THE YEAR'S 25 FINEST CRIME AND MYSTERY STORIES

SIXTH ANNUAL EDITION

Regional humorist Hess (The Maggody Militia, p. 175, etc.) joins series editors Gorman and Greenberg for this sixth annual roundup. Though the numbers of original collections helpfully listed by Jon L. Breen and Edward D. Hoch suggest that it's been a bumper year for short mystery fiction, a few formulas (the schemer outschemed, the just vengeance, the psychopathology of everyday life) predominate, so that the keynote here is professional accomplishment—reliable entertainers like Ruth Rendell, Marcia Muller, Ed McBain, Reginald Hill, Donald E. Westlake, and Sara Paretsky buff their wares to a high sheen- -without any particular originality. The exceptions, as always, are worth the money: Walter Satterthwait's secret-ingredient cassoulet, David Corn's macabre fictional confessional, Alan Russell's prison bridal tale, Bill Pronzini's paranoid suburban vignette. But the best story of all, S.J. Rozan's inner-city whodunit ``Hoops,'' is in many ways the most traditional. Clearly the best-edited annual, though not as distinctive in its choices as its latest competitor (see below).

Pub Date: Oct. 1, 1997

ISBN: 0-7867-0495-0

Page Count: 368

Publisher: N/A

Review Posted Online: June 24, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Sept. 1, 1997

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DEATH ON THE NILE

A HERCULE POIROT MYSTERY (HERCULE POIROT MYSTERIES)

One of her best. Poirot, again on vacation, falls foul of a murder on board a Nile river steamer, followed by two successive murders, obviously connected. A sophisticated group, an ingenious plot, clever deduction, swift-paced narrative. A little romance on the side lends glamour. First rate entertainment.

Pub Date: Feb. 8, 1938

ISBN: 0062073559

Page Count: 354

Publisher: Dodd, Mead

Review Posted Online: Sept. 20, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 1, 1938

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Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how...

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THE A LIST

A convicted killer’s list of five people he wants dead runs the gamut from the wife he’s already had murdered to franchise heroine Ali Reynolds.

Back in the day, women came from all over to consult Santa Clarita fertility specialist Dr. Edward Gilchrist. Many of them left his care happily pregnant, never dreaming that the father of the babies they carried was none other than the physician himself, who donated his own sperm rather than that of the handsome, athletic, disease-free men pictured in his scrapbook. When Alexandra Munsey’s son, Evan, is laid low by the kidney disease he’s inherited from his biological father and she returns to Gilchrist in search of the donor’s medical records, the roof begins to fall in on him. By the time it’s done falling, he’s serving a life sentence in Folsom Prison for commissioning the death of his wife, Dawn, the former nurse and sometime egg donor who’d turned on him. With nothing left to lose, Gilchrist tattoos himself with the initials of five people he blames for his fall: Dawn; Leo Manuel Aurelio, the hit man he’d hired to dispose of her; Kaitlyn Todd, the nurse/receptionist who took Dawn’s place; Alex Munsey, whose search for records upset his apple cart; and Ali Reynolds, the TV reporter who’d helped put Alex in touch with the dozen other women who formed the Progeny Project because their children looked just like hers. No matter that Ali’s been out of both California and the news business for years; Gilchrist and his enablers know that revenge can’t possibly be served too cold. Wonder how far down that list they’ll get before Ali, aided once more by Frigg, the methodical but loose-cannon AI first introduced in Duel to the Death (2018), turns on them?

Proficient but eminently predictable. Amid all the time shifts and embedded backstories, the most surprising feature is how little the boundary-challenged AI, who gets into the case more or less inadvertently, differs from your standard human sidekick with issues.

Pub Date: April 2, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-5011-5101-9

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Feb. 19, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1, 2019

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