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WIN, LOSE OR DIE by Cynthia Manson


Stories from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

edited by Cynthia Manson & Constance Scarborough

Pub Date: June 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-7867-0317-2

 This collection is old-fashioned in a double sense. All 26 stories are reprints, half over 25 years old. And since all of them feature games of skill or chance, most turn on a single clever irony or reversal--in poker (Forrest K. Perrin, Anthony Boucher, Thomas B. Costain (as ``Pat Hand''), Bill Pronzini), bridge (Agatha Christie), craps (John Steinbeck), chess (Henry Slesar, Lord Dunsany, Harry Kemelman, David Kaufman, Theodore Mathieson, R.L. Stevens, George C. Chesbro, Stanley Ellin), Scrabble (John Philip Cohane, H.R.F. Keating), Go (Sara Paretsky), Trivial Pursuit (Robert Loy), numbers (Robert L. Fish), acrostics (Phil Davis), crosswords (Ruth Rendell), fortune-telling (James Holding), the stock market (Ellery Queen), and a variation of the old Murder Game (Nedra Tyre). Perhaps the cleverest tales perhaps are by Jack Ritchie and Lawrence Block, while many of the others are nearly interchangeable. One complaint: Such familiar fare ought to show a stronger editorial hand than veteran anthologists Manson (Murder by the Book, 1995; Kingpins, 1992, etc.) and Scarborough display here.