A new editor and new life for Britain's major crime anthology; last year's collection of never-before-publisheds was execrable--this year's is electric. At least half of the twelve tales here are riveters, and not one--not even the foul John Wainwright's familiar brutal-cop-at-work--is without real, relishable style. Ruth Rendell reaffirms her mastery of both insidious woman-to-woman relationships and crime-from-the-criminal-viewpoint; James McClure reveals a different side of his talent, with a fatally triangular family picnic--Daddy, kids, and Daddy's new girlfriend; Patricia Highsmith heaps up a grungy domestic nightmare as only she can. The strength of this remarkable anthology can best be indicated by the fact that suave Geoffrey Household--along with funny Colin Dexter, gripping Derek Robinson, and cozy Elizabeth Ferrars--is among the second-stringers. In this case, as they say in today's scrimping London (the vivid scene in a few of these stories), Buy British!