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.
"Let's put it straight, like a fist in the face: this treasure trove of more than 50 stories and novels offers the best value ever for fans of hard-boiled detective fiction. In the pulp magazine Black Mask (1920 1951), Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler made their bones, with Erle Stanley Gardner and other heavyweights at their heels. As Penzler (Agents of Treachery) notes in his intros to each selection, an amazing number of these writers moved on to movies and TV. Highlights include the complete The Maltese Falcon, the original version from the pulp, unreprinted for 80 years. (Hammett made a couple of thousand changes for the hardcover novel.) The novel Rainbow Diamonds, featuring Raoul Whitfield's Filipino detective Jo Gar, appears in a book for the first time. The iconic story 'Sail' by Lester 'Doc Savage' Dent shows up in a variant draft, preferred by the author. The only way Penzler can top this one--a bigger book of Black Mask! (Sept.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
The biggest, the boldest, the most comprehensive collection of Pulp writing ever assembled.
Weighing in at over a thousand pages, containing over forty-seven stories and two novels, this book is big baby, bigger and more powerful than a freight train--a bullet couldn't pass through it. Here are the best stories and every major writer who ever appeared in celebrated Pulps like Black Mask, Dime Detective, Detective Fiction Weekly, and more. These are the classic tales that created the genre and gave birth to hard-hitting detectives who smoke criminals like packs of cigarettes; sultry dames whose looks are as lethal as a dagger to the chest; and gin-soaked hideouts where conversations are just preludes to murder. This is crime fiction at its gritty best.
- Three stories by Raymond Chandler, Cornell Woolrich, Erle Stanley Gardner, and Dashiell Hammett.
- Complete novels from Carroll John Daly, the man who invented the hard-boiled detective, and Fredrick Nebel,
one of the masters of the form.
- A never before published Dashiell Hammett story.
- Every other major pulp writer of the time, including Paul Cain, Steve Fisher, James M. Cain, Horace McCoy, and many
many more of whom you've probably never heard.
- Three deadly sections-The Crimefighters, The Villains, and Dames-with three unstoppable introductions by Harlan Coben,
Harlan Ellison, and Laura Lippman
- Plenty of reasons for murder, all of them good.
- A kid so smart-he'll die of it.
- A soft-hearted loan shark's legman learning-the hard way-never to buy a strange blonde a hamburger.
- The uncanny Moon Man and his mad-money victims.
Here are 45 of the best stories and the major writers who ever appeared in celebrated pulps like "Black Mask, Dime Detective," and "Detective Fiction Weekly." These are the classic tales that created the genre and gave birth to hard-hitting detectives.
An unstoppable anthology of crime stories culled from Black Mask
magazine the legendary publication that turned a pulp phenomenon into literary mainstream.
Black Mask was the apotheosis of noir. It was the magazine where the first hardboiled detective story, which was written by Carroll John Daly appeared. It was the slum in which such American literary titans like Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler got their start, and it was the home of stories with titles like “Murder Is Bad Luck,” “Ten Carets of Lead,” and “Drop Dead Twice.” Collected here is best of the best, the hardest of the hardboiled, and the darkest of the dark of America’s finest crime fiction. This masterpiece collection represents a high watermark of America’s underbelly. Crime writing gets no better than this.
• Deadly Diamonds
• Dancing Rats
• A Prize Fighter Fighting for His Life
• A Parrot that Wouldn’t Talk
• Dashiell Hammett’s The Maltese Falcon as it was originally published
• Lester Dent's Luck in print for the first time
James Ellroy and Otto Penzler mined 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.
The best-selling and award-winning Laura Lippman edits a collection of the best mystery writing published in 2013 selected from hundreds of magazines, journals, books, and websites.
“With so many great authors contributing to this fiction collection . . . it doesnt take detecting skills to discover the gem. And every story dazzles . . . These stories, in prose both elegant and compelling, get to the heart of why people do what they do.” — USA Today
The Best American Mystery Stories 2014 will be selected by “writing powerhouse” (USA Today) Laura Lippman. With her popular Tess Monaghan series and her New York Times best-selling standalone novels, Lippman has greatly expanded the boundaries of modern mystery fiction and psychological suspense.
A treasure trove of a hundred years worth of the finest noir writing selected by James Ellroy
About the Author
Otto Penzler is the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop in New York City. He was publisher of The Armchair Detective
, the founder of the Mysterious Press and the Armchair Detective Library, and created the publishing firm Otto Penzler Books. He is a recipient of an Edgar Award for The Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection
and the Ellery Queen Award by the Mystery Writers of America for his many contributions to the field. He is the editor of The Vampire Archives
and The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps
, which was a New York Times
bestseller. He is also the series editor of The Best American Mystery Stories of the Year
. His other anthologies include Murder for Love
, Murder for Revenge
, Murder and Obsession
, The 50 Greatest Mysteries of All Time
, and The Best American Mystery Stories of the Century.
He wrote 101 Greatest Movies of Mystery & Suspense
. He lives in New York City.
Table of Contents
Introduction Keith Alan Deutsch
Come and Get It Erle Stanley Gardner
Cry Silence Fredric Brown
Arson Plus Peter Collinson
Fall Guy George Harmon Coxe
Doors in the Dark Frederick Nebel
Luck Lester Dent
The Maltese Falcon Dashiell Hammett
Ten Carats of Lead Stewart Sterling
Murder Is Bad Luck Wyatt Blassingame
Her Dagger Before Me Talmadge Powell
One Shot Charles G. Booth
The Dancing Rats Richard Sale
Bracelets Katherine Brocklebank
Diamonds Mean Death Thomas Walsh
Murder in the Ring Raoul Whitfield
The Parrot That Wouldn’t Talk Walter C. Brown
Let the Dead Alone Merle Constiner
Knights of the Open Palm Carroll John Daly
Waiting for Rusty William Cole
Rainbow Diamonds Ramon Decolta
The Ring on the Hand of Death William Rollins Jr.
Body Snatcher Theodore A. Tinsley
Murder on the Gayway Dwight V. Babcock
The Key Cleve F. Adams
The Bloody Bokhara William Campbell Gault
A Taste for Cognac Brett Halliday
Sauce for the Gander Day Keene
A Little Different W. T. Ballard
The Shrieking Skeleton Charles M. Green
Drop Dead Twice Hank Searls
The Sound of the Shot Dale Clark
Flaming Angel Frederick C. Davis
Odds on Death Don M. Mankiewicz
Those Catrini Norvell Page
Smoke in Your Eyes Hugh B. Cave
Blood, Sweat and Biers Robert Reeves
The Black Bottle Whitman Chambers
The Corpse Didn’t Kick Milton K. Ozaki
Try the Girl Raymond Chandler
Don’t You Cry for Me Norbert Davis
T. McGuirk Steals a Diamond Ray Cummings
Wait for Me Steve Fisher
Ask Me Another Frank Gruber
Dirty Work Horace McCoy
Merely Murder Julius Long
Murder in One Syllable John D. MacDonald
Three Apes from the East H. H. Stinson
Death Stops Payment D. L. Champion
The Color of Honor Richard Connell
Middleman for Murder Bruno Fischer
The Man Who Chose the Devil Richard Deming
Beer-Bottle Polka C. M. Kornbluth
Borrowed Crime Cornell Woolrich