RARA-AVIS: RE: Best of Mystery

From: Graham Powell ( bleekerbooks@hotmail.com)
Date: 27 Mar 2004

A few comments on the stories in BEST OF MYSTERY:

"With A Smile For The Ending", by Lawrence Block. One of my favorite Block mysteries, narrated by the young assistant to an older writer. There's a murder in town, and they try to steer events so that the guilty party is caught. Things don't go as planned. Basically Block pulls the curtain on some of the assumptions of the cozy school.

"Undertaker, Please Drive Slow", by Ron Goulart. A very Chandler-esque story. A young woman disappeared and was presumed dead in a boating or diving accident (I forget) a year ago. Now her wealthy father has some evidence she's alive. He wants to believe, and hires a detective to check it out. A really terrific story, the first thing I'd ever read by Goulart. He has another story in this volume, "News From Nowhere", which is good but not as good.

"Games For Adults", by John Lutz. An excellent hardboiled suspense story. Lutz wrote about half a billion short stories before he started in on novels, and this is one of the best.

"Sadie When She Died", by Ed McBain. A classic, probably the best known 87th Precinct short story.

"The Best Friend Murder", by Donald Westlake. One of his stories featuring a police detective named Levine. A man seems to have murdered his roommate and best friend, but something is not quite right. "Never Shake A Family Tree" is also pretty good.

I recall liking all three of Bill Pronzini's stories in this book, but I'll be damned if I can remember what any of them were about. I also seem to remember that "Art For Money's Sake" by Dan J. Marlowe was pretty good.


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