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The Best American Mystery Stories 2010 Paperback – September 28, 2010


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Product Details

  • Series: Best American
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Original edition (September 28, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547237464
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547237466
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.5 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #166,204 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. The 20 short stories in the 14th edition of this "best of" series offer a wider variety than some of its predecessors. Sherlockians who have not yet encountered Lyndsay Faye will be more than pleased by her pastiche, "The Case of Colonel Warburton's Madness," which allows the sleuth to solve the mystery from an armchair. Jay Brandon makes clever use of his research into the history of San Antonio in "A Jury of His Peers," which centers on the Mexican Army's expulsion of all of the city's attorneys in 1842. Lynda Leidiger's "Tell Me" movingly portrays the horrific aftermath of a rape and attempted murder. Doug Alleyn's "An Early Christmas" proves that excellent traditional whodunits, which have been underrepresented in recent years, are still being written. Other contributors include Dennis Lehane, Phillip Margolin, and Jon Land. While this volume contains relatively few household names, the quality certainly doesn't suffer as a result.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

"This collection is sure to please mystery fans as well as those who enjoy short stories"--Library Journal
"The 20 short stories in the 14th edition of this “best of” series offer a wider variety than some of its predecessors...While this volume contains relatively few household names, the quality certainly doesn’t suffer as a result."--Publishers Weekly, STARRED review 
"Penzler’s foreword...in favor of an eclectic mix of tales that exhibit crime in all its varieties in every corner of the world—and then some."--Kirkus Reviews

Customer Reviews

I definitely recommend this book for fans of the genre.
Authentic Self
This collection of short stories is part of a series called The Best American Series edited by Otto Penzler.
J. Lesley
I thought most of these stories were pretty bad - boring - and trying too hard to be "art."
K. Franklin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 22 people found the following review helpful By J. Lesley TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 16, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
This collection of short stories is part of a series called The Best American Series edited by Otto Penzler. Penzler and others narrowed the submissions down to fifty and they passed those along to the guest editor for the 2010 edition, Lee Child. Anyone familiar with either of those two names will pick this book up expecting to be thoroughly entertained. What I had also hoped for was to find some new authors whose work I had not read before. I'm always trying to add new authors to my list of favorites. This book certainly lived up to my expectations.

There are twenty stories here that cover a wide range of styles and subject matter. The authors included are as follows; Gary Alexander, R. A. Allen, Doug Allyn, Mary Stewart Atwell, Matt Bell, Jay Brandon, Phyllis Cohen, John Dufresne, Lyndsay Faye, Gar Anthony Haywood, Jon Land, Dennis Lehane, Lynda Leidiger, Phillip Margolin, Chris Muessig, Albert Tucher, Kurt Vonnegut, Joseph Wallace, Mike Wiecek, and Ryan Zimmerman. As is always true with any collection of short stories, some of these appealed to me more than others, although I will say that the overall quality was very good. These are very short descriptions of seven of my favorites.

Doug Allyn - AN EARLY CHRISTMAS - police procedural - an attorney's car goes off the road and he is killed when it burns. Evidence at the scene indicates murder. The victim's soon-to-be ex-wife can't seem to help the detectives but she does seem to be hiding some information. There are many more books written by this author and I look forward to exploring them.

Mat Bell - DREDGE - A middle aged man finds the body of a murdered young woman floating in the pond. He "rescues" her and puts her in his freezer. This story had my hair standing on end.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"The Best American Mystery Stories 2010" should be titled "The Best American Crime Fiction stories, 2010", as there are few Mysteries at all here.

Most of the stories are flat out crime fiction, where what we see is a horrible violent crime usually told from the perspective of the perpetrators. We know Whodunnit, Howdunnit and often Whydunnit, there's little or no mystery.

And of course, that's my issue here- in my humble opinion, a "Mystery" story has one... a "mystery" that is. I thus disagree with the Editor here, he claims a "Mystery" includes any story in which a crime occurs. He particularly likes psychological "Whydunnits".

The Editor also gives a little sneer at "what mostly passes for detective stories these days" with "an amateur who has taken time off from his or her primary occupation of cooking, gardening, knitting, hairdressing or shopping." Personally, although I am a huge fan of Nero Wolfe (who clearly wouldn't get into this collection), I enjoy those kinds of mysteries myself.

Well, to be far, the Editor makes his selection bias very clear in his Foreword- assuming you have a chance to read his Foreword first...which you wouldn't if you bought the book here. So, thus my review.

Many of the crime stories here are also quite brutal and violent. Be warned.

There are some stories I liked:
"The Case of Colonel Warburton's Madness" a quite good entry into the Holmes pastiche sub-genre. I suggest Holmes fans take a look at Lyndsay Faye's other writings.

"A Jury of His Peers" is an excellent historical mystery, set in the period right after Texas Independence.

"An Early Christmas" is a good solid Police Procedural.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Betty L. Dravis VINE VOICE on December 2, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm very pleased with The Best American Mystery Stories 2010 (The Best American Series (R)). I do so-oo enjoy short stories at certain times, times when I might get interrupted a lot. And this year this book arrived at the perfect time. I was halfway finished with it when I went out of town a few days for Thanksgiving.

Since the main reason I enjoy short stories is that I can usually finish one in one or two "sittings," this was the perfect book to take with me. As it worked out, there were times when many family members traipsed through my daughter's home and then other times when we were alone for hours. Those conditions made the perfect climate to read these delightful little mysterious tales of crime. I can't believe how perfect it worked out. I was on the last story when we left for my return trip home and since her daughter accompanied us back, while they jabbered, I sat back and read--which made the drive seem much shorter. As good luck would have it, I finished the final story, "Blood and Dirt" by Ryan Zimmerman, when we were two blocks from my home.

Now on with my review: As other reviewers have told you, this book is part of a series called The Best American Series edited by Otto Penzler. He and others narrowed the submissions down to fifty and then passed those along to, Lee Child, the guest editor for this 2010 edition; he in turn, narrowed it to twenty. Since I thrive on the works of Lee Child, acclaimed author of the "Jack Reacher" series, and Otto Penzler, famous editor of mystery fiction in the United States and proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City, I suspected this book would be chock full of chills and thrills.
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