Twenty-two stories, 16 of them new, by the members of the British Crime Writers' Association. Though none of the new stories are truly outstanding, most of them are well above average: Ian Rankin's brisk underworld killing; Sara Paretsky's fairy tale of therapy for a Go addict; Maxim Jakubowski's unsettling set of scenarios for homicide; Bill James's twisty anecdote about a pair of would-be rapists who just want to have fun; Val McDermid's transcript of interlinked graffiti; H.R.F. Keating's dry-eyed account of a criminal bogeyman; Keith Heller's fantasy of detection by Mrs. William Blake. Even the less successful tales by Stephen Murray, Mat Coward, Madelaine Duke, Susan Kelly, and coeditor Lewin mark offbeat new departures for their authors; and the more standard entries by William G. Tapply, John Malcolm, David Williams, and James Melville are still worth your time. Of the reprints, the most original is Robert Brack's ``Trumpets for Max Jericho,'' a portrait of an unemployed man's eventful day, and the biggest disappointment is one of the few Ruth Rendell stories, ``A Needle for the Devil,'' that can fairly be called routine. Donald E. Westlake contributes a typically botched bank robbery, Bob Lock a one-page jest, Joan Lock a pair of historical studies; and the collection is rounded out by the usual double-crostic and four particularly funny Clewsey cartoons. Not up to last year's vintage, but still as inventive and various a bundle as you'd expect from this consistently striking series.