The Oxford Book of American Detective Stories

The Oxford Book of American Detective Stories

by Tony Hillerman
     
 

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Edgar Allan Poe launched the detective story in 1841, as a highbrow form of entertainment, a puzzle to be solved by a rational sifting of clues. But from the beginning, American writers worked important changes into Poe's basic formula, especially in language and locale. This brilliant anthology brings together 34 tales that illuminate both the evolution of crime

Overview

Edgar Allan Poe launched the detective story in 1841, as a highbrow form of entertainment, a puzzle to be solved by a rational sifting of clues. But from the beginning, American writers worked important changes into Poe's basic formula, especially in language and locale. This brilliant anthology brings together 34 tales that illuminate both the evolution of crime fiction in the U.S. and America's unique contribution to this highly popular genre.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Hillerman, author of the Joe Leaphorn mysteries, and Herbert, editor of The Oxford Companion to Crime and Mystery Writing, trace this short-story genre from its beginnings in the hands of Edgar Allen Poe through its development by the likes of Erle Stanley Gardner, Mary Roberts Rinehart and Anthony Boucher to its current practice by such masters as Marcia Muller. Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," which established a great many of the whodunit conventions, is indispensable to such an overview. Raymond Chandler's "I'll be Waiting" emits a doom-laden atmosphere right from the first line; William Faulkner shows unexpected economy of language-and a transparent plot-in "An Error in Chemistry." Ed McBain scores high marks in "Small Homicide," in which the tiny details of a baby's untimely death resonate uncomfortably. As represented in this competent, unstartling collection, Linda Barnes ("Lucky Penny") easily outsasses Sue Grafton ("The Parker Shotgun"). Hillerman makes a solid appearance with "Chee's Witch," and in "Benny's Space" Muller captures the full subtle force of her novel-length vision. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
Though Hillerman's introduction notes his impatience with "the rules" of the detective story's Golden Age, this magisterial selection of 34 stories is remarkably evenhanded, proceeding from Poe to Ross Macdonald and Rex Stout with scarcely a notable omission (except for Dashiell Hammett, for copyright reasons). The emphasis here is on familiar items, though work by less well-known writers like Richard Sale and Robert Leslie Bellem provide welcome variety. The problem comes in the last hundred pages—all the room the editors leave for the past 30 years. The stories by Bill Pronzini, Edward D. Hoch, Linda Barnes, Sue Grafton, Marcia Muller, and editor Hillerman are mostly exemplary; but other recent masters of the short story—like Loren D. Estleman and Ed Gorman and Lawrence Block—must wonder why they weren't included when historical curios by Anna Katherine Green and Arthur B. Reeve were.

The anthology as museum, with Hillerman and Herbert as suave a pair of curators as you could wish.

From the Publisher
"Certain to be the standard anthology of American detective stories for years to come."—Edward D. Hoch, editor of The Year's Best Mystery and Suspense Stories

"The Oxford Book of American Detective Stories is indispensable to anyone interested in the form."—Robert B. Parker, creator of the Boston private-eye, Spenser

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780195117929
Publisher:
Oxford University Press, USA
Publication date:
12/11/1997
Pages:
704
Product dimensions:
5.30(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.60(d)

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Meet the Author

About the Editors:
Tony Hillerman, one of America's leading mystery novelists, was named a Grand Master by the Mystery Writers of America. He is the creator of the Joe Leaphorn and Jim Chee characters, and his books include Dance Hall of the Dead, A Thief of Time, and Talking God. Rosemary Herbert writes a mystery book review column for the Boston Herald. She is the author of The Fatal Art of Entertainment: Interviews With Mystery Writers and is editor-in-chief of the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Crime and Mystery Writing.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Date of Birth:
May 27, 1925
Date of Death:
October 26, 2008
Place of Birth:
Sacred Heart, Oklahoma
Place of Death:
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Education:
B.A., University of Oklahoma, 1946; M.A., University of New Mexico, 1966
Website:
http://tonyhillermanbooks.com

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