Saturday, February 22, 2014

Ellery Queen's 20th Anniversary Annual: Review

Ellery Queen's 20th Anniversary Annual is a collection of short stories that contains an example of nearly every mystery form in the genre--from pure puzzles to spy thrillers; from whodunnits to howdunnits to whydunnits. There are professional detectives and amateurs investigating crimes that cover the gamut from blackmail, theft, frame-up, and sabotage to the ultimate crime...murder. And our authors include well-known names such as Nicholas Blake, Paticia Highsmith and Helen McCloy as well as those unfamiliar to me like A. H. Z. Carr, Holly Roth, and J. F. Pierce. There are serious crime fiction pieces and even a send up of Ellery Queen himself in a lovely little story starring Celery Green.

Every story is a winner on one level or another and several are just flat-out amazing. My favorites are "The Purple Is Everything" by Dorothy Salisbury Davis (when a theft really isn't a theft), "The Washington Party Murder" by A. H. Z. Carr (where Sarah Burton, famous foreign correspondent, returns to Washington DC to discover what really happened the night her husband died), "The Cobblestones of Saratoga Street" (in which we learn the real reason Miss Augusta & Miss Louisa don't want the cobblestones removed), and "Murder Ad Lib" by Helen McCloy (in which Dr. Basil Willing picks up on a clever clue on a "dark and stormy night).  Four stars for the collection over all.

This book fulfills the "Short Story Collection" square on the Silver Vintage Bingo card.


fredamans said...

I used to read my grandparents old Ellery Queen mags they had in the basement. Those things were pretty old is all I knew, and we had to be careful, but I couldn't get enough of the little mysteries inside!
Love this review, it brings back old memories that I thought were forgotten.

Bev Hankins said...

This was definitely a good one...I read more of the Alfred Hitchcock collections when I was younger. But I did read a few Ellery Queen mags in mine time too.