For the fourth time, Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg have teamed up to present terrific stories of mystery and suspense from the best writers in the field. Including Edgar Award-winning tales from the U.S., Silver Dagger-winners and Edgar Award-winners from the U.K., and other marvelously entertaining stories, this is a wonderful value for any reader who likes a mystery. The roster of authors includes such luminaries as Lawrence Block, Max Allan Collins, Jeffery Deaver, Brendan DuBois, Clark Howard, Ed McBain, Marcia Muller, Anne Perry, Nancy Pickard, Bill Pronzini, Ruth Rendell, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Donald E. Westlake, and more than two dozen other high-powered mystery and crime writers. Combined with reports on the field from the U.S. (by Jon L. Breen and Edward Hoch), Canada (by Edo Van Belkom), England (by Maxim Jakubowski), Australia (by David Honeybone, and Germany (Thomas Woertche), these stories make for a wonderfully entertaining volume. At the publisher's request, this title is being sold without Digital Rights Management software (DRM) applied.
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October 15, 2003
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Excerpt from The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories: 4 by Ed Gorman
In any field of endeavor, transition is a constant, but for mystery fiction 2002, more than most, was a Year of Transitions. Early in the year, shortly after being named cowinner (with Janet Hutchings) of the Ellery Queen Award by Mystery Writers of America, Cathleen Jordan, widely admired and respected editor of Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine since 1982, died, to be succeeded by Linda Landrigan. Mystery Scene, an essential source of news and opinion in the genre since 1985, moved its headquarters from Cedar Rapids to New York when sold to Kate Stine and Brian Skupin by publisher Martin H. Greenberg and editor Ed Gorman (cofounder with Robert J. Randisi). Walker and Company, a steady mystery market for many decades, first for British imports (including American debuts of writers (Edgar winners Julie Smith and Aaron Eklins, among many others), closed its venerable crime fiction line. Meanwhile, nontraditional markets outside the New York publishing mainstream continued their growth spurt.
Some known for mystery fiction made at least a temporary transition into true crime. Otto Penzler and Thomas H. Cook co-edited The Best American Crime Writing (Pantheon), which deserves to be an annual tradition. On the other hand, Patricia Cornwell, based on her unconvincing case against British impressionist painter Walter Stickert in Portrait of a Killer: Jack the Ripper Case Closed (Putnam), would be well advised to stick to fiction.
The year's happiest transition, though its permanence remains in doubt, was American television's newfound ability to accomplish something British TV has been doing for years: make strong and faithful adaptations of detective fiction classics. While viewers throughout the world have enjoyed meticulous small-screen versions of Agatha Christie's Poirot and Miss Marple, Colin Dexter's Inspector Morse, and many other famous British sleuths, American TV for some reason (perhaps not trusting the strength of the material and/or the intelligence of its audiences) didn't have the knack. True, there have been those series about Mike Hammer, Ellery Queen, Spenser, Father Dowling, and other print sleuths, with varying degrees of success, but they were usually comprised of TV originals. For a reasonably faithful American adaptation of a series of novels, you'd have to go back to the Perry Mason series with Raymond Burr in the fifties and sixties. In 2001, A&E began its fine series of dramatizations of Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe novels. The sad news that the Wolfe series was being cancelled in 2002 was followed by the much cheerier fact that Tony Hillerman's series about the Navajo Tribal Police had found a home on PBS's Mystery series, so long the terror of British imports. Skinwalkers, well cast with some accomplished Native American actors (notably Wes Studi as Joe Leaphorn and Adam Beach as Jim Chee), directed by Native American filmmaker Chris Eyre, and adapted by Jamie Redford, showed the same confidence and respect for its material as the best of the British adaptations. It is hoped this heralds a long small-screen life for the Hillerman series and leads producers to do the same service for other American classics.