Veteran anthologist Slung avoids the stuffiness attendant on her most distinguished predecessors in the crime-fiction-can-be-literature-too genre (Ellery Queen's Poetic Justice and The Literature of Crime) by loosening her definitions of both crime fiction and literature. Edith Wharton's nightmarish ""A Journey,"" Rudyard Kipling's decorously chilling ""Mary Postgate,"" and John Cheever's deceptively casual ""Montraldo"" are only marginally crime stories; only by stretching a point could the Waspish anecdotes of Evelyn Waugh and A.A. Milne, or the backstage fustian of Louisa May Alcott, be called literature. Yet the two dozen stories she's collected--which also include unexpected entries by W.S. Gilbert, T.H. White, Isak Dinesen, Eudora Welty (an exceptionally creepy little tale), William Trevor (ditto), Patrick O'Brian, Nadine Gordimer, Gabriel GarcÃ¢a MÃŠrquez, Muriel Spark, Paul Theroux, Naguib Mahfouz, Alice Walker, Isabel Allende, and Fay Weldon, as well as chestnuts by William Faulkner and James Thurber--however uneven in their melding of literature and crime, are never, ever boring. Though a better title might be Famous Authors Try Their Hands at Crime (Anthony Trollope?! Virginia Woolf?!), Slung's collection is a revelation in more ways than one.