Cover image for The best American mystery stories, 1999
The best American mystery stories, 1999
McBain, Ed, 1926-2005.
Publication Information:
Boston : Houghton Mifflin Company, 1999.
Physical Description:
xvii, 457 pages ; 22 cm
Keller's last refuge / Lawrence Block -- Safe / Gary A. Braunbeck -- Fatherhood / Thomas H. Cook -- Wrong time, wrong place / Jeffrey Deaver -- Netmail / Brendan DuBois -- Redneck / Loren D. Estleman -- And maybe the horse will learn to sing / Gregory Fallis -- Poachers / Tom Franklin -- Hitting Rufus / Victor Gischler -- Out there in the darkness / Ed Gorman -- Survival / Joseph Hansen -- A death on the Ho Chi Minh trail / David K. Harford -- An innocent bystander / Gary Krist -- The jailhouse lawyer / Phillip M. Margolin -- Secret, silent / Joyce Carol Oates -- In Flanders fields / Peter Robinson -- Dry whiskey / David B. Silva -- Sacrifice / L.L. Thrasher -- Bech noir / John Updike.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PS648.D4 B46 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf
PS648.D4 B46 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Open Shelf

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In its brief existence, THE BEST AMERICAN MYSTERY STORIES has established itself as a peerless suspense anthology. Compiled by the best-selling mystery novelist Ed McBain, this year's edition boasts nineteen outstanding tales by such masters as John Updike, Lawrence Block, Jeffery Deaver, and Joyce Carol Oates as well as stories by rising stars such as Edgar Award winners Tom Franklin and Thomas H. Cook. The 1999 volume is a spectacular showcase for the high quality and broad diversity of the year's finest suspense, crime, and mystery writing. "Keller's Last Refuge" by Lawrence Block, "Safe" by Gary A. Braunbeck, "Fatherhood" by Thomas H. Cook, "Wrong Time, Wrong Place" by Jeffery Deaver, "Netmail" by Brendan DuBois, "Redneck" by Loren D. Estleman, "And Maybe the Horse Will Learn to Sing" by Gregory Fallis, "Poachers" by Tom Franklin, "Hitting Rufus" by Victor Gischler, "Out There in the Darkness" by Ed Gorman, "Survival" by Joseph Hansen, "A Death on the Ho Chi Minh Trail" by David K. Harford, "An Innocent Bystander" by Gary Krist, "The Jailhouse Lawyer" by Phillip M. Margolin, "Secret, Silent" by Joyce Carol Oates, "In Flanders Fields" by Peter Robinson, "Dry Whiskey" by David B. Silva, "Sacrifice" by L. L. Thrasher, "Bech Noir" by John Updike

Author Notes

ED McBAIN holds the Mystery Writers of America's prestigious Grand Master Award and was the first American to receive the Diamond Dagger, the British Crime Writers' Association's highest award. The author of more than one hundred books, he lives in Connecticut. OTTO PENZLER is a renowned mystery editor, publisher, columnist, and owner of New York's The Mysterious Bookshop, the oldest and largest bookstore solely dedicated to mystery fiction. He has edited more than fifty crime-fiction anthologies.

Reviews 3

Publisher's Weekly Review

In compiling the third volume in this annual series, which is edited by Otto Penzler, McBain (the 87th Precinct procedurals) has included tales that fall outside strict genre definitions. The collection is richer for that wide range. "Survival," Joseph Hansen's deftly characterized 13th Hack Bohannon story, follows the stable-owner/PI into a racist compound in the Oregon woods. Held there on the eve of a major offensive, Bohannon interacts credibly with his captors: there's not one false note in the story. In David K. Harford's "A Death on the Ho Chi Minh Trail," Military Police Investigator Carl Hatchett finds out why there were no bullet holes in the shirt of an American soldier who was apparently killed in a firefight with the VC. Reminiscent of her novel Them, Joyce Carol Oates's "Secret Silent" delineates a wrenching 24-hour period in which a young woman separates from both the pull and the burden of her upstate New York family's limited expectations. Lawrence Block, Stephen King, Philip K. Margolin and John Updike are among the 17 other contributors to this compendium of highly accomplished stories drawn from a variety of sources, mystery-specific and not. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Booklist Review

Series editor Otto Penzler and guest editor Ed McBain have put together an outstanding lineup for this third entry in the annual Best American Mystery Stories series. Penzler's criteria for consideration are broad, basically covering any story that has a crime or the threat of a crime as its central issue, and the results are consistently entertaining. Highlights include Joseph Hansen's "Survival," pitting cowboy detective Hack Bohannon against a ragged, bizarre militia group in rural Idaho, and Phillip M. Margolin's "The Jailhouse Lawyer," an amusing tale, told entirely in dialogue, with a surprising twist. Less satisfying are two stories by "mainstream" authors Joyce Carol Oates and John Updike. One hesitates to say anything negative about Updike's story, though: it features the author's longtime protagonist, Henry Bech, systematically murdering the critics who've savaged him over the years. Fine introductions by Penzler and McBain, coupled with comprehensive author's notes at the end, make this an impressive package. An indispensable series for all crime-fiction collections. --George Needham

Library Journal Review

There is a certain amount of pressure inherent with using the word "best" in a book title, but this fine collection of tales measures up to its name. Editor McBain has chosen well for the third volume of this annual collection by including works that represent the myriad possibilities promised by the word "mystery." Since character development is difficult in such limited space, the story is the thing here, and most of the authors are immensely successful at delivering it. While not all the stories fit the formula of the classic whodunit, the variations on the mystery theme are interesting and many. Even in a work so generally well composed, a few stories stand out, including brilliant efforts from Jeffery Deaver and Ed Gorman. These outstanding works, along with those by favorites like Lawrence Block, Stephen King, and John Updike, make this essential for any library where mysteries are popular.√ĄCraig L. Shufelt, Lane P.L., Hamilton, OH (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



IntroductionThere used to be a time when a person could make a decent living writing crime stories. Back then, a hardworking individual could earn two cents a word for a short story. Three cents, if he was exceptionally good. It beat polishing spittoons. Besides, it was fun. Back then, starting a crime story was like reaching into a box of chocolates and being surprised by either the soft center or the caramel or the nuts. There were plenty of nuts in crime fiction, but you never knew what kind of story would come out of the machine until it started taking shape on the page. Like a jazz piano player, a good writer of short crime fiction didn't think he knew his job unless he could improvise in all twelve keys. Ringing variations on the theme was what made it such fun. Getting paid two or three cents a word was also fun. For me, Private Eye stories were the easiest of the lot. All you had to do was talk out of the side of your mouth and get in trouble with the cops. In the PI stories back then, the cops were always heavies. If it weren't for the cops, the PI could have solved a murder - any murder - in ten seconds flat. The cops were always dragging the PI into the cop shop to accuse him of having murdered somebody just because he happened to be at the scene of the crime before anybody else got there. Sheesh! I always started a PI story with a blonde wearing a tight shiny dress who, when she crossed her legs, you saw rib-topped silk stockings and garters taut against milky white flesh. Boy. Usually, she wanted to find her missing husband or somebody. Usually, the PI fell in love with her by the end of the story, but he had to be careful because you couldn't trust girls who crossed their legs to show their garters. A Private Eye was Superman wearing a fedora. The Amateur Detective was a private eye without a license. The people who came to the Am Eye were usually friends or relatives who never dreamed of going to the police with a criminal problem, but who couldn't afford to pay a private detective for professional help. So, naturally, they went to an amateur. They called upon a rabbi or a priest or the lady who was president of the garden club, or somebody who owned cats, or a guy who drove a locomotive on the Delaware Lackawanna, and they explained that somebody was missing or dead, and could these busy amateurs please lend a helping hand? Naturally, the garage mechanic, or the magician, or the elevator operator dropped everything to go help his friend or his maiden aunt. The Am Eye was smarter than either the PI or the cops because solving crimes wasn't his usual line of work, you see, but boy, was he good at it! It was fun writing Am Eye stories because you didn't have to know anything about criminal investigation. You just had to know all the station stops on the Delaware Lackawanna. Even more fun was writing an Innocent Bystander story. You didn't have to know anything at all to write one of those. An Inno Excerpted from The Best American Mystery Stories 1999 All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Ed McBainLawrence BlockGary A. BraunbeckThomas H. CookJeffery DeaverBrendan DuboisLoren D. EstlemanGregory FallisTom FranklinVictor GischlerEd GormanJoseph HansenDavid K. HarfordGary KristPhillip M. MargolinJoyce Carol OatesPeter RobinsonDavid B. SilvaL. L. ThrasherJohn Updike
Forewordp. ix
Introductionp. xiii
Keller's Last Refugep. 1
Safep. 28
Fatherhoodp. 66
Wrong Time, Wrong Placep. 77
Netmailp. 107
Redneckp. 125
And Maybe the Horse Will Learn to Singp. 139
Poachersp. 157
Hitting Rufusp. 201
Out There in the Darknessp. 212
Survivalp. 249
A Death on the Ho Chi Minh Trailp. 276
An Innocent Bystanderp. 320
The Jailhouse Lawyerp. 339
Secret, Silentp. 349
In Flanders Fieldsp. 369
Dry Whiskeyp. 397
Sacrificep. 410
Bech Noirp. 426
Contributors' Notesp. 449
Other Distinguished Mystery Stories of 1998p. 456