The Mammoth Book Of Perfect Crimes and Impossible Mysteries Paperback – Dec 15 2006
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"'There's almost too much entertainment value in these tales assembled by veteran editor and mystery scholar Mike Ashley. Ration them, and you'll only savour them more.' Amazon Editorial review" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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The stories in this anthology span the years from 1910(!)to 2006 with authors ranging from Peter Crowther to Edward D. Hoch, Robert Randisi, Richard Lupoff, Peter Tremayne and Bill Pronzini. Among the 'perfect crimes' are the following: a man seemingly alone in an all-glass phone booth who dies from an ice pick in the back; a lion tamer found strangled in a locked train car; a man wounded, while sitting alone in a room, by a bullet fired 200 years ago; an Indian rope trick performer who vanishes at the end of the trick only to be found dead in a nearby lake; three Denver women found murdered, their bodies seemingly untouched yet with their internal organs removed; a dead man who continues to receive mail in response to letters apparently written by him after he died; and so on.
My favorite tale in this volume is Bill Pronzini's "Proof of Guilt." Pronzini's clever, clever story concerns the murder of an attorney. A client who was with the attorney when he was murdered claims he's innocent and the police are stymied. The story has such a marvelous - and funny - denouement that it automatically earned the book a five-star rating!
In any case, if you're an armchair detective, you'll want to pick up this book. It's a wonderfully entertaining collection of stories!
I'd suggest you keep this book by your bed or favorite chair and sample the contents rather than reading it straight through - better to savor each unique, imaginative tale a story at a time.
Sometimes the reader knows the killer, watching to see whether he can beat the investigators; sometimes the story is a whodunit, where everyone is a suspect; and sometimes the crime is such a head-scratcher that one can only turn the pages hoping to figure out what in the world happened. Along the way, the editor calls on such familiar authors as Edward D. Hoch, Bill Pronzini, and J.A. Konrath, while also digging up a healthy assortment of lost classics. (Ashley avoids any examples from John Dickson Carr and G.K. Chesterton, two masters of the form, because those authors' stories are often so readily available.)
Some of the stories are great, some are okay, and one or two make you slap your forehead in amazement. Overall, a fine collection for any fan of puzzle mysteries.