Read The Best American Mystery Stories 1997 by Robert B. Parker Otto Penzler Online


For many years, some of the most vital, creative, and exciting fiction published in America has been in the field of mystery, crime, and suspense. Now Robert B. Parker and Otto Penzler - both Edgar winners - have assembled the best that 1997 had to offer: twenty terrific, titillating tales from such masters of the genre as Elmore Leonard, Elizabeth George, James Crumley, JFor many years, some of the most vital, creative, and exciting fiction published in America has been in the field of mystery, crime, and suspense. Now Robert B. Parker and Otto Penzler - both Edgar winners - have assembled the best that 1997 had to offer: twenty terrific, titillating tales from such masters of the genre as Elmore Leonard, Elizabeth George, James Crumley, Jonathan Kellerman, and Andrew Klavan, from newcomers like Brad Watson, and from well-known literary writers such as Joyce Carol Oates and Michael Malone....

Title : The Best American Mystery Stories 1997
Author :
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ISBN : 9780395835845
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 198 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Best American Mystery Stories 1997 Reviews

  • B.V.
    2019-02-25 06:01

    The history of the "best of" American mystery short story anthology probably dates back to 1931 and The Best American Mystery Stories of the Year, edited by Carolyn Wells, up through David C. Cooke's Best Detective Stories of the Year published from 1947 to 1959. More modern incarnations have been The Year’s 25 Finest Crime and Mystery Stories, from the editors of Mystery Scene Magazine, an annual publication since 1992; The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories edited by Ed Gorman, annual since 2000; and Otto Penzler's The Best American Mystery Stories series.The first Penzler anthology was in 1997 when Houghton Mifflin wanted a mystery version of its already-established Best American Short Stories. They contacted Penzler, who said in the Foreword that "it was his responsibility to identify and read all the mystery stories published in the calendar year," a number which totaled 500 from mystery specialty magazines, small literary journals, popular consumer publications, and anthologies.There has been remarkable growth in the volume of published mystery short stories in the past 15 years or so. When I did a quick calculation of the 2008 stories published in some 20 mystery anthologies, EQMM, AHMM, and online 'zines like Mysterical-E, Thrilling Detective, and Crimespree, I came up a total of double Penzler's 1997 number, around 1,000 stories -- and that number doesn't include all of the anthologies, or the small lit journals or popular consumer publications.The editor for the freshman effort in the Penzler series, Robert B. Parker, first reflects on the Hammett-Chandler origins of the American crime story. Then he introduces the collection with the words "As you will see in this collection, the stories remain the story of the hero's adventure in search of a hidden truth.' They are stories about a hero 'fit for adventure' in a time when stories of far bluer blood are still stuck in their bleak corner of the wasteland where Spade took Hammett. This is no small thing." The 20 stories included cover a wide range of thematic material in a variety of authorial styles: from the high society setting of Elizabeth George to the psychological suspense-with-a-twist by Jeffery Deaver, and from Melodye Johnson Howe's Hollywood banality to the humor-noir of Elmore Leonard.The collection starts off nicely with "Blind Lemon" by Doug Allyn, draped against a backdrop of the blues and music of real-life musician Blind Lemon Jefferson, in which private eye R.B. "Ax" Axton painfully relives a fateful day a decade earlier when he and a female singer inadvertently caused the murder of a mutual friend. Other standouts include "A Death on the Ho Chi Minh Trail," by David K. Harford', where an M.P. tries to solve the puzzle of why an American soldier supposedly killed in a firefight with the Viet Cong didn't have bullet holes in his shirt, and "When You're Hungry" by George Pelecanos, a tale of double-crossing and betrayal in the steamy and lawless streets of Brazil.Ask any author and most will tell you short stories can be harder to write than novels, but when you come across little gems like these, you almost wish the authors would drop the novels and dedicate themselves to the shorter form. The reader benefits, too, from such an anthology, being able to experience one actualized world after another -- the literary equivalent of visiting an amusement park, finding some rides more to your liking than others, but having all of them leave you just a little bit breathless.

  • Reynolds Darke
    2019-03-05 06:05

    There are a few mystery stories here. Most are "Literary" stories that involve crime. This is not the same thing. I was disappointed.The Mystery Story deserves much more respect than this.

  • Adrienne
    2019-03-13 09:49

    Most of these stories had me on the edge of my seat! They were long enough to get fully engaged but short enough to satisfy the part of me that felt like I had read a whole book. Highly recommended!

  • Vasha7
    2019-03-21 02:51

    Is it unfair of me to think that this selection of the "best" is remarkably conservative, even stale? I know that Otto Penzler has been in the business for a very long time, which might explain his choices; but, by reputation, it's not what I'd have expected from Parker -- but it makes more sense when I find that Parker devoted his introduction to rehashing for the 400,000th time Chandler's essay on the American private eye. These crime stories (not mystery, for the most part -- very little uncertainty) contain social analyses, regional flavor, character studies, etc., but mostly in watered-down form. A few that stood out to my eyes: Elmore Leonard as snappy as ever, and Doug Allyn's moody "Blind Lemon". Monica Wood's "Unlawful Contact" is successfully startling, but could be even better. I'm not really grumbling; when I read "The Mark", I found myself enjoying it even though every sentence seemed familiar.

  • Jillian
    2019-03-13 08:41

    Granted, mystery (or crime fiction, which would have been a more accurate designation for this collection) isn't my top genre, but I like it well enough to wish that the "best" ones gathered here were, well, a little bit better. Not that any of these stories were poorly written, but some felt unremarkable, and others weren't well-written enough to make their horrifying or depressing subject matter worth reading. However, there were definitely some great stories that bumped up my rating to a solid 3 stars:"The Weekender" by Jeffery Deaver was excellent, psychological and manipulative in all the right ways. "The Things We Do For Love" by Jonathan Kellerman was a good bit of clever fun."Lou Monahan, County Prosecutor" by Andrew Klavan really grew on me as it progressed to the perfect ending."Mrs. Feeley is Quite Mad" by Mabel Maney was delightfully strange."Unlawful Contact" by Monica Wood and "Hoops" by S.J. Rozan were depressing as anything but well executed.

  • Donna
    2019-03-04 02:10

    I thought that the early stories in this book were quite good, it's just that they didn't meet my definition of a mystery story. The series editor's (Otto Penzler) introduction indicates he has a very broad definition of "mystery." I didn't think there was much mysterious about any of these: creepy, yes; suspenseful, yes; puzzling, no. After finished 150 of 350 pages I decided that if I didn't like it, I didn't need to finish it. Finished.

  • SmarterLilac
    2019-03-15 08:49

    Fun. There are a couple of pieces in here that yield real surprises--I especially liked Jonathan Kellerman's piece, 'The Things We Do For Love,' which could have been a contender for an O. Henry prize. My beloved Karen Sisco makes an appearance. And Joyce Carol Oates turns in another intriguing story.It's nice that at least one installment of the Best American series is still good.

  • Caitlin
    2019-03-17 05:48

    Found this at the Court Street Community Bookstore. I bought this, a galley copy of Wendy Lesser's autobiography, and a 1982 issue of the Paris Review. There's a great story about a taken-for-granted, subtly gay housewife in here by Mabel Maney, who went on to write The Case of the No-Good Girlfriend, which inspired me to be lesbianier in my writing.

  • Mary
    2019-03-12 06:52

    This is a collection of stories about crime, and brutality, and suffering. If is not a collection of mystery stories. It was edited by Robert B. Parker, who ought to know a mystery story when he sees one, but his introduction to this collection raised doubts and the collection itself proves that his understanding of what constitutes a mystery is a lot different than mine.

  • J.C.
    2019-02-25 02:48

    about half the stories were good. about a quarter were really great. the other quarter remain unfinished cause they were just not up my ally. I think the thing that really bothered me about this collection was that all the stories selected for this edition revolved around some form of celebrity. especially actors. there were far to many stories about actors who killed.

  • Matthew
    2019-03-13 02:42

    This collection of the best mystery short stories from 2006-2007 introduced me to some of my favorite crime/mystery authors, even to this day. I worry I may not have discovered Elmore Leonard and George Pelecanos until much later in my life if it was not for this collection.

  • Mike Barnett
    2019-03-15 02:59

    I can't believe that with all of the mystery novels I've read that I've never read any short stories in the genre and never heard of this set of anthologies. Amazingly awesome! If you like mysteries, then you really should read this!

  • Dylan
    2019-02-22 07:41

    A rather weak start to this usually excellent series.