MINIATURE MYSTERIES by Isaac Asimov

MINIATURE MYSTERIES

100 Malicious Little Stories
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KIRKUS REVIEW

A generous collection of "short-shorts"--crime stories whose brevity (2000 words or less) is often their major attraction; most of the plot twists here are familiar, but there's no time for the belaboring or padding that afflict so many of the longer mystery-magazine stories. So even if this anthology doesn't include any of the great mini-mysteries--those by Edmund Crispin, for example (cf. Fen Country, 1980)--it does offer lots of competent tales and a few real winners. Best of all: Jack Ritchie's "Shatter Proof," an elegant showdown between hired killer and victim which may remind you of the witty byplay in Sleuth. Also notable: Elsin Ann Graffam's "A Night Out With the Boys" (which can be read as a wicked little companion piece to Leonard Michaels' The Men's Club) and her more conventional "House Call"--a nice poisoned-coffee number with a Christie-ish chill. And three of the other standouts use the naturally compact exchange-of-letters format: an amusing creeper by Pronzini & Malzberg; a neat outwit-the-cops anecdote by Lawrence Treat & Charles M. Plotz; and John Lutz's dandy "Pure Rotten," a swift cross between The Bad Seed and The Ransom of Red Chief. The rest run the usual gamut, heavy on love triangles and wife-murders, with sturdy multiple entries from Henry Slesar, Edward D. Hoch, James Holding, and Elaine Slater. One misses the lighter British touch here, perhaps (and the one Michael Gilbert piece is disappointing), but mystery readers who like a light five-minute read just before bed (or between bus stops) will find this a solid source of mild mini-pleasures.
Pub Date: July 8th, 1981
ISBN: 0800852524
Publisher: Taplinger
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1st, 1981




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