Published by Berkley on October 1, 1996
Genres: Mystery, Short Stories, Anthology
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Masters of mystery cast a suspicious eye on their own profession in this anthology featuring 20 stories by Michelle Knowlden, James Thurber, Bill Pronzini, Bill James, Robert Cenedella, Edward D. Hoch, John Nelson, Michael Z. Lewin, Michael Innes, Joseph Hansen, Carl Martin, and more!
Body language / Bill James
Once a writer ... / Robert Cenedella
Private eye who collected pulps / Bill Pronzini
Jane Austen murder / Michelle Knowlden
Macbeth murder mystery / James Thurber
Spy at the Crime Writers Congress / Edward D. Hoch
Lieutenant Harald and the Treasure Island treasure / Margaret Maron
Magwitch returns / John Nelson
The Hit / Michael Z. Lewin
Secret in the woodpile / Michael Innes
Woman's voice / Joseph Hansen
Something ventured / Carl Martin
In the bluebell wood / Julian Symons
Willie's last trip / Donald Olson
Learned adventure of the Dragon's head / Dorothy L. Sayers
Man who read Dashiell Hammett / William Brittain
Lord Chizelrigg's missing fortune / Robert Barr
Copper Peacock / Ruth Rendell
World according to Uncle Albert / Penelope Wallace
With a smile for the ending / Lawrence Block
Like a lot of anthologies, Murder by the Book is a mixed batch. All the stories have some literary connection, whether it be books, or a character or is a writer or whatever, and most have a crime that needs solved. Several authors I’ve read before and was not surprised that their stories were good like Dorothy L. Sayers (even though I don’t think I’ll ever be a Wimsey fan), Edward D. Hoch, Margaret Maron, Bill Pronzini, and Lawrence Block. I really enjoyed the “Jane Austen Murder” mostly because the main character was a hoot. I will be on the lookout for more by Knowlden. In “A Women’s Voice,” Hansen did a great job of letting us get to know the characters, even though it’s a short story, and surprising me with the whodunnit. I didn’t care for “In the Bluebell Wood” or “Body Language.” Overall, though, I enjoyed the collection. I think I need to pick up a Halloween or Christmas anthology soon.
I tried reading the Lord Peter Wimsey series years ago and couldn’t get into it. I picked up Whose Body? on Prime Reading. I might try again, but I’m in no hurry.
I’ve read a few, but I just don’t care for him as much as other detectives. I did enjoy The Nine Tailors, partly because I learned so much about bell-ringing.
I never used to be a big fan of short stories / novellas. However I have recently read a couple, as requested by various publishers and have been pleasantly surprised by how much I have enjoyed them. I have never really given much thought to anthologies though, however this one does sound really good and features a few authors I have read myself and even more that I can remember my father reading several years ago. I am already a fan of Ruth Rendell and Dorothy L. Sayers and enjoy the style of narrative and dialogue written by some of the ‘classic’ authors.
Thanks for sharing and enjoy the rest of your week 🙂
It seems like most of the anthologies I read are mysteries. I do enjoy novella, especially around Halloween and Christmas.
I think I’d like this one. Whenever I read a short story collection some always tend to be hit or miss.
They usually are for me too. I imagine it’s hard to put together a collection where every one is excellent.