Hornsby's complete short fiction-eleven stories and one nonfiction article, "Wendy Goes to the Morgue"-makes for a slight volume with distinct peaks and valleys linked by a marked preference for suave understatement. Her best-known creation, documentarist Maggie McGowen (A Hard Light, 1997, etc.), is absent, but Maggie's boyfriend Mike Flint, late of the LAPD, appears in one of three new stories, "Essential Things," whose mystery is upstaged by his buying and rebuilding a retirement home. A second new story, "The Sky Shall Always Be Blue," echoes Shirley Jackson's "The Possibility of Evil" in giving a condo busybody her comeuppance. (The unseen third, "Why Vanessa Jumped," is available only in the limited-edition hardcover.) Of the reprints, two stories coauthored with Hornsby's daughter Alyson are shivery, noncriminal anecdotes of a child's imaginary friend and a family's coming to terms with their late father and grandfather; the others are all worth closer attention. "The Naked Giant" and "New Moon and Rattlesnakes" are elegantly foreshortened tales of women's revenge; "High Heels in the Headliner" recounts a romance writer's absurd, tragic infatuation with a tough cop; and "Ghost Caper" is a truly chilling tale of a mischievous West Hollywood prowler. But Hornsby never outclassed her eponymous debut, a quietly devastating Depression idyll that won an Edgar in 1992. In her introduction, Hornsby complains that her life and public face have been far more genteel than she'd like. Surely this collection's best stories, which manage to be both brutal and genteel, will bruise her reputation just a bit.