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Best known today as a playwright, Chekhov (1860-1904) was also a prolific and accomplished writer of short fiction, as shown by this collection of 42 stories, most of which have previously been unavailable in English translation. As Sekirin notes in the preface, these stories appeared in a variety of periodicals "and until now have managed to escape the notice of contemporary editors and translators." Though billed as featuring crime and suspense, the volume has a broad range, including morality tales and stories of both dark and puckish humor. In the amusingly macabre "A Night of Horror," a man finds a coffin in his apartment. "Task," about a college student and bad checks, has a thoroughly modern ring. "A Crime: A Double Murder Case" is classic noir. Not all the selections shine, but enough do that the collection should appeal to more than just Chekhov fanatics. (Aug.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.