The 31st annual collectibles (plus bibliographic ""yearbook"")--half of them from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and few of...

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BEST DETECTIVE STORIES OF THE YEAR 1977

The 31st annual collectibles (plus bibliographic ""yearbook"")--half of them from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and few of them showing as much ingenuity as strenuous styling. The Mystery Writers of America's ""Edgar"" award went to Etta Revesz' ""Like a Terrible Scream,"" the dialect-heavy confession of a crippled Hispanic youngster who, disillusioned, kills his whoring sister. Confessions too from a folksy-talkin' housekeeper (lane Speed's ""View from the Inside""), a cuckolded London husband (Ruth Rendell, being familiar but fetching), a free-associating mace murderer (Rich Rainey's ""Man in the White Room""), and a fey heir who can't afford to squeal on his murderous butler (lack Ritchie's ""Next in Line""). lames Holding tells a predictable artworld-swindle anecdote; Barbara Callahan gives us a presidential candidate's wife spilling the beans (to Lib magazine) about her surpassingly corrupt hubby; Bill Pronzini pushes his railroad infatuation too far; Awam Davidson distills the terror of being an urban senior citizen; and editor Hoch uses anagrams to avert the assassination of Ulysses S. Grant. As you'll have detected by now, detection is almost non-existent here, making Joyce Porter's Inspector Dover especially welcome in a deductio ad absurdum about whether or not Mrs. Dover's garden spade was borrowed. And we'll even forgive the muddiness of S. S. Rafferty's Bicentennial probe into plantation voodoo or the hyper-slangy narrator in Charles W. Runyon's carpool whodunit--at least they offer detectives at work. But the honors go to a quirky, untraditional trio: Lawrence Block's Dahl-esque gorelet about how ""A Pair of Recycled leans"" goes on the market; the mystery writer's answer to Nabokov's Pale Fire, scribbled down by Laurence Sheehan; and Robert Bloch's utterly atypical burlesque on bestsellers, ghost-writers, and writer's block. The wormy best of a low-yield crop.

Pub Date: July 25, 1977

ISBN: N/A

Page Count: -

Publisher: Dutton

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1977