I'd like to explore shorter crime fiction, as in short stories or novellas. Any recommendations on great crime writers or titles for an impatient reader?
I'm a bit late tot he discussion, but for what its worth at this late date, I find the 'Mammoth Book of...' to be excellent for a connoisseur of short story fiction. They have simply OODLES of sub-genres to choose from. Well, genres even...they are not all mysteries. (I forget sometimes that (inexplicably) not all readers are mystery enthusiasts!)
I particularly find their historical mystery collections more to my taste. There are several. And the books are really stuffed with stories...we are not talking about a thin paperback here. They are paperbacks, but very thick...hence the descriptive name 'Mammoth'. I find mine on Amazon for the best prices. Or on PaperbackSwap if they are available.
I also find the anthologies edited by Cynthia Manson amusing. I believe these are story compilations from the Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock mystery magazines.
And for single author only collections...The Complete Lord Peter Stories and just about any collection by Agatha Christie fit the bill for me.
Hmm, EQMM and AHMM do their own anthologies. I know because I'm in them.
Places to read short crime fiction online for free:
Not coincidentally, I have short stories published by all of these.
Level Best Books brings out an anthology of New England based short stories every year. http://levelbestbooks.com/