I finished reading "The Best American Mystery Stories" (2005) today. OK, so I have a large reading pile, and it takes me a while sometimes. What struck the most about this anthology is that very few of the stories actually have a mystery in them. Most were criminals going about their business, or people who were related to criminals going about their business or even police going about their business, but they were, in general, not solving or intrigued by, any mysteries. I've read books from the series before, and I like the stories -- albeit for literary reasons, not because they are good *mystery* stories. None of the stories stood out as exceptionally memorable, but there is some powerful writing, and some extraordinary evocation of character, place and state of mind. I would heartily recommend the series, but not if you're looking for *mystery* stories.


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Comment by Clifford Royal Johns on February 17, 2008 at 5:15am
When I read these anthologies, I put little pencil tik marks (sort of how many stars) next to the story. Both of the stories you mention got high marks from me.

I liked a lot of the stories, I was just surprised at how few actual mysteries there were. Yes, Delmonica certainly counts as a mystery. I didn't mean there weren't any, only that there were few.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

By the way, my favorite story of the bunch was "The Last Man I killed" by David Rachel. Pretty strong stuff.


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