Top positive review
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Excellent, if slight, collection of Crime and Detection Shorts
on 25 July 2011
Phillip Pullman has chosen some excellent short stories for this attractively packaged collection. Designed with older children, teenagers and young adults in mind - obvious only in two puzzle sections and possibly the choice of an extract from 'Emil and the Detectives' - this book would appeal to anyone who enjoys crime and mystery stories.
Some old favourites appear. Whilst some, such as Arthur Conan Doyle's 'The Speckled Band', will doubtless be familiar to most readers, others probably won't be. Many of the biggest names of mystery fiction are covered: Agatha Christie (with a Poirot story, 'The Adventure of the Egyptian Tomb'), Dashiell Hammett (Sam Spade's most conventional detective story, 'They Can Only Hang You Once') and Dorothy L. Sayers (in fine form with 'The Inspiration of Mr Budd'). There are also stories of crisp deduction from Ellery Queen, roguish adventure from Leslie Charteris and the Saint, and intuition and lateral thinking from Isaac Asimov.
Pullman doesn't confine himself to the usual suspects, however, and there is also an Italian folktale and part of a memoir of a fingerprint expert recalling an unusual request. My personal favourite is 'Butch Minds the Baby', a beautifully deadpan tale of New York criminals.
Well worth buying for any teenagers you know who might be interested - or simply reading yourself.
Note this volume is sometimes also listed as `Whodunnit? Detective Stories' (with two'n's) and was previously called simply `Detective Stories'.