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Hillerman, author of the Joe Leaphorn mysteries, and Herbert, editor of The Oxford Companion to Crime and Mystery Writing, trace this short-story genre from its beginnings in the hands of Edgar Allen Poe through its development by the likes of Erle Stanley Gardner, Mary Roberts Rinehart and Anthony Boucher to its current practice by such masters as Marcia Muller. Poe's "The Murders in the Rue Morgue," which established a great many of the whodunit conventions, is indispensable to such an overview. Raymond Chandler's "I'll be Waiting" emits a doom-laden atmosphere right from the first line; William Faulkner shows unexpected economy of language?and a transparent plot?in "An Error in Chemistry." Ed McBain scores high marks in "Small Homicide," in which the tiny details of a baby's untimely death resonate uncomfortably. As represented in this competent, unstartling collection, Linda Barnes ("Lucky Penny") easily outsasses Sue Grafton ("The Parker Shotgun"). Hillerman makes a solid appearance with "Chee's Witch," and in "Benny's Space" Muller captures the full subtle force of her novel-length vision.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Though Hillerman's introduction notes his impatience with ``the rules'' of the detective story's Golden Age, this magisterial selection of 34 stories is remarkably evenhanded, proceeding from Poe to Ross Macdonald and Rex Stout with scarcely a notable omission (except for Dashiell Hammett, for copyright reasons). The emphasis here is on familiar items, though work by less well-known writers like Richard Sale and Robert Leslie Bellem provide welcome variety. The problem comes in the last hundred pages--all the room the editors leave for the past 30 years. The stories by Bill Pronzini, Edward D. Hoch, Linda Barnes, Sue Grafton, Marcia Muller, and editor Hillerman are mostly exemplary; but other recent masters of the short story- -like Loren D. Estleman and Ed Gorman and Lawrence Block--must wonder why they weren't included when historical curios by Anna Katherine Green and Arthur B. Reeve were. The anthology as museum, with Hillerman and Herbert as suave a pair of curators as you could wish. -- Copyright ©1996, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.See all Product Description