Though a good deal better than Malzberg-and-Pronzini's Dark Sins, Dark Dreams (1978), this crime/sf anthology makes you wonder whether maybe the idea itself is jinxed. Part of the trouble here is that the editors have split up the literature of crime into 13 categories (locked room, police procedural, etc.), shoving a sf story into each one with varying degrees of justification. Things get off to a mediocre start with one of the late Tom Reamy's thinner efforts (Chandleresque vehicle with horror ending), end gloriously with William Tenn's "Time in Advance" (why not let people serve murder sentences before the crime, at a 50% discount?), and strike a pretty high level in between. Charles De Vet and Katherine MacLean ably depict an infiltrator's attempt to arrange friendly contact between the human race and an alien society with a baffling code of honor. Philip K. Dick's "War Game" is a neat Trojan-horse tale involving a couple of deadly toys. And "Mouthpiece," by Edward Wellen, brilliantly combines a reworking of the Dutch Schultz case with a computer-program-come-to-life premise (and then commits one of the dumbest endings in recent memory). Other fine contributions include Simak's "How-2," Larry Niven's "Arm," and Jack Vance's elegant "Coup de Grace." Some marvelous material, but a strained anthology.