BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES OF THE CENTURY
Edited by: Tony Hillerman - Otto Penzler
Houghton Mifflin Co - April 2000
ISBN: 0618012672 - Hardcover
Reviewed by: Brenda Weeaks, MyShelf.Com
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Now here is a great book! The stories in it reminded me of the great writers I enjoyed much earlier in the century. I liked the fact that they dated the stories to let the reader know when they were written. I must commend Tony Hillerman for his impressive choices; it couldn’t have been an easy job. I can tell you right now, don’t expect to read it in one week, not even in a month. I do recommend you savor and enjoy these stories slowly, even repeatedly, over an extended length of time, possibly even between other mysteries. What I mean is, who would WANT to hurry through such classics as James M. Cain, Raymond Chandler, William Faulkner, Susan Glaspell, Stephen Greenleaf, Dashell Hammett, O Henry, Sue Grafton, or Flannery O’Connor? And that’s just a drop in the bucket of Who’s Who in this 813-page book.
Flannery O’Connor is one of my all time favorites. She has a strong way of making a point; her endings have always taken me by surprise. Her 1965-story The Comforts of Home, about a son still living with his mother and the unwelcome guest she brings home, has the honor of being included. Another great one is, Susan Glaspell’s 1917 story, A Jury of Her Peers; a story of a husband who hung himself while still in bed. Then there’s a 1905 story by Willa Cather called Paul’s Case; about a recently released safe cracker who may or may not go straight. Be sure to read Tony Hillerman’s introduction. He tells the reader the difference between literature and mystery and how mystery has evolved. On my keeper shelf it goes!