper in The Deadhouse (Scribner); Joe L. Hensley's midwestern Don Robak in Robak in Black (St. Martins Minotaur); Jonnie Jacobs's Kali O' Brien in Witness for the Defense (Kensington); and Sheldon Siegel's Mike Daley in Incriminating Evidence (Bantam).Police. Besides being a sound procedural, Jill McGown's Scene of Crime (Ballantine), about the male/female team of Hill and Lloyd, provides as solid an example of classical puzzle plotting as I encountered during the year. H. R. F Keating's Inspector Ghote, who now has enjoyed one of the longest careers among series police, returned in Breaking and Entering (St. Martin's Minotaur). Other cops in notable action included Paula L. Woods's Charlotte Justice in Stormy Weather (Norton); Ian Rankin's John Rebus in The Falls (St. Martin's Minotaur); Bill Crider's Sheriff Dan Rhodes in A Romantic Way to Die (St. Martin's Minotaur); Jan Burke's Frank Harriman (with wife Irene Kelly in a supporting role) in Flight (Simon & Schuster); and P. D. James's Adam Dalgliesh in Death in Holy Orders (Knopf).Historicals. Anna Gilbert's A Morning in Eden (St. Martin's Minotaur) is a charmingly written piece of post-World War I romantic suspense from one of the genre's overlooked masters. Max Allan Collins's The Pearl Harbor Murders (Berkley) made an amateur sleuth of Tarzan creator Edgar Rice Burroughs. Collins's period PI Nate Heller has a look at the Black Dahlia case in the typically well-researched Angel in Black (New American Library). Anne Perry turns her attention to the French Revolution era in the novella A Dish Taken Cold (Carroll & Graf/Penzler). Historical series sleuths in good form included Perry's Thomas Pitt in The Whitechapel Conspiracy (Ballantine); Peter Tremayne's seventh-century Irish Sister Fidelma in Act of Mercy (St. Martin's Minotaur); Laura Joh Rowland's seventeenth-century samurai Sano Ichiro in Black Lotus (St. Martin's Minotaur); Robin Paige's Victorian Lord Charles Sheridan in Death at Epsom Downs (Berkley); and Lindsey Davis's ancient Roman Marcus Didius Falco in Ode to a Banker (Mysterious).Humor and satire. Wisconsin lawyer Michael Bowen departs from his formal detective novels to skewer Hollywood in Screenscam (Poisoned Pen). Straddling humor and history was Ron Goulart's Groucho Marx and the Broadway Murders (St. Martin's Minotaur).Thrillers. The pure thriller is not my usual cup of tea, but conspiring to change my mind were Tess Gerritsen's The Surgeon (Ballantine) and Gayle Lynds's Mesmerized (Pocket). Also impressive was television writer Thomas B. Sawyer's already mentioned The Sixteenth Man (iUniverse).Psychological suspense. Guy Burt's The Hole (Ballantine), a brief and effective novel of a group of students imprisoned by a prankster, was first published in Britain in 1993 and written when the author was a mere eighteen.DeLoris Stanton Forbes's One Man Died on Base (Five Star) follows the game-time thoughts of an aging baseball slugger in a psychological study that is less whodunit or whydunit than whathappened.SHORT STORIESAs the volume in your hand tells you, the mystery short story is alive and well. In the United States, the two venerable digests Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine continue to be the top periodical markets, joined by the slick but infrequent Mary Higgins Clark's Mystery Magazine and a variety of on-line and semipro publications.In Great Britain, a single journal (Crimewave) published both the shortstory Dagger winner and two of the other four nominees. Editor Andy Cox's ambitions are modest: "Crimewave's mission is nothing less than the total re-creation of crime fiction. We don't do cosy, we don't do hardboiled, we don't do noir ... what we do is something entirely different to whatever you've read before. People who have never read crime are about to discover a new universe of fiction in which morality is real but fluid, in which story is central but skewed, in which the traditions of the genre are neither dumped nor subverted, but rather viewed through fresh eyes from a new hill. Meanwhile, lifelong crime fans will be reminded why they turned to crime in the first place: for solidly-made, honest-to-life stories that are only the starting point for a new fiction in which writers make a contract with the reader to provide real plots with real conclusions, not mere vignettes--but who then exploit loopholes and sub-clauses to turn your expectations inside out. Self-indulgent arty-fartiness is out, and so is lazy conservatism; craftsmanship is in, as the only platform strong enough to launch illimitable imagination. In short, Crimewave is a celebration of what crime fiction can be, when it stops apologizing for itself, censoring itself, limiting itself, feeling sorry for itself. Our writers are in love with crime fiction's history, and fiercely proud of its future. Crimewave is published twice a year in an attractive, creatively designed book format, with color matte laminated covers." (Single copies $12; four-issue subscription $40; www.ttapress.com.)Turning to books, a single separately published short, Mark Twain's 1876 story A Murder, a Mystery, and a Marriage (Norton), in book form for the first time, was one of the major scholarly events of the year. Also for the permanent library was The Selected Stories of Patricia Highsmith (Norton), an omnibus containing five Highsmith collections: The Animal-Lover's Book of Beastly Murder, Little Tales of Misogyny, Slowly, Slowly in the Wind, The Black House, and Mermaids on the Golf Course.Thanks mainly to specialist publishers but with some help from the majors, single-author collections continued to come forth at an unprecedentedrate. Among the best of the year from Crippen & Landru were Joe Gores's Stakeout on Page Street and Other DKA Files; Ross Macdonald's Strangers in Town: Three Newly Discovered Stories, edited by Tom Nolan; and Edward D. Hoch's The Old Spies Club and Other Intrigues of Rand. Highlights from Five Star included Edward Wellen's Perps, Ed Gorman's Such a Good Girl and Other Crime Stories, and John Lutz's The Nudger Dilemmas. From elsewhere came Frederic Forsyth's The Veteran (St. Martin's) and Ruth Rendell's Piranha to Scurfy and Other Stories (Crown). Numerical champ was Max Allan Collins, who had one collection from Crippen & Landru (Kisses of Death: A Nathan Heller Casebook) and two from Five Star (Blue Christmas and Other Holiday Homicides and Murder--His and Hers, the latter in collaboration with wife Barbara Collins).Anthologists of original stories are not running out of fresh ideas. Among the year's themes w...

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