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The Best American Mystery Stories 1999 Paperback – 26 Nov 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin (Trade); 1999 ed. edition (26 Nov. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0395939151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0395939154
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 3 x 21.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,078,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Ed McBain, a recipient of the Mystery Writers of America's coveted Grand Master Award, was also the first American to receive the Diamond Dagger, the British Crime Writers Association's highest award. His books have sold more than one hundred million copies, ranging from the more than fifty titles in the 87th Precinct series (including the Edgar Award nominated "Money, Money, Money)" to the bestselling novels written under his own name, Evan Hunter including "The Blackboard Jungle" (now in afiftieth anniversary edition from Pocket Books) and Criminal Conversation. "Fiddlers, " his final 87th Precinct novel, was recently published in hardcover. Writing as both Ed McBain and Evan Hunter, he broke new ground with "Candyland, " a novel in two parts. He also wrote the screenplay for Alfred Hitchcock's "The Birds." He died in 2005.


OTTO PENZLER is a renowned mysteryeditor, publisher, columnist, and owner ofNew York's The Mysterious Bookshop, the oldest and largest bookstore solely dedicated to mystery fiction.He has edited more than fifty crime-fiction anthologies.

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
My first couple of these anthologies were fantastic, the last few not so good. This is not as bad as the one edited by Joyce Carol Oates which was really depressing, but hey, we don't all like the same things. Just check the editor before you but. If you like their stories it is odds on you will like their selection.
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Format: Paperback
Ever had a K-mart clad bad good ol' boy from the Ozarks pop you behind the ear with a ball-peen hammer? What would that be like? Any ideas on how to make a hate-ridden serial killer 'useful'? And that guy who's playing around with your wife - how do you permanently lower his sail without frying in the chair? Ask yourself would you ever - even for a split second - consider 'losing' a vital piece of evidence for the sake of one glorious chance to soar from insignificance into the celebrity bright lights? These are some of the questions asked by the twenty (many best-selling) authors represented here. Between them they produce a huge breadth of answers in finely written compassionate stories (three of which have been movie optioned). It's the empathy these writers so succinctly convey through the sheer sense of place, situation and character that I love about these tales. From shining sea to sea and the characters face a variety of dilemmas - from the imagined to the humorous, from the frightening to the plain excruciating. Of course most of the characters are not exactly princes - some are deeply disturbed lowlifes - but then again most don't ever get to live in palaces. Also included is a compact history of the mystery by guest editor Robert B Parker, charting its possibly biblical beginnings through to the present day. He celebrates its rise in literary stature to a now deservedly respected position. But the stories, he reminds us, remain essentially a hero's "adventure in search of a hidden truth" by a hero "fit for adventure". Soulful.
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Love the Brendan Dubois!
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.5 out of 5 stars 12 reviews
25 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pay Attention as You Read these Reviews 16 Dec. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
Be cautious as you read the reviews here. Some of them are for the 1999 collection (guest editor Ed McBain) and some are for the 1998 collection (guest editor Sue Grafton). There is also a 1997 collection (guest editor Robert B. Parker). I've read both the '97 and '98 collections and found them excellent (I think everything I've ever read that Otto Penzler had a hand in is excellent). I have no reason to believe the '99 collection isn't also a great read (I'm ordering it today), but in reading the reviews, be aware that some refer to the McBain collection while others review the Grafton collection.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Anthology 3 Feb. 2001
By Dr. Christopher Coleman - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This is an exceptional anthology; almost all 20 stories are true gems. One is only a semi-precious stone, and that because it suffers in its juxtaposition with another story with a similar plot. The final story in the anthology, John Updike's Bech Noir, is just cut-glass--I can understand it appealing to mystery writers, as it deals with a writer who kills his critics, but it seemed to lower the quality of the book somewhat. Among the very best stories are "Safe", Gary A. Braunbeck's absolutely harrowing semi-autobiographical tale of those left behind by a serial killer; Thomas H. Cook's retelling of a very familiar story, "Fatherhood"; and David K. Harford's Vietnam murder mystery "A Death on the Ho Chi Minh Trail". My favorite was Tom Franklin's "Poachers", a novella in the best tradition of southern fiction about three orphaned brothers without a chance. [If you like Franklin's work, I'd also recommend Lewis Nordan's novel "The Sharpshooter Blues".] What struck me most about this entire anthology was the depth of the authors' artistry. Not only can they tell a mean mystery, but they also create vivid, compelling characters who seem very lifelike. This is difficult enough in a novel, but in a short story it is the sign of an excellent writer indeed. I enjoyed this anthology so much that I made sure to get the subsequent year's, which I'm reading now. The only regret I had about this book was that editor Ed McBain did not contribute more--there is no McBain story, only a clever introduction. I highly recommend this book and I will definitely be looking for Tom Franklin's work again.
13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent anthology 9 Oct. 1999
By A Customer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This yearly collection of short stories in a rather short time (only the third annual anthology) has lived up to its title of being the best. The current collection includes a modern day who's who of American authors that run the gamut of the mystery genre and beyond. Each story works as an exciting entity all its own, but adds to the overall freshness of the collection.
Fans of short stories will love this anthology that includes works by Block, Deaver, Estleman, Gorman, Oates, Updike, etc. among the nineteen tales. 1999 THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES is a winning short story collection because the editors widen the genre barriers while including nineteen strong tales. There is not one loser among the contributions.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Try the other books in the Mystery Stories series 30 Dec. 2001
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format: Paperback
I was disappointed with most of the stories in this anthology. The first half of the book had me interested, but midway through the stories, my passion for them waned.
My favorite story in the group was the first one (BLIND LEMON by Doug Allyn). It was a moving story in which two strangers reunite ten years later after getting their friend killed. Due to guilt as well as fear, they both go their separate ways trying to escape the tragedy. They see each other at a bar where one of them is performing. The story was very poignant and heartfelt. I wish Mr. Allyn success with his other works.
My main disappointment was with Jonathan Kellerman's THE THINGS WE DO FOR LOVE. It was a good story and it could have been a surprise to the reader. Unfortunately, it is in a book about mysteries. If things seem a little too ordinary three quarters of the book, then there must be a twist somewhere in the end. I think this story would have worked better in an anthology of love or family stories, as well as in a magazine guided towards women.
It is good to read short stories every once in a while to discover new and promising authors. As I previously stated, nothing really stands out in this particular anthology, however, I recommend the 1998 as well as the 1999 Best Mystery stories. You will find some pleasant surprises in them.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Why Only 19 Short Stories? 18 Mar. 2011
By Sylviastel - Published on
Format: Paperback
I read every single story in this one. There are many wonderful, good short stories with a twist, revelation, etc. in every one. I found them enjoyable when I was able to understand the writer's work. If you like mysteries, these books always provide a nice variety of writing styles and authors some known and some unknown.

1. "Keller's Last Refuge" by Lawrence Block
I thought that he should have retitled it "Panache" if you read it and understand why. A nice beginning story about a hitman.

2."Safe" by Gary A. Braunbeck
The story connects a horrifying massacre in the past to one in the present. That survivor's story is filled with guilt and grief of his own. I found this story to be edgy and daring. I really enjoyed it but hated the senseless crimes in it.

3."Fatherhood" by Thomas H. Cook
A great but sad story. It's told in first person about a man who marries the woman of his dreams and their son who only wanted to love his father. A good but predictable twist but not much sympathy for the narrator in this one.

4."Wrong Place, Wrong Time" by Jeffrey Deaver
It's about a crime in a Vermont town where a robbery has gone terribly wrong.

5."Netmail" by Brendan DuBois
A very interesting story about email blackmail going terribly wrong.

6."Redneck" by Loren D. Estleman
A mixed up couples murder taken place at the Alamo motel. It's an okay story.

7."And Maybe the Horse Will Learn to Sing" by Gregory Fallis
A wife hires a PI to follow her husband who she suspects his cheating. It has a nice twist in this one without anybody getting murdered or killed.

8."Poachers" by Tom Franklin
A memorable story about three Gates brothers in Alabama. The writing was very descriptive, detailed, and you felt like you were right there. A very good story.

9. "Hitting Rufus" by Victor Gischler
A small town in Mississippi hires a killer to take out Rufus. Surprisingly humorous and easy to follow about an entire town taking out a dictator-type character.

10."Out There in the Darkness" by Ed Gorman
A good story about vigilante that went wrong with four friends trying to stop burglars in the act. Without giving the story away, it reminds me of the film, "Deliverance," but it has it's own uniqueness with it.

11."Survival" by Joseph Hansen
A Bohemian man gets kidnapped by a white supremacist militia group in Idaho on the verge of terrorism. It's very good.

12."A Death in Ho-Chi Minh Trail" by David Hanford
An interesting mystery story about the murder of an American soldier in Vietnam on the Ho-Chi Minh trail. There are surprising twists in this one about what actually happened and why.

13."An Innocent Bystander" by Gary Krist
A man picks up a young hitch-hiker and takes her home for the night. The twist occurs with what happens later and I don't want to spoil what happens here. It's a good story and I didn't see the twist coming.

14."The Jailhouse Lawyer" by Phillip Margolin
The lawyer reminds you of Gerry Spence recalls the best lawyer wasn't an actual lawyer but a convict who became his own lawyer and the circumstances involving the crimes. Another twist that goes on that you won't see coming.

15."Secret,Silent" by Joyce Carol Oates
A clever story form writing genius, Joyce Carol Oates, about a young girl, Kathryn who embarks on a trip to Albany in upstate New York from her hometown to be interviewed at a college there. On the Greyhound bus ride, she meets Karla and strikes an unlikely friendship. Oates is very well known to be detailed and very organized in this story.

16."In Flanders Fields" by Peter Robinson
The setting for this story is World War II English village where Mad Maggie is found mysteriously murdered during an air raid. The main character determines to learn who killed her and why and stumbles on her madness. I found it interesting especially with World War I as part of the mystery.

17."Dry Whiskey" by David B. Silva
An adult son and his alcoholic father's relationship since the death of his mother from ovarian cancer. An interesting story but not surprising.

18."Sacrifice" by L.L. Thrusher
A sad story about a PI following a young distraught mother and her young daughter in California with disappointing results. A good but sad story.

19."Bech Noir" by John Updike
An unsuccessful writer gets back at scornful critics. It's an interesting story.
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