EQMM editor Hutchings (Once Upon a Crime, 1994, etc.) sticks close to the obvious in her old master selections: The entries by A.C. Doyle, Baroness Orczy, R. Austin Freeman, G.K. Chesterton, Agatha Christie, Dorothy L. Sayers, and Anthony Gilbert make up as stellar a collection of chestnuts as you'll find. (One welcome, though inferior, exception: Thomas Burke's lower-class idyl ""The New Hat."") Bright malice, first featured in A.A. Milne's Sherlockian parody, is the keynote of the more recent stories by Helen Simpson, Michael Gilbert, Ruth Rendell, H.R.F. Keating, Jeffry Scott, Margaret Yorke, Simon Brett, Peter Lovesey, Robert Barnard, Julian Symons, and the standout--Gillian Linscott's ""Death of a Dead Man,"" which is funny as well as malicious. A uniformly rewarding collection for neophytes, though old hands may find themselves restless at the lack of novelty.