The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories

The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories

4.5 2
by Ed Gorman

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More than 200,000 words of great crime and suspense fiction

Each year, Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg, editors of The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories, have reached farther past the boundaries of the United States to find the very best suspense from the world over. In this third volume of their series they have included stories from


More than 200,000 words of great crime and suspense fiction

Each year, Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg, editors of The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories, have reached farther past the boundaries of the United States to find the very best suspense from the world over. In this third volume of their series they have included stories from Germany, Belgium, and the United Kingdom as well as, of course, a number of fine stories from the U.S.A. Among these tales are winners of the Edgar Award, the Silver Dagger Award of the British Crime Writers, and other major awards in the field.

In addition, here are reports on the field of mystery and crime writing from correspondents in the U.S. (Jon L. Breen), England (Maxim Jakubowski), Canada (Edo Van Belkom), Australia (David Honeybone), and Germany (Thomas Woertche).

Altogether, with nearly 250,000 words of the best short suspense published in 2001, this bounteous volume is, as the Wall Street Journal said of the previous year's compilation, "the best value-for-money of any such anthology."

The A-to-Z of the authors should excite the interest of any mystery reader:
Robert Barnard • Lawrence Block • Jon L. Breen • Wolfgang Burger • Lillian Stewart Carl • Margaret Coel • Max Allan Collins • Bill Crider • Jeffery Deaver • Brendan DuBois • Susanna Gregory • Joseph Hansen • Carolyn G. Hart • Lauren Henderson • Edward D. Hoch • Clark Howard • Tatjana Kruse • Paul Lascaux • Dick Lochte • Peter Lovesey • Mary Jane Maffini • Ed McBain • Val McDermid • Marcia Muller • Joyce Carol Oates • Anne Perry • Nancy Pickard • Bill Pronzini • Ruth Rendell • S. J. Rozan • Billie Rubin • Kristine Kathryn Rusch • Stephan Rykena • David B. Silva • Nancy Springer • Jac. Toes • John Vermeulen • Donald E. Westlake • Carolyn Wheat.

Editorial Reviews

Internet Book Watch
Just a few years ago, if anyone asked me if I enjoyed short stories, I would have responded with show me the character's depth or where's the plot. However, an E-mail cyber pal asked me if I read everything about a detective I had said was one of my favorites. My knee jerk response was yes, but that was not true because the character had appeared in a few anthologies. I decided to try an Ed Gorman edited anthology that included the sleuth and am now hooked for life. I can leisurely enjoy reading superb stories a few tales a night instead of my usual obsession to complete a novel (or two) in one sitting. I also meet new authors and characters in typically twenty to thirty pages, which sends me hustling to find other works by them. Mr. Gorman is much more than just an editor-writer. He is one of the grandmasters of putting together the right combination of stories into a collection that hook fans to want more works from his contributors. His latest effort The World's Finest Mystery And Crime Stories is as usual an excellent book that reads like an honor roll of the genre with such international notables as Block, McBain, Rankin, Hoch, and Oates, etc. There are forty entries varying in quality, but none are poor as Mr. Gorman always keeps the level of performance at the highest bars. The stories have an international flavor, varying in time and place. Jon L. Breen also provides an interesting perspective into what occurred to the genre in 1999. This collection is a winner by merit of the strong contributions.
—Internet Book Watch
From the Publisher

“Something for every mystery taste. An excellent value for the money.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“The first 50 pages of this giant volume are packed with valuable and fascinating material--and you haven't even gotten to the stories yet. . . . As for the stories, they literally provide something for every mystery taste.” —Publishers Weekly (starred review) on The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories: Second Annual Collection

“Veteran anthologists Gorman and Greenberg have pulled out all the stops in an ambitious attempt to produce the definitive yearbook of the short mystery. . . . Indeed the biggest mystery is how a single year could have produced a bumper crop of so many outstanding tales.” —Kirkus Reviews on The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories: Second Annual Collection

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The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories

Fourth Annual Collection

By Ed Gorman, Martin H. Greenberg

Tom Doherty Associates

Copyright © 2003 Tekno Books and Ed Gorman
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-1-4299-7439-4


The Year in Mystery and Crime Fiction: 2002

Jon L. Breen

In any field of endeavor, transition is a constant, but for mystery fiction 2002, more than most, was a Year of Transitions. Early in the year, shortly after being named cowinner (with Janet Hutchings) of the Ellery Queen Award by Mystery Writers of America, Cathleen Jordan, widely admired and respected editor of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine since 1982, died, to be succeeded by Linda Landrigan. Mystery Scene, an essential source of news and opinion in the genre since 1985, moved its headquarters from Cedar Rapids to New York when sold to Kate Stine and Brian Skupin by publisher Martin H. Greenberg and editor Ed Gorman (cofounder with Robert J. Randisi). Walker and Company, a steady mystery market for many decades, first for British imports (including the American debuts of John Le Carré and Robert Barnard) and later for developing American writers (Edgar winners Julie Smith and Aaron Elkins, among many others), closed its venerable crime fiction line. Meanwhile, nontraditional markets outside the New York publishing mainstream continued their growth spurt.

Some known for mystery fiction made at least a temporary transition into true crime. Otto Penzler and Thomas H. Cook co-edited The Best American Crime Writing (Pantheon), which deserves to be an annual tradition. On the other hand, Patricia Cornwell, based on her unconvincing case against British impressionist painter Walter Sickert in Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper Case Closed (Putnam), would be well advised to stick to fiction.

The year's happiest transition, though its permanence remains in doubt, was American television's newfound ability to accomplish something British TV has been doing for years: make strong and faithful adaptations of detective fiction classics. While viewers throughout the world have enjoyed meticulous small-screen versions of Agatha Christie's Poirot and Miss Marple, Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse, and many other famous British sleuths, American TV for some reason (perhaps not trusting the strength of the material and/or the intelligence of its audiences) didn't have the knack. True, there have been those series about Mike Hammer, Ellery Queen, Spenser, Father Dowling, and other print sleuths, with varying degrees of success, but they were usually comprised of TV originals. For a reasonably faithful American adaptation of a series of novels, you'd have to go back to the Perry Mason series with Raymond Burr in the fifties and sixties. In 2001, A&E began its fine series of dramatizations of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novels. The sad news that the Wolfe series was being cancelled in 2002 was followed by the much cheerier fact that Tony Hillerman's series about the Navajo Tribal Police had found a home on PBS's Mystery series, so long the territory of British imports. Skinwalkers, well cast with some accomplished Native American actors (notably Wes Studi as Joe Leaphorn and Adam Beach as Jim Chee), directed by Native American filmmaker Chris Eyre, and adapted by Jamie Redford, showed the same confidence and respect for its material as the best of the British adaptations. It is hoped this heralds a long small-screen life for the Hillerman series and leads producers to do the same service for other American classics.


The following fifteen were the most impressive crime novels I read and reviewed in 2002. The usual disclaimer applies: I don't pretend to cover the whole field — with today's volume of new books, no single reviewer does. But try to find fifteen better.

Max Allan Collins, The Lusitania Murders (Berkley). S. S. Van Dine sets sail on the great ship's final voyage and finds a surprising model for Philo Vance in the fourth of the author's masterfully conceived and executed disaster series.

Thomas H. Cook, The Interrogation (Bantam). Big-city cops circa 1952 have eleven hours to get a confession in a powerful and unpredictable gem from one of our best active writers.

Michael Dibdin, And Then You Die (Pantheon). One reviewer compared Dibdin to Agatha Christie, Ian Fleming, and Elmore Leonard, but the creator of Italian cop, Aurelio Zen, defies pigeonholing.

Ed Gorman, Save the Last Dance for Me (Carroll & Graf). The fourth case for Sam McCain, lawyer sleuth of 1960s Iowa, is the best yet in plot, prose, and period detail.

Parnell Hall, A Puzzle in a Pear Tree (Bantam). What better holiday present than a Puzzle Lady mystery, with the author's trademark humor and a plot in the grand tradition of clue-planting and misdirection?

Reginald Hill, Dialogues of the Dead (Delacorte). With much to offer the lover of elaborate wordplay, offbeat psychology, and literate narrative, the creator of Yorkshire cops Dalziel and Pascoe jostles with Martin Cruz Smith (see below) for the year's top honors.

Laurie R. King, Justice Hall (Bantam). The latest account of Sherlock Holmes and wife, Mary Russell, is the rare pastiche that can be recommended to those who dislike pastiches.

Rochelle Krich, Blues in the Night (Ballantine). Don't let the depressing subject matter — infanticide and postpartum psychosis — put you off this expertly crafted and often humorous case for a new Orthodox Jewish sleuth, true crime writer, Molly Blume.

Peter Lovesey, Diamond Dust (Soho). Bath detective Peter Diamond investigates the murder of his wife in the latest from a master of smooth narrative and reader manipulation.

Bill Pronzini, Bleeders (Carroll & Graf). It's good to report this is not the final book about San Francisco's Nameless Detective, as was rumored at the time of its publication, and it is one of the best in the series.

S. J. Rozan, Winter and Night (St. Martin's Minotaur). The private eye team of Bill Smith and Lydia Chin, whose relationship is as complex as the ornate plot, encounter some people who take high school football much too seriously.

Alice Sebold, The Lovely Bones (Little, Brown). Not all runaway bestsellers are distinguished novels, but this hard-edged fantasy, told by a teenage murder victim, certainly is.

Martin Cruz Smith, December 6 (Simon & Schuster). This suspenseful and vividly detailed view of Japan on the brink of World War II, from the viewpoint of an American con man almost equally influenced by the two cultures, tied with Reginald Hill (see above) for my best of the year.

Richard Stark, Breakout (Mysterious). Another caper for professional thief Parker shows Stark (the grimmer face of humorist Donald E. Westlake) at the top of his game.

Laura Wilson, My Best Friend (Delacorte). In her third novel, Wilson again displays her knack for the time- and viewpoint-shifting saga, from the World War II British home front to 1995, the year of VE Day's fiftieth anniversary.


Private eyes. Among the sleuths for hire I enjoyed in 2002 were Dana Stabenow's Alaskan, Kate Shugak, in A Fine and Bitter Snow (St. Martin's Minotaur); Sue Grafton's Californian, Kinsey Millhone, in "Q" is for Quarry (Putnam); Paco Ignacio Taibo II's Mexican, Hector Belascoaran Shayne, in Frontera Dreams (Cinco Puntos); Max Allan Collins's Midwestern, Nate Heller, in the mid-century Chicago Confidential (New American Library); and Stuart M. Kaminsky's 1940s Hollywoodian, Toby Peters, in To Catch a Spy (Carroll & Graf/Penzler).

Amateur sleuths. The charming cozy meddlers could be divided into those who detected from real clues — e.g., wedding planner, Carnegie Kincaid, in Deborah Donnelly's Died to Match (Dell) and caterer, Faith Fairchild, in Katherine Hall Page's The Body in the Bonfire (Morrow) — and those who did not — e.g., gardening broadcaster, Louise Eldridge, in Ann Ripley's The Christmas Garden Affair (Kensington) and Emily Toll's travel-agent-cum-tour-guide, Lynne Montgomery, in Murder Will Travel (Berkley).

Police. Some favorite cops were active in solid cases, including James Lee Burke's Dave Robicheaux, in Jolie Blon's Bounce (Simon and Schuster); Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch, in City of Bones (Little, Brown); and Tony Hillerman's Leaphorn and Chee, in The Wailing Wind (HarperCollins). Andrea Camilleri's Sicilian Police Inspector Montalbano made an impressive American debut in The Shape of Water (Viking), first published in Italy in 1994, while Mat Coward's London team of bipolar Inspector Don Packham and Constable Frank Mitchell had an excellent second outing (or innings?) in In and Out (Five Star). Manhattan's Ben Stack and Rica Lopez sought a serial killer in John Lutz's masterful The Night Watcher (Leisure).

Historicals. The length of this paragraph reflects both this reviewer's taste and a steadily growing trend. A long-standing British series starring a team of detectives in fourteenth-century Devon continued to gain an American foothold in Michael Jecks's The Sticklepath Strangler and The Devil's Acolyte (Headline/Trafalgar Square). Other deep-in-the-past sleuths in strong form included Steven Saylor's ancient Roman, Gordianus the Finder, in A Mist of Prophecies (St. Martin's Minotaur); Kate Sedley's fifteenth-century itinerant, Roger the Chapman, in The Saint John's Fern (St. Martin's Minotaur); and Viviane Moore's twelfth-century Frenchman, Chevalier Galeran de Lesneven, in A Black Romance (Orion). Anne Perry's late Victorian, Thomas Pitt, was reliable as ever in Southampton Row (Ballantine), while her slightly earlier London private eye, William Monk, was in improved form in Death of a Stranger (Ballantine). The year's best new Sherlock Holmes case, aside from the King title on my list of fifteen, was Barrie Roberts's Sherlock Holmes and the Crosby Murder (Carroll & Graf). A Scotland Yard detective solves a case in 1922 India, in Barbara Cleverly's first novel The Last Kashmiri Rose (Carroll & Graf/Penzler). Other twentieth-century historical sleuths in action included Carola Dunn's 1920s journalist, Daisy Dalrymple, in The Case of the Murdered Muckraker (St. Martin's Minotaur); Michael Pearce's British functionary in 1910 Egypt, the Mamur Zapt, in The Camel of Destruction (Poisoned Pen); and Michael Kilian's Jazz Age art dealer, Bedford Green, in The Uninvited Countess (Berkley).

Thrillers. Val Davis's historical archaeologist, Nicolette Scott, had another harrowing outing in Thread of the Spider (St. Martin's Minotaur). Michael Connelly's second book of the year, Chasing the Dime (Little, Brown), was a riveting piece of technological suspense. Tales of professional criminals are not my usual meat, but I make an exception with novels as intriguing as Ken Bruen's London Boulevard (Do-Not/Dufour), a homage to Billy Wilder's great film, Sunset Boulevard.


Single-author short-story collections continue to burgeon satisfactorily. Ian Rankin's 1992 John Rebus collection, A Good Hanging (St. Martin's Minotaur), finally saw American publication, while a second volume, Beggars Banquet (Orion), appeared in Britain. Among the year's other highlights were Donald Thomas's Sherlock Holmes and the Voice from the Crypt (Carroll & Graf), his second group of stories involving the Baker Street sleuth with real-life crimes; Peter Lovesey's varied and polished The Sedgemoor Strangler and Other Stories of Crime (Crippen & Landru); Nero Blanc's A Crossworder's Holiday (Berkley), about a puzzle-editor and private eye team; Jan Burke's 18 (A.S.A.P.), with an introduction by Edward D. Hoch; Michael Collins's early-career retrospective Spies and Thieves, Cops and Killers, Etc. (Five Star); and the first full English translation of Georges Simenon's The 13 Culprits (Crippen & Landru), published in France in 1932 as Les 13 Coupables.

Crippen & Landru's new Lost Classics series brought a new generation of readers to some great writer/detective teams of the past, including Peter Godfrey's The Newtonian Egg and Other Cases of Rolf le Roux; Craig Rice's Murder, Mystery, and Malone; Stuart Palmer's Hildegarde Withers: Uncollected Riddles; Charles B. Child's The Sleuth of Baghdad, about Inspector Chafik; and Christianna Brand's The Spotted Cat and Other Mysteries from Inspector Cockrill's Casebook. In its partnership with Black Mask Press, Crippen & Landru presented the first short-story collection of legendary pulp writer Raoul Whitfield, Jo Gar's Casebook.

In a semireverse on mystery fiction's venerable tradition of disguising short-story collections as novels, several recent Five Star products marketed as collections have reprinted novels as the majority of their contents: Robert Colby's The Last Witness and Other Stories, K. K. Beck's The Tell-Tale Tattoo and Other Stories, Susan Dunlap's Karma and Other Stories, Carolyn G. Hart's Secrets and Other Stories of Suspense, Joan Hess's Death of a Romance Writer and Other Stories, and Graham Masterton's Charnel House and Other Stories. This is not an objection, you understand: think of it as a novel reissue with a bonus.

For the permanent shelf were Lawrence Block's eighty-four-story retrospective, Enough Rope (Morrow), similar but not identical to his 1999 British volume, Collected Short Stories; and Patricia Highsmith's Nothing That Meets the Eye: The Uncollected Stories (Norton).

The bumper crop of original theme anthologies included several illustrating the growing popularity of historical mysteries: Murder, My Dear Watson (Carroll & Graf), another set of new Sherlock Holmes pastiches edited by Martin H. Greenberg, Jon Lellenberg, and Daniel Stashower; Much Ado About Murder (Berkley), Shakespearean mysteries edited by Anne Perry; The Mammoth Book of Egyptian Whodunits (Carroll & Graf), edited by Mike Ashley; and White House Pet Detectives (Cumberland), edited by Carole Nelson Douglas. Though not specifically designated as historical, tales set in the distant or recent past were prominent in Murder Most Catholic (Cumberland), edited by Ralph McInerny; the Alaskan-themed The Mysterious North (Signet), edited by Dana Stabenow; and Measures of Poison (Dennis McMillan), the publisher's twentieth-anniversary anthology.

Guns of the West (Berkley), edited by Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg, illustrated the considerable crossover of western and crime fiction, including contributions of several writers familiar to mystery readers: Bill Pronzini, Bill Crider, L. J. Washburn, Gary Phillips, James Reasoner, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, and editor Ed Gorman.

Among the nonhistorical theme anthologies were two strong collections of erotic noir stories, one of them mostly (but not entirely) from a male perspective, Flesh & Blood: Dark Desires (Mysterious), edited by Max Allan Collins and Jeff Gelb, and the other, Tart Noir (Berkley), edited by Stella Duffy and Lauren Henderson, entirely from a female perspective. Other notable theme anthologies included the International Association of Crime Writers' Death Dance (Cumberland), edited by Trevanian; the Adams Round Table's Murder in the Family (Berkley); and Otto Penzler's football anthology The Mighty Johns and Other Stories (New Millennium).


Excerpted from The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories by Ed Gorman, Martin H. Greenberg. Copyright © 2003 Tekno Books and Ed Gorman. Excerpted by permission of Tom Doherty Associates.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Meet the Author

Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg have edited a number of anthologies, singly and together. Gorman is a Shamus Award winner for his own hard-boiled suspense; Greenberg has been behind numerous successful books, mystery and suspense, science fiction, and fantasy. Ed Gorman lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Martin H. Greenberg lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin.

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The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love mystery short stories and am so glad I found this anthology Enjoyed reading every story Was also happy to see so many of my favorite authors included and many new to me
harstan More than 1 year ago
As usual the G and G (great goldies) team has put together a powerful anthology consisting of thirty-nine tales from 2001 that run the mystery-crime-thriller spectrum. Obviously all the inclusions have seen print elsewhere, but not under one tome before this compilation. The contributions for the most part are excellent depending on the reader¿s taste, but none are terrible regardless of palate. In addition three articles report on the general state of the genre during 2001 and four country specific reports (Great Britain, Australia, Canada, and Germany) furnish insight into the trends. THE WORLD'S FINEST MYSTERY AND CRIME STORIES, THIRD ANNUAL COLLECTION, VOL. 3 provides the audience with a delightful slice of some of the year¿s better short stories. Harriet Klausner