Synopses & Reviews
In his introduction to the The Best American Noir of the Century, James Ellroy writes, and#8220;noir is the most scrutinized offshoot of the hard-boiled school of fiction. Itand#8217;s the long drop off the short pier and the wrong man and the wrong woman in perfect misalliance. Itand#8217;s the nightmare of flawed souls with big dreams and the precise how and why of the all-time sure thing that goes bad.and#8221; 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, series editor of the annual The Best American Mystery Stories, mined one hundred years of writingand#8212;1910and#8211;2010and#8212;to find this treasure trove of thirty-nine stories. From noirand#8217;s twenties-era infancy come gems like James M. Cainand#8217;s and#8220;Pastorale,and#8221; and its post-war 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 in the last decade.
An unparalleled treasury of American 19th century mystery fiction selected and introduced by Otto Penzler.
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.
A treasure trove of a hundred yearsand#8217; worth of the finest noir writing selected by James Ellroy
In THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES OF THE CENTURY, best-selling author Tony Hillerman and mystery expert Otto Penzler present an unparalleled treasury of American suspense fiction that every fan will cherish. Offering the finest examples from all reaches of the genre, this collection charts the mystery's eminent history from the turn-of-the-century puzzles of Futrelle, to the seminal pulp fiction of Hammett and Chandler, to the mystery story's rise to legitimacy in the popular mind, a trend that has benefited masterly writers like Westlake, Hunter, and Grafton. Nowhere else can readers find a more thorough, more engaging, more essential distillation of American crime fiction.
Penzler, the Best American Mystery Stories series editor, and Hillerman winnowed this select group out of a thousand stories, drawing on sources as diverse as Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Esquire, Collier's and The New Yorker. Giants of the genre abound -- Raymond Chandler, Stephen King, Dashiell Hammett, Lawrence Block, Ellery Queen, Sara Paretsky, and others -- but the editors also unearthed gems by luminaries rarely found in suspense anthologies: William Faulkner, John Steinbeck, Damon Runyon, Harlan Ellison, James Thurber, and Joyce Carol Oates. Mystery buffs and newcomers alike will delight in the thrilling stories and top-notch writing of a hundred years' worth of the finest suspense, crime, and mystery writing.
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