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The Best American Noir of the Century
Synopses & Reviews
“Well worth its impressive weight in gold, it would be a crime not to have this seminal masterpiece in your collection.”—New York Journal of Books
In his introduction to The Best American Noir of the Century, James Ellroy writes, “Noir is the most scrutinized offshoot of the hard-boiled school of fiction. Its the long drop off the short pier and the wrong man and the wrong woman in perfect misalliance. Its the nightmare of flawed souls with big dreams and the precise how and why of the all-time sure thing that goes bad.” Offering the best examples of literary sure things gone bad, this collection ensures that nowhere else can readers find a darker, more thorough distillation of American noir fiction.
James Ellroy and Otto Penzler mined writings of the past century to find this treasure trove of thirty-nine stories. From noirs twenties-era infancy come gems like James M. Cains “Pastorale,” and its postwar heyday boasts giants like Mickey Spillane and Evan Hunter. Packing an undeniable punch, diverse contemporary incarnations include Elmore Leonard, Patricia Highsmith, Joyce Carol Oates, Dennis Lehane, and William Gay, with many page-turners appearing from the past decade.
“Delightfully devilish . . . A strange trek through the years that includes stories from household names in the hard-boiled genre to lesser-known authors who nonetheless can hold their own with the legends.”—Associated Press
James Ellroy is the author of the Underworld U.S.A. trilogy—American Tabloid, The Cold Six Thousand, and Bloods a Rover—and the L.A. Quartet novels, The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz. His most recent book is The Hillicker Curse, a memoir.
Otto Penzler is the founder of the Mysterious Bookshop and Mysterious Press, has won two Edgar Allan Poe Awards (most recently for The Lineup), and is series editor of The Best American Mystery Stories.
"Surprisingly, 20 of the 39 well-chosen stories published between 1923 and 2007 in this impressive crime anthology date to the last two decades, which may sound counterintuitive to casual readers who associate noir with the 1940s and 1950s. All the contributors excel at showing the omnipresence of the dark side of humanity in many different times and locales. In addition to names synonymous with noir such as Cornell Woolrich and Jim Thompson, Ellroy (Blood's a Rover) and Penzler (The Best American Mystery Stories) offer depressing fare from writers better known for other work, like David Morrell, whose first published story, 'The Dripping,' about the disappearance of a man's wife and daughter, is one of the book's best. Lesser-known authors also distinguish themselves, like Christopher Coake, whose reverse chronology in 'All Through the House' serves to heighten the suspense rather than dissipate it. (Oct.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
Ellroy and Penzler have mined 100 years of writing--1910-2010--for this treasure trove of 39 stories from such favorite authors as Mickey Spillane, Elmore Leonard, Patricia Highsmith, Dennis Lehane, and Joyce Carol Oates.
A treasure trove of a hundred yearsand#8217; worth of the finest noir writing selected by James Ellroy
An unparalleled treasury of American 19th century mystery fiction selected and introduced by Otto Penzler.
For the 100th anniversary of The Best American Short Stories series, a retrospective of stories selected by master of the form Lorrie Moore. The stories, along with one hundred years of behind-the-scenes anecdotes and decade-by-decade analysis, tell the history of American short fiction, showcasing representative moments in the series as well as literary moments in time.
A centennial retrospective selected by master of the form Lorrie Moore that showcases representative stories in the series as well as literary moments in time
One of our most beloved short story writers, Lorrie Moore introduces and chooses from more than two thousand stories the forty-one writers collected here. From Edna Ferber to George Saunders, and everyone in between: Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Faulkner, Cheever, Munro, Lahiri, Alexie, Diaz, to name just a few. Heidi Pitlor, in turn, recounts behind-the-scenes series anecdotes and gives a decade-by-decade examination of the trends captured by the series over a hundred years.
The earliest stories ushered in a new and unflinching realism, the Depression saw the reign of Southern writing, and a post-war trend toward sentimentality was upended by the likes of Philip Roth. Soon after, John Updike and Joyce Carol Oates began to probe the dark side of their era’s mythic happy family. The 1980s proved to be a golden age for short stories, and in the age of the Internet and the blogosphere, the tone is relaxed and its writers diverse. Taken together, the stories tell the history of American short fiction.
An unparalleled treasury of crime, mystery, and murder from the genres founding century
With stories by Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Mark Twain, Louisa May Alcott, L. Frank Baum, Edith Wharton, Stephen Crane, and Jack London, The Best American Mystery Stories of the Nineteenth Century is an essential anthology of American letters. Its a unique blend of beloved writers who contributed to the genre and forgotten names that pioneered the form, such as Anna Katharine Green, the godmother of mystery fiction, and the African-American writer Charles W. Chesnutt. Of course, Penzler includes “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” recognized as the first detective story, and with thirty-three stories spanning the years 1824-1899, nowhere else can readers find such a surprising, comprehensive take on the evolution of the American mystery story.
About the Author
OTTO PENZLER is a renowned mysteryandnbsp;editor, publisher, columnist, and owner ofandnbsp;New Yorkand#39;s The Mysterious Bookshop, the oldest and largest bookstores solely dedicated to mystery fiction.andnbsp;He andnbsp;has edited more than fifty crime-fiction anthologies.
James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948.andnbsp;His L.A. Quartet novelsand#8212;The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazzand#8212;were international bestsellers.andnbsp;His most recent book is Bloodand#8217;sandnbsp;a Rover.
Table of Contents
1824 • Washington Irving The Story of the Young Robber 1
1827 • William Leggett The Rifle 8
1834 • Nathaniel Hawthorne Mr. Higginbothams Catastrophe 30
1841 • Edgar Allan Poe The Murders in the Rue Morgue 42
1845 • Edgar Allan Poe The Purloined Letter 73
1846 • Abraham Lincoln Remarkable Case of Arrest for Murder 90
1850 • Daniel Webster The Fatal Secret 97
1862 • Thomas Bailey Aldrich The Danseuse 100
1865 • Louisa May Alcott A Double Tragedy: An Actors Story 112
1875 • Allan Pinkerton The Two Sisters; Or, The Avenger 132
1882 • Frank Stockton The Lady, or the Tiger? and The Discourager of Hesitancy 182
1883 • Mark Twain A Thumb-print and What Came of It 194
1888 • Ambrose Bierce My Favorite Murder 207
1889 • Charles W. Chesnutt The Sheriffs Children 215
1891 • Richard Harding Davis Gallegher 230
1892 • William Norr Round the Opium Lamp 256
1894 • Percival Pollard Lingo Dan 261
1895 • Rodrigues Ottolengui The Nameless Man and The Montezuma Emerald 270
1895 • Anna Katharine Green The Doctor, His Wife, and the Clock 292
1895 • William M. Hinkley A Very Strange Case 330
1895 • Mary E. Wilkins The Long Arm 343
1896 • Cleveland Moffett The Mysterious Card and The Mysterious Card Unveiled 371
1896 • Mark Twain Tom Sawyer, Detective 394
1896 • Melville Davisson Post The Corpus Delicti 445
1897 • L. Frank Baum The Suicide of Kiaros 470
1897 • Robert W. Chambers The Purple Emperor 482
1898 • Edward Bellamy At Pinneys Ranch 501
1898 • Stephen Crane The Blue Hotel 514
1899 • Edith Wharton A Cup of Cold Water 541
1899 • Nicholas Carter The Detectives Pretty Neighbor 565
1899 • Ellen Glasgow A Point in Morals 583
1899 • Jack London A Thousand Deaths 595
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