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The Couple Next Door: Collected Short Mysteries

The Couple Next Door: Collected Short Mysteries

by Margaret Millar

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Margaret Millar's The Couple Next Door: Collected Short Mysteries, edited by Tom Nolan, gathers the shorter fiction by this Edgar Award winner admired by the likes of Agatha Christie, Raymond Chandler, W.H. Auden and Truman Capote. Millar (1915-1994) was the wife of Ross Macdonald. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Millar garnered both Edgar and Grand Master awards from the Mystery Writers of America during her career. This collection gangs seven of her stories, along with a biographical portrait and introduction by Tom Nolan. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Six stories from three distinct phases in the fifty-year career of an MWA Grand Master (1915-94) whose work deserves to be rediscovered. As editor Nolan points out in his fine introduction, Millar, whose reputation was ultimately eclipsed by that of her husband, Ross Macdonald, established a fiercely loyal following long before he did. Pioneering the psychological suspense thriller in Beast in View (1955), A Stranger in My Grave (1960), and The Fiend (1964), she never wrote the same book twice. The two longest entries in this slender, varied harvest are apprentice work. "Last Day in Lisbon" is an unremarkable, smoothly proficient tale of innocents abroad, a lower-voltage Journey Into Fear. "Mind over Murder," a whodunit set in the isolated Colony for Mental Hygiene, unwisely meets Agatha Christie on her home turf. Yet it's more brightly written than And Then There Were None, with more interesting characters. "McGowney's Miracle," about an undertaker who wishes his latest client would return to life and then has to deal with the consequences, is a charmer, and the 1987 tailpiece, "Notions," a dark bagatelle. But the classics here are Millar's two midcareer anthology standards: the darkly domestic "The Couple Next Door" and the unclassifiable "The People Across the Canyon," whose wallop might teach contemporary writers a thing or two about suspense-and whet an appetite for reissuing Millar's novels.

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Meet the Author

Margaret Millar (1915-1994) was the author of 27 books and a masterful pioneer of psychological mysteries and thrillers. Born in Kitchener, Ontario, she spent most of her life in Santa Barbara, California, with her husband Ken Millar, better known under the nom de plume of Ross MacDonald. Her 1956 novel Beast in View won the Edgar Allan Poe Award for Best Novel. In 1965 Millar was the recipient of the Los Angeles Times Woman of the Year Award and in 1983 the Mystery Writers of America awarded her the Grand Master Award for Lifetime Achievement. Millar’s cutting wit and superb plotting have left her an enduring legacy as one of the most important crime writers of both her own and subsequent generations.