35 of 37 people found the following review helpful
A wonderful mix of stories,
This review is from: The Best American Mystery Stories 2011 (Paperback)
I've been reading more mysteries lately, after a long hiatus, and was pleased to get a chance to review the new edition of Best American Mystery Stories. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, given that my previous experience of mystery short stories was mostly limited to reading a few issues of Ellery Queen back in high school. I was pleased, though, to find a much wider range of styles and settings than I remember from the magazine. I now have a whole list of interesting authors to check out, each of whom gave me an entirely different reading experience.
I had three overwhelming favorites in the anthology. First was "The Stars Are Falling," by Joe R. Lansdale, a stylish post-World War One historical with the feel of a ghost story, though there is no ghost, only ghostly memories and a story learned backwards. It's not so much about a mystery solved, but the narrator's gradual discovery that there is a mystery, and then putting together the pieces to discover what it is.
Charles McCarry's "The End of the String" is a spy story, reminiscent of le Carré, with a richly-evoked African setting.
S. J. Rozan's "Chin Yong-Yun Takes a Case" is by the author of the Lydia Chin and Bill Smith series of novels--but in this story, it's Lydia Chin's mother, bunions and all, who plays detective and solves a case.
Though I much prefer reading novels to short stories, I'm still glad I read the anthology, because they gave me a good sampling of the mystery genre as it is today. I was especially pleased to find stories set in countries other than the United States, and featuring more diverse characters. My only wish is that there had been more stories by women authors, especially if they were as much fun as Rozan's.