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The Best American Mystery Stories 1998

Overview

This year's guest editor, Sue Grafton, has put together a wonderfully diverse collection of stories to surprise and satisfy all fans of the genre. In this volume, best-selling writers such as Mary Higgins Clark, Walter Mosley, Lawrence Block, Jay McInerney, and Donald E. Westlake stand alongside an impressive array of new talent. As Grafton writes in her introduction, "Nowhere is iniquity, wrongdoing, and reparation more satisfying to behold than in the well-crafted yarns spun by the writers represented here." ...

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Overview

This year's guest editor, Sue Grafton, has put together a wonderfully diverse collection of stories to surprise and satisfy all fans of the genre. In this volume, best-selling writers such as Mary Higgins Clark, Walter Mosley, Lawrence Block, Jay McInerney, and Donald E. Westlake stand alongside an impressive array of new talent. As Grafton writes in her introduction, "Nowhere is iniquity, wrongdoing, and reparation more satisfying to behold than in the well-crafted yarns spun by the writers represented here." Already a bestseller in its first year, this year's collection of The Best American Mystery Stories promises to keep readers intrigued and coming back for more.

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Editorial Reviews

Nikki Amdur
Broad in scope and crackling with tension. The masters of the genre put in peerless performances. . .The lesser names also provide their share of surprises. -- Entertainment Weekly
Kirkus Reviews
Series editor Otto Penzler, who picked the 50 stories from which Grafton culled the 20 in this volume, has ranged far afield in search of what Grafton aptly calls crime stories, and the rewards are substantial. Scott Bartels's matter-of-fact heroin idyll first appeared in Tamaqua, Merrill Joan Gerber's tale of an ominously pesky fellow-alumnus in Chattahoochee Review, Steve Yarbrough's sorrowful rural reminiscence in 'Missouri Review,' Dave Shaw's droll confession of a chronic slip-and-fall artist in South Dakota Review, Joyce Carol Oates' tormented memoir of a faithless mother in Kenyon Review. Of the entries from more expected sources, the standouts are Stuart Kaminsky's unexpectedly bleak quest for a missing wife, Peter Robinson's deceptively mellowed portrait of two old ladies sharing a cottage, and first-timer David Ballard's remarkably assured spin on Roald Dahl's classic "Man from the South"—-as well as stories by Lawrence Block, John Lutz, and Donald E. Westlake that can also be found in Ed Gorman's rival The Year's 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories. Not the comprehensive yearbook of the genre Gorman produces, but this year, at least, a more rewarding collection of stories.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780395835852
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/30/1998
  • Series: Best American Mystery Stories Series
  • Edition description: Older Edition
  • Pages: 368
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.25 (h) x 0.56 (d)

Meet 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.

Biography

Sue Grafton is published in 28 countries and 26 languages -- including Estonian, Bulgarian, and Indonesian. She's an international bestseller with a readership in the millions. She's a writer who believes in the form that she has chosen to mine: "The mystery novel offers a world in which justice is served. Maybe not in a court of law," she has said, "but people do get their just desserts." And like Raymond Chandler and Ross Macdonald, Robert Parker and the John D. MacDonald—the best of her breed—she has earned new respect for that form. Her readers appreciate her buoyant style, her eye for detail, her deft hand with character, her acute social observances, and her abundant storytelling talents.

But who is the real Sue Grafton? Many of her readers think she is simply a version of her character and alter ego Kinsey Millhone. Here are Kinsey's own words in the early pages of N Is for Noose:

"So there I was barreling down the highway in search of employment and not at all fussy about what kind of work I'd take. I wanted distraction. I wanted some money, escape, anything to keep my mind off the subject of Robert Deitz. I'm not good at good-byes. I've suffered way too many in my day and I don't like the sensation. On the other hand, I'm not that good at relationships. Get close to someone and the next thing you know, you've given them the power to wound, betray, irritate, abandon you, or bore you senseless. My general policy is to keep my distance, thus avoiding a lot of unruly emotion. In psychiatric circles, there are names for people like me."

Those are sentiments that hit home for Grafton's readers. And she has said that Kinsey is herself, only younger, smarter, and thinner. But are they an apt description of Kinsey's creator? Well, she's been married to Steve Humphrey for more than twenty years. She has three kids and two grandkids. She loves cats, gardens, and good cuisine—not quite the nature-hating, fast-food loving Millhone. So: readers and reviewers beware. Never assume the author is the character in the book. Sue, who has a home in Montecito, California ("Santa Theresa") and another in Louisville, the city in which she was born and raised, is only in her imagination Kinsey Millhone -- but what a splendid imagination it is.

Biography from author website

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    1. Hometown:
      Montecito, California and Louisville, Kentucky
    1. Date of Birth:
      April 24, 1940
    2. Place of Birth:
      Louisville, Kentucky
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English, University of Louisville, 1961
    2. Website:

Table of Contents

Foreword
Introduction
Child Support 1
Swear Not by the Moon 17
Keller on the Spot 39
The Man Next Door 58
This Is a Voice from Your Past 84
The Old Spies Club 96
Beyond Dog 113
Find Miriam 134
Secrets 152
The Adventure of the Giant Rat of Sumatra 163
Night Crawlers 179
Prayer for Judgment 200
Con Doctor 214
Black Dog 224
Faithless 238
The Two Ladies of Rose Cottage 262
Twelve Days Out of Traction 277
The Power of Suggestion 284
Take It Away 299
The Rest of Her Life 309
Contributors' Notes 333
Other Distinguished Mystery Stories of 1997 344
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