The collection stretches from O. Henry's 1903 tale of a bank robber who abandons his trade ("A Retrieved Reformation") to Dennis Lehane's unsettling sketch of a post-Gothic southern town and its canine conundrum ("Running Out of Dog," 1999), and brings together authors who at first seem uneasy bedfellows. William Faulkner and Ernest Hemingway jostle for space with Donald Westlake and Stephen Greenleaf; Willa Cather and Flannery O'Conner stare combatively at Sara Paretsky and Sue Grafton. But as one reads along, these potentially tense alliances relax: the boundaries between "modern" and "classic," "pulp" and "literature" evanesce, leaving instead a shimmering web of serendipitous affiliations: O. Henry and Stephen King nod amiably to one another, united by the skill of their devious narrative twists.
Hillerman and Penzler's selections reflect a century-long shift in mystery fiction from an emphasis on an exterior landscape--replete with the tangible artifacts of who, what, where, when, how, why--to a growing interest in the geography of interiority. This landscape thrives on the amorphousness of its own features. In Tom Franklin's "Poachers," for example, the puzzle hardly matters at all: real people, and their endlessly convoluted relationships, do. Three orphaned brothers who live as predators in the swamps of the Gulf Coast, the old widower who loves them, the sheriff who pities them all--who kills two of the boys and blinds a third? We never really know. In any case, Franklin's infinitely shaded nuances of silence and speech matter far more than the violence of the crime itself.
And for those readers who, when all is read and done, still insist that they could have done a much better job of judging, Penzler's disarming editorial shrug serves to remind that any anthology should be approached with equanimity, a touch of resignation, and not a little humor: "There are no scientific instruments that can tell a reader which of Harlan Ellison's two Edgar-winning short stories is better. It is a coin toss, and it can't be anything else. Let's just live with it." Happily, The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century is an extraordinarily rewarding companion. --Kelly Flynn --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Had to get it got my detective class and it was really interesting and great. if you guys love mystery stories go for it, they have different genres.Published 4 months ago by Tanya
Like that "box of chocolates." You never know what you're going to get. But these are well chosen and there are some fabulous stories here by noted authors. Nicely done.Published 5 months ago by P. E. Knopick
read one before bedtime and you'll sleep soundly - actually a good read at any other time of the day, tooPublished 7 months ago by antkar
This was a gift to another person, but he really liked it. I don't read mystery, but this is all he reads. Also, this is one of his favorite authors, so it must be really good. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Lindy reads a lot
I do not know where you are gtting these request but I have done this previously
so I shall do no more
I LOVE THIS BOOK I FIRST SAW IT IN A LIBARY AT MY DAUGHTERS UNIVERSITY SO I BOUGHT IT. THE SHORT STORIES ARE WELL WRITTEN AND FUN TO DISCUSS WITH FRIENDSPublished 7 months ago by L. Gardner
I bought this collection because I saw some of my favorite writers listed: Harlan Ellison, Robert L. Fish, Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake and a few others. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Barbara R. Breger
Not all stories can be correctly said "mystery stories". They are short stories, but good ones. Worth reading, but not too thrilling.Published 9 months ago by Prasenjit Naskar
I don't envy anyone tasked with assembling a book like this. You'd want to be original, but you couldn't skip the best things. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Wombat the Bookworm