An unremarkable collection with a sterling pedigree: two dozen stories, 15 of them new, from the usually reliable British Crime Writers' Association. In addition to halfhearted reprints by the likes of Ruth Rendell, Antonia Fraser, H.R.F. Keating, and Celia Dale--and stronger efforts by Dick Francis and Margaret Yorke--the mix is heavy on whimsy: a zany psychiatrists' duel by Sara Paretsky; an elaborately game-bedecked puzzle by Simon Brett; a silly saga of Dan Quayle in Indiana by coeditor Lewin; and an encounter between Dorothy Sayers and Lord Peter You-Know-Who. The most successful entries--by Stephen Murray, Susan Moody, Alex Auswaks, Susan Kelly, and coeditor Cody- -avoid the whodunit, revenge, and now-it-can-be-told formulas for more unexpected revelations of character or situation. Nary an outstanding tale in the lot, though about half the contents--mostly the brand-new items--are keepers.