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MURDER BY THE BOOK by Cynthia Manson


edited by Cynthia Manson

Pub Date: Dec. 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-7867-0250-8

 Nineteen reprints, 1906-93, giving pride of place to books (Idylls of the King, Great Expectations, Treasure Island, etc.) or fictional authors. In general, the stories featuring books are wittier and wider-ranging. Stories like James Thurber's riotous ``The Macbeth Murder Mystery,'' Michelle Knowlden's sly ``The Jane Austen Murder,'' and Penelope Wallace's Holmesian update ``The World According to Uncle Albert'' are as different from each other as their originals were. Except for the centerpiece, Joseph Hansen's sensitive study of--all right--an author's death (``A Woman's Voice''), the authors are a lot more predictable, whether they're plotting murders (Michael Innes, Robert Cenedella, Donald Olson) or lesser felonies (Carl Martin) or leaving behind coy clues to their dying legacies (Robert Barr, Dorothy L. Sayers, Margaret Maron) or just acting mysterious (Michael Z. Lewin, Lawrence Block, William Brittain) or maladjusted (Ruth Rendell). Somebody might as well have issued them all tweeds and pipes. Still, the literary connection puts this collection a cut above Manson's recent Murder Most Medical (p. 903), coedited with Cathleen Jordan.