Twenty-six stories, 15 countries, 11 languages, 7 winners.
Each of these tales enjoyed its first US appearance in Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, which Hutchings edits, and indeed Norizuki Rintaro’s “An Urban Legend Puzzle” is a pretty good head-scratcher in which the Japanese counterparts of Ellery and his dad talk each other through to a satisfactory solution. But the real quality lies elsewhere. Mischa Bach’s “Full Moon” is a heartfelt and beautifully written German tale about compassion in unlikely places for a seemingly undeserving recipient. Daliso Chaponda’s “Heroic Proportions” shows a tyrant assassinated, rival claimants clamoring for credit and a beset cop who has to choose carefully and cleverly from among them. In “Ramon Acuña’s Time,” Isaac Aisemberg leads up to a deft, Poe-like ending that goes directly to the back of your neck. Gunter Gerlach’s “Wedding in Voerde” presents a couple of ex-cons unexpectedly and amusingly moved by the entrepreneurial spirit. Jutta Motz puts a wry spin on the definition of help in “With a Little Help from Your Friends”; Norwegian Richard Macker’s “A Deadly Joke” fits snugly into the biter-bit tradition; and Isaka Kotaro makes a chilling point about randomness in “The Precision of the Agent of Death.”
Worth collecting, certainly, but shorter would have been so much better.