Fifteen original short cases of murder on and around the links.
The best stories here are by Brits. Jonathan Gash lets East Anglian divvy Lovejoy loose amongst the golf and antiques duffers in “Death by Golf.” H.R.F. Keating tackles the tale of an 1888 marmalade tycoon, his homely daughter and her governess in “Miss Unwin Plays by the Rules.” Simon Brett teams a wife up with a golf pro to avenge a philanderer in “The Man Who Didn’t Play Golf.” And writing powerhouse Ian Rankin takes Boston and Miami mobsters to Scotland’s St. Andrews to settle scores in “Graduation Day.” The sole female contributor, Laura Lippman, slogs in a semi-hardboiled way through the marital rough in “A Good **** Spoiled.” Also on hand are Lawrence Block, Ken Bruen, Stephen Collins, Christopher Coake, Tom Franklin, Steve Hamilton, Bradford Morrow, John Sandford, William G. Tapply and John Westermann, most of them playing like duffers. The most interesting part of this course may be the 19th hole, a seven-page bibliography of golf mysteries dating from Hubert Wales’s 1914 “The Brocklebank Riddle.”
Penzler’s recent anthologies (Murder at the Racetrack, 2006, etc.) feature a couple of decent offerings apiece and a lot of filler. Thank God for those Brits.