2ND CULPRIT: An Annual of Crime Stories by Liza & Michael Z. Lewin -- Eds. Cody

2ND CULPRIT: An Annual of Crime Stories

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There's something for everyone in the British Crime Writers Association's second annual collection, which features not only a lineup of the usual suspects -- 23 stories, all but three of them new -- but also some offbeat items: another double-crostic and a brace of Clewsey cartoons, verse by Susan Kelly, a reprint of Eric Ambler's rueful look back on his first novel, and historian Carole Rawcliffe's survey of the more flagrantly criminal members of medieval Parliaments. The more orthodox entries, though not notable for originality, are almost uniformly accomplished, especially Ellis Peters's ghostly whimsy, Eric Wright's stolid tale of petty revenge gone awry, Anthea Fraser's piquant variations on a bit on the side, Ian Rankin's lethal hostage-taking, and Robert Barnard's nimble dispatching of a tabloid king. Even the more routine stories (by Margaret Yorke, Antonia Fraser, Peter O'Donnell, Jonathan Gash, et al.) revel in extra twists and turns, and the reprints -- Peter Lovesey's ""The Curious Computer,"" Tony Hillerman's ""First Lead Gasser,"" and Sue Grafton's ""A Little Missionary Work"" -- are equally strong. The level of craftsmanship and the variety of tone and technique are impressive. All in all, a model anthology.

Pub Date: June 20th, 1994
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: St. Martin's