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The Best American Mystery Stories 2012 (The Best American Series) Paperback – October 2, 2012


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"Lucky Alan" by Jonathan Lethem
In Lethem's third collection of stories you will find how humor and poignancy work in harmony, humans strive desperately for connection, and words find themselves misaligned to deeds. See more
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 393 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (October 2, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0547553986
  • ISBN-13: 978-0547553986
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (100 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #604,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

OTTO PENZLER is a renowned mystery editor, publisher, columnist, and owner of New York's The Mysterious Bookshop, the oldest and largest bookstores solely dedicated to mystery fiction. He  has edited more than fifty crime-fiction anthologies.

Customer Reviews

I am not sure I will finish reading the book.
Sherry
Some were good short stories, some were not but it is not a collection of mysteries.
Bradley W. Gordon
I recommend this book to readers who especially enjoy mystery stories.
Serra55

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

38 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Karen B on November 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I find that this book is very well put together and I respect the opinion of the writers that selected the works that are in the book. Though I do not find all of them to my taste...I find that they are a fine representation of the range of mystery writing.
I find the book to hold my interest very well and I some times forget the time when I am reading on of the stories.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Jan Strnad on March 19, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This was a pretty good collection of stories. As with any anthology, it contains stories that I like better than others.

I wonder if I'm out of touch with what a short story is these days.

I was schooled on the short stories of Saki (H. H. Munro) and Chekhov and O. Henry (William Porter), stories that had a clear point, often a twist (but not always), and which were, well, SHORT. You could tell that you were reading a short story, even if you didn't know the word count, solely on the compactness of the writing. In this and other anthologies I've read lately, a good number of the stories seem to be written with the pace of a novel, and the stories stretch out for ten, twenty, thirty pages.

Certainly the short stories of my youth weren't this way. The "Year's Best S-F" collections, author collections, work by Bradbury, Bloch, Matheson, Vonnegut...they didn't go on and on and then leave you wondering, "What was that about?"

Not every story in this anthology fits this description, and as I said, it's a pretty good collection. I would expect to be blown away by an anthology with such a pedigree, however, and I wasn't. This is one of those cases when I'd like a "3.5 stars" rating.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Duane Schneider on June 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The enjoyment you get from this book will depend a lot on the baggage you bring to it. First: expectations. What do you expect a mystery story to be or do? I came in anticipating whodunits with a corpse, a gumshoe, and a list of possible suspects. Maybe that's hard to accomplish in the short story form. Series editor Otto Penzler's nebulous definition of a "mystery" story sounds more like a product disclaimer than a statement of faith. Basically, Penzler contends that any story containing even a whiff of a crime fits the bill. Thus you get something like Thomas McGuane's "The Good Samaritan" where the long con art theft is almost a sidenote to the piece's main themes. Personally, I'm fine with this looser definition since I felt the strongest stories in the collection were the ones that weren't trying to fit any set genre conventions. Second: literary tastes. To my mind, the "New Yorker" stories by McGuane and Mary Gaitskill stood in stark contrast to the more conventional genre exercises by the likes of Tom Andes, Joe Donnelly, Harry Shannon, and T. Jefferson Parker. Some readers will pick up this anthology wanting the standard genre stuff. Personally I felt it was harmed by its proximity to the McGuane and Gaitskill stories that don't quite fit the mold. Gaitskill's story, "The Other Place," was the true standout of the collection. It is a story devoid of any true crimes or mysteries, though full of dark impulses, imagined crimes, and almost-crimes. Effortlessly Gaitskill creates scenes that cause the reader's pulse to quicken--a teen gazing in a sleeping girl's window, a hitchhiker and a cancer victim on a quiet stretch of road. What's amazing about the story is the way Gaitskill is able to articulate broad themes of violence and sexuality in such a compressed manner. Her story is so complex, so resonant, that it causes other stories in the collection to seem tired or one-dimensional by comparison.
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54 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Bradley W. Gordon on December 5, 2012
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There wasn't but one mystery in the bunch. Some were good short stories, some were not but it is not a collection of mysteries.
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19 of 25 people found the following review helpful By A. Hyde on October 25, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I love these collections. Moreover, the authors who are chosen as editors are often favorites of mine, and I enjoy their insights on the process they go through. I highly recommend any or all of these yearly collections.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Vickie Volchok on March 9, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Most stories about 20 pages of mystery. I am taking course where this is the mandatory reading material. I am looking forward to the group discussions on the various stories.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By nancy shumaker on February 11, 2013
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These short stories mysteries are very good, I am enjoying every one.. Just the right length and so very different.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tymber Dalton on January 24, 2013
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Got for Hubby for Christmas present (but I'll be reading it to). He loves it. I can't wait until he's done with it so I can get my hands on it. LOL
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The Best American Mystery Stories 2012 (The Best American Series)
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