Cover image for The world's finest mystery and crime stories : third annual collection
Title:
The world's finest mystery and crime stories : third annual collection
Author:
Gorman, Edward.
Edition:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Forge, 2002.
Physical Description:
640 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A Tom Doherty Associates book."
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780765302342

9780765302359
Format :
Book

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Summary

Summary

More than 200,000 words of great crime and suspense fiction
Each year, Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg, editors of "The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories," have reached farther past the boundaries of the United States to find the very best suspense from the world over. In this third volume of their series they have included stories from Germany, Belgium, and the United Kingdom as well as, of course, a number of fine stories from the U.S.A. Among these tales are winners of the Edgar Award, the Silver Dagger Award of the British Crime Writers, and other major awards in the field.
In addition, here are reports on the field of mystery and crime writing from correspondents in the U.S. (Jon L. Breen), England (Maxim Jakubowski), Canada (Edo Van Belkom), Australia (David Honeybone), and Germany (Thomas Woertche).
Altogether, with nearly 250,000 words of the best short suspense published in 2001, this bounteous volume is, as the Wall Street Journal said of the previous year's compilation, "the best value-for-money of any such anthology."
The A-to-Z of the authors should excite the interest of any mystery reader:
Robert Barnard - Lawrence Block - Jon L. Breen - Wolfgang Burger - Lillian Stewart Carl - Margaret Coel - Max Allan Collins - Bill Crider - Jeffery Deaver - Brendan DuBois - Susanna Gregory - Joseph Hansen - Carolyn G. Hart - Lauren Henderson - Edward D. Hoch - Clark Howard - Tatjana Kruse - Paul Lascaux - Dick Lochte - Peter Lovesey - Mary Jane Maffini - Ed McBain - Val McDermid - Marcia Muller - Joyce Carol Oates - Anne Perry - Nancy Pickard - Bill Pronzini - Ruth Rendell - S. J. Rozan - Billie Rubin - Kristine Kathryn Rusch - Stephan Rykena - David B. Silva - Nancy Springer - Jac. Toes - John Vermeulen - Donald E. Westlake - Carolyn Wheat.


Author Notes

Ed Gorman and Martin H. Greenberg have edited a number of anthologies, singly and together. Gorman is a Shamus Award winner for his own hard-boiled suspense; Greenberg has been behind numerous successful books, mystery and suspense, science fiction, and fantasy. Ed Gorman lives in Cedar Rapids, Iowa; Martin H. Greenberg lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin.


Reviews 2

Booklist Review

For mystery addicts, this anthology of crime stories, critical takes on the crime-writing scene, along with mystery genre lists galore, must serve as both a partial fix and a goad to read more. This is the third annual collection culled by mystery specialists Gorman and Greenberg. It follows much the same format and should enjoy the same plaudits as the first two. The year 2001 was marked by the distinction of having Mark Twain become a serious contender for an Edgar Award for his previously unpublished novel, A Murder, a Mystery, and a Marriage. The 39 stories presented here, including selections by stars such as Ed McBain, Lawrence Block, Joyce Carol Oates, Robert Barnard, and Ruth Rendell, show that crime fiction is alive and kicking and offer readers a sampling they would have only if they subscribed to various mystery magazines. Overviews of the mystery writing and publishing scene (this year, focusing on new technologies and new anxieties postterrorism) and World Mystery Reports (from experts in the UK, Australia, Canada, and Germany) enlarge the reader's perspective. And lists--of awards, books, movies, and reference works--abound. There is even a special section, «Mystery Fandom,» advising mystery readers of mystery magazines and conventions. Indispensable for mystery lovers. Connie Fletcher.


Publisher's Weekly Review

Editors Gorman and Greenberg serve up an impressive compendium of 42 short stories culled from magazines, newspapers and anthologies published last year. The 11 non-English entries tend to disappoint, with the notable exception of German writer Stephan Rykena's "Cold-Blooded," a clever tale about a determined refugee. Familiar names among the English contributors include Val McDermid, who spins a wry story of revenge in "The Wagon Mound," and Ralph McInerney, who plumbs human nature in his brilliant "The Devil That Walks at Noonday." Anne Perry, Gillian Linscott and Carole Nelson Douglas employ Shakespearean themes, while Sharyn McCrumb, Jon L. Breen and Daniel Stashower utilize Sherlockian material. Susan Isaac offers practically the only story with a light touch, "My Cousin Rachel's Uncle Murray." Mike Doogan turns Dashiell Hammett into a sleuth in "War Can Be Murder," while Lillian Stewart Carl's "A Mimicry of Mockingbirds" does the same for Thomas Jefferson. Essays assessing the state of the mystery in 2002 in the U.S., Britain, Canada and Germany provide both insights and plenty of suggestions for further reading pleasure. This is an entertaining and valuable guide to a strong and diverse genre. (Sept. 17) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Excerpts

Excerpts

The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories: 3 S. J. Rozan Double-Crossing Delancey     SHIRA ROZAN is quickly building to bestseller status with her novels and stories of Lydia Chin and Bill Smith. Rozan writes in a quirky, cutting-edge style all her own, telling tales of the big city that resonate with a humane skepticism appropriate to this nervous moment in our shared history. She has won the Shamus twice and the Anthony once. In "Double-Crossing Delancey," which first graced the pages of the anthology Mystery Street , Lydia sets up and takes down an inner-city smooth operator as only she knows how. Double-Crossing Delancey S. J. Rozan       I never trusted Joe Delancey, and I never wanted to get involved with him, and I wouldn't have except, like most people where Joe's concerned, I was drawn into something irresistible. It began on a bright June morning. I was ambling through Chinatown with Charlie Chung, an FOB--Fresh Off the Boat--immigrant from Hong Kong. We had just left the dojo after an early-morning workout. The air was clear, my blood was flowing, and I was ready for action. "Good work this morning," I told Charlie. I stopped to buy a couple of hot dough sticks from the lady on the corner, who was even fresher off the boat than Charlie. "You keep up that kind of thing, you'll be a rank higher by next year." I handed him a dough stick. "My treat." Charlie bowed his head to acknowledge the compliment and the gift; then he grinned. "Got big plans, next year, gaje ," he declared. "Going to college." In Cantonese, "gaje" means "big sister." I'm not related to Charlie; this was his Chinese way of acknowledging my role as his wise advisor, his guide on the path of life. I tried to straighten up and walk taller. "Really?" I asked. Charlie nodded. "By next year," he told me with complete confidence, "my English gets better, also my pockets fills up." In the dojo, Charlie and I practice kicks and punches on each other. Outside, Charlie practices his English on me. Sometimes it feels the same. Nevertheless, I said, "Your English is coming along, Charlie." "Practice make perfect," he grinned, confiding, "English saying." His eyes took on a distant look. "Maybe can put English saying in fortune cookie, sell to China. Make big money." Fortune cookies are unknown in China; they were invented by a Japanese man in New Jersey. "Not likely, Charlie. Chinese people are too serious about food." "You think this, gaje ?" A bus full of tourists pulled around the corner. Heads hung out windows and cameras pressed against faces. Charlie smiled and waved. "Probably right," Charlie went on. "I go look for one other way, make big money. Maybe import lychee nuts." I munched on my dough stick. "Lychee nuts?" He nodded. "In U.S.A., too much canned lychees. Too sweet, no taste, path!" "You can get fresh lychees here." "Saying fresh, but all old, dry, sour. Best lychees, can't find. Import best fresh lychees, sell like crazy." "You know, Charlie, that's not a bad idea." "Most idea of Charlie not bad idea! Plan also, import water buffalo. Pet for American children, better than dog." Sometimes Charlie worries me. I mean, if I'm going to be the guy's gaje , I have responsibilities. "The lychees may be a good idea, Charlie. The water buffalo is not." Charlie, his mouth full of warm, sweet dough, mumbled, "Not?" "Not." Charlie hasn't learned to shrug yet. He did what Chinese people have always done: he jutted his chin forward. "If you say, gaje. Before invest big money, asking you." "That's smart." "Maybe," Charlie grinned wickedly, "brother-in-law also come asking you, now." "Your sister's husband? He needs advice?" "Too late, advice. Brother-in-law one stupid shit." I winced. "Remember I told you there are some words you can learn but not say?" Charlie's brow furrowed. "Stupid?" I shook my head. "Oh." He grinned again, and blushed. "Okay. Brother-in-law one stupid jackass." I guessed that was better. "What did he do that was stupid?" "Brother-in-law buying two big crates, cigarettes lighters from China. Red, picture both sides of Chairman Mao." Charlie stopped on the sidewalk to bow elaborately. I wondered what both sides of Chairman Mao looked like. "Light cigarette, play 'East Is Red' same time." "Sounds great." "Cost brother-in-law twelve hundreds of dollars. Thinks, sell to tourists on street, make big bucks. When crates come, all lighters don't have fluid, don't have wick." "Oh, no." "Brother-in-law complain to guy sold him. Guy saying, 'Why you thinking so cheap? Come on, brother-in-law, I have fluid, I have wicks sell you.' Now brother-in-law sitting home filling lighters all night after job, sticking wicks in. Don't know how, so half doesn't work. Now, sell cheap, lose money. Sell expensive, tourist don't want. Also, brother-in-law lazy jackass. By tomorrow, next day, give up. Many lighters, no wick, no fluid, no bucks for brother-in-law." My eyes narrowed as I heard this story. Leaving aside Charlie's clear sense that no bucks was about what his brother-in-law deserved, I asked, "Who was the guy your brother-in-law bought these things from, do you know? Was he Chinese?" "Not Chinese. Some lo faan , meet on Delancey Street. Say, have lighters, need cash, sell cheap. I tell brother-in-law, you stupid sh--" Charlie swallowed the word. "--Stupid jackass, how you trust lo faan guy with ruby in tooth?" "Lo faan" means, roughly, "barbarian"; more broadly, it means anyone not Chinese. For emphasis Charlie tapped the tooth at the center of his own grin. "Charlie," I said, "I have to go. So do you, or you'll be late." Charlie works the eight-to-four shift in a Baxter Street noodle factory. "See you tomorrow morning." "Sure, gaje . See you." With another grin and a wave, Charlie was off to work. With shoulders set and purposeful stride, so was I.   These clear June mornings in New York wilt fast. It wasn't quite so bright or early, I had accomplished a number of things, and I was sweaty and flagging a little by the time I finally spotted Joe Delancey on Delancey Street. Delancey Street is the delta of New York, the place where the flood of new immigrants from Asia meets the river of them from the Caribbean and the tide from Latin America, and they all flow into the ocean of old-time New Yorkers, whose parents and grandparents were the last generation's floods and rivers and tides. Joe Delancey could often be found cruising here, looking for money-making opportunities, and I had been cruising for a while myself, looking for Joe. I stepped out in front of him, blocking his path on the wide sidewalk. "Joe," I said. "We have to talk." Joe rocked to a halt. His freckled face lit up and his green eyes glowed with delight, as though finding me standing in his way was a pleasure, and being summoned to talk with me was a joy he'd long wished for but never dared hope to have. "Lydia! Oh, exquisite pearl of the Orient, where have you been these lonely months?" "Joe--" "No, wait! Do not speak." He held up a hand for silence and tilted his head to look at me. "You only grow more beautiful. If we could bottle the secret of you, what a fortune we could make." I laughed; with Joe, though I know him, I often find myself laughing. "Do not vanish, I beg you," he said, as though I were already shimmering and fading. "Now that I have at long last found you again." " I was looking for you , Joe." He smiled gently. "Because Fate was impatient for us to be together, and I too much of a fool to understand." He slipped my arm through his and steered me along the sidewalk. "Come. We shall have tea, and sit a while, and talk of many things." We reached a coffee shop. Joe gallantly pulled open the door. As I walked in past him he grinned, and when he did the ruby in his front tooth glittered in the sun. I'd once asked him what the story was on the ruby in his tooth. His answer started with a mundane cavity, the kind all of us get. Because it was in the front, Joe's dentist had suggested filling it and crowning it. "In those days, I was seeing an Indian girl," Joe had said, making it sound like sometime last century. "A Punjabi princess, a sultry beauty with a ruby in her forehead. She gave me one that matched it, as a love token. When the embers of our burning affair had faded and cooled--" "You mean, when you'd scammed her out of all you could get?" "--I had Dr. Painless insert my beloved's gift in my tooth, where it would ever, in my lonely moments, remind me of her." I hadn't fully believed either the ruby or the story, and I thought Joe Delancey's idea of what to do with a love token was positively perverse. But though I'm a licensed private investigator, I'm also a well-brought-up Chinese girl, and I hadn't known the Punjabi princess. I'd just looked at my watch and had some place to be. Now, on this June morning, Joe waved a waiter over and ordered tea and Danishes. "Tea in a pot ," he commanded, "for the Empress scorns your pinched and miserly cups." He turned to me with a thousand-watt smile. "Anything your heart desires, oh beauteous one, within the limited powers of this miserable establishment, I will provide. Your money is no good with Joe. A small price to pay for the pleasure of your company." I wasn't surprised that Joe was buying. That was part of his system, he'd once confided cheerfully Always pay for the small things. You get a great reputation as a generous guy, cheap. In Joe's business that was a good investment. "Joe," I began when the tea had come, along with six different Danishes, in case I had trouble deciding which kind I wanted, "Joe, I heard about the lighters." "Ah," Joe said, nodding. "You must mean Mr. Yee. An unfortunate misunderstanding, but now made whole, I believe." "You believe no such thing: The guy's stuck with a garage full of garbage and no way to make up his investment. You've got to lay off the new immigrants, Joe." "Lydia. My sweet. Where you see new immigrants, I see walking gold mines. And remember, darling, never was honest man unhorsed by me." "Aha. So you're known around here as 'Double-crossing Delancey' for no reason." "Sticks and stones." He sighed. "Oh, Joe. These people are desperate. It's not fair for you to take advantage of them." "Taking advantage of people is inherently unfair," he reflected, lifting a prune Danish from the pile. "And you can be sure each recently come representative of the huddled masses with whom I have dealings believes himself , at first, to be taking advantage of me ." "Still," I tried again. "You took twelve hundred dollars from this guy Yee. It's a lot of money." "Fifteen hundred, with the fluid and the wicks," Joe corrected me. "He stands to make quite a lot more than that, with the right marketing plan." "Marketing plan? Joe, the guy's a waiter!" "And looking to better himself. An ambition to be commended." I sighed. "Come on, Joe. Why don't you pick on someone your own size?" Joe bit into his pastry. "My ancestors would spin in their graves. Surely you, a daughter of a culture famous for venerating the honorable ancestors, can understand that. This street, you know, is named for my family." I suspected the reverse was closer to the truth, but held my tongue. "It is peopled, now as ever, with newly minted Americans seeking opportunity. For a Delancey, they are gift-wrapped presents, Christmas trinkets needing only to be opened." "You're a rat, Joe." "Not so. In fact, I detect in you a deep appreciation of my subtle art." "You're reading me wrong." "If so, why are you smiling? My glossy-haired beauty, I make my living reading people. I'm rarely wrong. It's you who're in the wrong profession. You have a great future elsewhere." "You mean, doing the kind of work you do?" "I do. With me beside you singing in the wilderness." I sliced off a forkful of cherry Danish. Joe, by contrast, had his entire pastry in his hand and was gouging half-moon bites from it. "Not my calling, Joe," I said. "I disagree. You have all the instincts. You could have been one of the greats--and owed it all to me. I'd have been famous, mentor to the renowned Lydia Chin." He sighed, then brightened. "The offer's still open." "I don't like cheating people." A gulp of tea, a shake of the head, and the retort: "Thinning the herd, darling. I only take from beggars: people who beg me to." An old line of Joe's I'd heard before. "I know, Joe. 'You can't catch a pigeon unless he sits still.'" "Damn correct." "That doesn't mean he wants to be caught." "Wrong, oh glorious one. None of the people from whom I earn my bread will ever be rich, the brains to keep away from the likes of me being the minimal criteria for financial success. I at least offer them, though for but a fleeting moment, the warm and fuzzy sense that they might someday reach that dream." "And you're doing them a favor?" "Oh, I am, I am. Deep down, they know that fleeting moment is all they'll ever have, and they beg me to give them that. At least that. At most that. Joe, they say in their hearts--" "Oh, stop it, Joe," I said in my mouth. "I've heard it before. And what about your Punjabi princess? Wasn't she rich?" "You shock me, my sweet. Surely you cannot favor the grasping retention of unearned, inherited, caste-based wealth?" "When the other choice is having it conned out of people by someone like you, I might." "You cut me to the quick, my gorgeous friend. It pains me to feel your lack of respect for my ecological niche. Therefore let's cease talking about me and discuss you. How goes it with you? The detecting business treating you well?" Joe winked and attacked his Danish. I sipped my tea. Around us bustled people making a living and people taking time out from making a living. I watched them and I watched Joe and finally I spoke. "Well, I have to admit that whoever told me this was no way to get rich was right." "Wasn't that me?" "Among others, maybe." "I know I did. I thought, and think, you had, and have, chosen the wrong path. But enough of that. If the detecting of crime doesn't pay, what ecological niche do you propose to fill?" I cut more Danish. "Oh, I'm not giving up the investigating business. But I do have to supplement it from time to time." "And with what?" "This and that. Nothing fun. A friend of mine came up with an idea this morning that sounded good, but then I thought about it. I don't know." "And that would be what?" "Lychee nuts." "Lychee nuts? You intend to build your fortune on, excuse me, lychee nuts?" "Well, exactly. He thinks it's a great idea, but I'm not sure. On the one hand, the best fresh lychees are hard to find in the U.S., and very big among Chinese people. You can get them canned, but they don't taste anything like the real thing. The fresh ones they import are third-rate. Premium fresh lychees, the best China has to offer, are very scarce and valuable." "Really?" Joe sounded thoughtful. "How valuable is valuable?" "Oh, not worth your time, Joe, not in your league. People would pay a lot, but they're expensive to import. You couldn't sell them down here. Just uptown, in the really fancy food shops." The waiter, to my surprise, had not only actually brought us our tea in a pot, but now replaced it with a fresh one. It's sometimes amazing what Joe can convince people to do. I filled both our cups. "You know, all those uptown Chinese doctors and investment bankers, the ones who buy raspberries in January and asparagus in November. They'd pay a fortune, if the lychees were really good. But the import business, I don't think I'm cut out for it." Lifting his freshly filled cup, Joe asked, "Is there none of this fabulous commodity on offer as we speak in New York, food capital of the world?" "There's only one shop, actually just down Delancey about a block, that sells the big, premium ones. Really fresh and sweet, perfumey-tasting. Go ahead, make a face. Chinese people think of this stuff like caviar." "Do they really? Then why not go for it?" "Oh, I don't know. If I could get my hands on lychees from India, it might be worth it." "They are thought to be special, Indian lychees?" "I've actually never had one. They don't export them at all." "Why not?" "Some government restrictions, I don't know. But if I could sell those ... on the other hand, this whole import thing probably isn't right for me." I finished off my Danish, drained my tea. "You sure you won't reconsider your marks, Joe?" Flashing the ruby again, Joe said, "Perhaps if you, oh stunning one, reconsider my offer." I smiled too. "Not in this lifetime. Well, I tried. Thanks for the snack, Joe. I have to go." "There are Danishes yet untouched." Joe pointed to the pile of pastries still on the plate. "I've had enough," I said. "More would be greedy. And I know what happens to greedy people when they get around you." Joe bowed his head, as Charlie had, to acknowledge the compliment. He stood when I did, and remained standing as I worked my way to the door, but then he sat again. As I left he was ordering more tea and reaching for a blueberry Danish. From the distant, dreamy look in his eyes I could tell he was searching for an angle on the lychee nut situation. I wondered if he'd find it.     Four days later, on the phone, I heard from Joe again. "I must see you," he said. "I yearn." "Oh, please, Joe." "No, in truth. Actually I can help you." "Do I need help?" "You do. Let me provide it." "Why don't I trust you? Oh, I remember--you're a con man." "Lydia! This is your Joe! My motives in this instance are nefarious, it's true, but not in the way you think. One: I can be with you, motive enough for any man. Two: We can both make money, motive enough for any man or woman. And three: You can see how smart your Joe is, and perhaps be moved to reconsider my previous offer. Motive enough, by itself, for Joe." "That one's not likely." "Let me buy you a refreshing beverage and we can discuss the issue." It was a soggy afternoon, and I was, as we delicately say in the detecting business, between cases. My office air conditioner thinks if it makes enough noise I won't notice it actually does nothing useful, but I'd noticed. I'd finished paying my bills and had been reduced to filing. I gave up, locked up, and went out to meet Joe.   Joe's meeting place of choice was a bench in Sara Roosevelt Park just north of Delancey Street. The refreshing beverage was a seltzer for me and an orange soda for him from the cart with the big beach umbrella. Joe's Cheshire-cat smile was not explained until we sat side by side, and with a flourish, he poured into my lap the contents of the paper bag he'd been carrying. The ruby flashed as I picked up one of a pair of the biggest, most flawless, most perfect fresh lychees I'd ever seen. "Where did these come from?" I marvelled. "Are you pleased, oh spectacular one? Has not your Joe done grandly?" "Where did you get them?" I asked again. They were the size of tennis balls, which for a lychee is enormous. "Sample one, my queen," said Joe. "May I really?" "They are for you, to lay at your feet. In the spirit of full disclosure, I admit there were originally three. I tried one myself and am left to conclude only that Chinese tastebuds and Irish tastebuds must have been created with irreconcilable differences." "You didn't like it?" I bit into the lychee. It was firm and juicy, sweet and spicy, good beyond my wildest lychee dreams. As I dabbed a trickle of juice from my chin, I wondered if Charlie had ever had one like it. "Your verdict, please," Joe demanded. "Is this the lychee that will make us rich?" "This is a great lychee, Joe," I said warily. "Totally top-notch, super-duper, one of the best. Where are they from?" Joe had been leaning forward watching me as though I were a race in which he had bet the rent on a horse. Now he leaned back, laced his fingers behind his head, and stretched his legs. He grinned through the leafy canopy at the blue June sky. "The Raj," he said. "The star of Empire, the jewel in the crown. These are lychees from India, oh joy of my heart." I stared. "You're kidding." He spoke modestly, as befitted a man who had performed a miracle. "Procuring them was not a simple matter, even for your Joe. As you yourself stated so accurately, India does not as a matter of course export its lychees. But having been nearly engaged to a Punjabi princess does have its uses." "You're not telling me her family still even speaks to you? They're willing to do business with you?" Joe shuddered. "Heavens, no. Her male relatives would long since have sliced my throat, or other even more valuable parts of my person, had not my princess retained a soft spot for old Joe in her heart of hearts. But not all Indians of my acquaintance bear my former beloved's family good will, and the enemy of my enemy is, after all, my friend." This was baroque enough to be pure Joe. "So you talked some other, what, Indian of your acquaintance into smuggling these for you? As a way to get back at your princess's family for whatever they were mad at them for?" "Something like that. More important than those inconsequential details is the fact that there are, apparently, many more lychees where these came from." "Is that a fact?" "It is. And the fate of those lychees was quite a topic of conversation between myself and my South Asian acquaintances. We have, I am pleased to say, come close to a meeting of the minds. Of course," Joe paused significantly, "we also discussed remuneration, some serious compensation for their trouble, which will apparently include a certain amount of baksheesh to establish a home for blind customs officials." "Really?" I asked. "How much did you promise them?" Joe sent me a sideways glance. "I haven't, yet. That's why I needed to speak to you." "Me? Why?" "Well, putting aside my need for your mere nearness--" "Say that again." "What? My need for your mere nearness?" "A great phrase, Joe. I just wanted to hear it twice. Go on." He gave me an indulgent smile. "In any case: It is you and you alone who can set a price on these beauties. One beauty knowing another. What will your uptown Chinese pay? What shall I say we, therefore, will pay?" "We?" "We, oh shining vision! You and I! Your dream of riches! We shall reach the golden shore together. Whatever you say they're worth, I shall put up half. No questions asked. If you tell me these things will make us wealthy, then wealthy they will make us." He lifted the remaining lychee from my lap, flipped it high in the air, leaned forward and caught it behind his back. Tossing it again he listed like a sailboat in the wind, then looked around wildly for the lychee as though he'd lost it. Just before it beaned him, he reached up, caught it, and produced it with a flourish. I burst out laughing. "Do I entertain you?" Joe's eyes shone like the eyes of a puppy thrilled that its new trick had gone over well. "You do. But what really makes me laugh is the idea of going into business with you." "But Lydia! This is nearly legit! There's the small matter of Indian export regulations, to be sure, but that aside, just look how far I've compromised my principles. I'm proposing to involve the Delancey name in a venture almost honest, for the sake of this dream, your dream. Oh, the ancestors! Surely you can bend your principles too?" "Joe," I said sweetly, "read my lips. I will not do business with you. Legit or shady, risky or insured by Lloyd's of London. I'm more amazed than I can tell you that you found a source for Indian lychees, but I will not invest in any scheme that comes attached to you." Joe looked at the lychee in his hand. He flipped it in the air, not nearly as high as before. "Time," he said to it. "She needs time to consider." He caught it, tossed it again. "The idea is new, that's all. Once she's sat with it for a day, the rightness of it will become clear to her. The inevitability. The kismet-- " He stopped short as I leaned over and snatched the lychee in mid-descent. "Thanks, Joe. I have a friend who'll enjoy this." I gave him my brightest smile, not quite a thousand watts but as many as I had. "Good luck with Indian customs." I stood and walked away, leaving Joe looking puzzled and forlorn on a bench in Sara Roosevelt Park.   I had told Joe I wouldn't do business with him. This did not mean, however, that nothing he did was of interest to me. In dark glasses and big floppy hat, I was up and out early the next morning, plying my own trade on Delancey Street. One thing you could say for Joe: He did not, as did many people in his line of work, yield to the temptation to indulge in layabout ways. Joe's work was despicable, but he worked hard. I picked him up just after nine A.M. and tailed him for nearly three hours, waiting in doorways and down the block while he went in and out of stores, sat in coffee shops, met people on park benches. Finally, at a hole-in-the-wall called Curry in a Hurry, he was joined at a sidewalk table by a turbaned, bearded fellow who drank a lassi while Joe wolfed down something over rice. They spoke. Joe shrugged. The other man asked a question. Joe shook his head. Watching them from across the street, I was reminded that I was hungry. Luckily, their meeting was brief. When the turbaned gentleman left while Joe was still wolfing, I abandoned my pursuit of Joe and followed. After a bit of wandering and some miscellaneous shopping, the turbaned gentleman entered a four-story building on the corner of Hester and Delancey. An aluminum facade had been applied to the building's brick front sometime in the sixties to spiff the place up. Maybe it had worked, but the sixties were a long time ago. I gave the gentleman a decent interval, then crossed to the doorway and scanned the names on the buzzers. They were many and varied: Wong Enterprises; La Vida Comida; Yo Mama Lingerie. The one that caught my eye, though, was Ganges, Ltd. That was it for a while. Now I had to wait until Charlie got off work at four. I hoped the staff of Ganges, Ltd., was as assiduous as most immigrants, putting in long hours in the hope of making their fortunes. Right now, having put in some fairly long hours myself, I headed off down Delancey Street in the hope of lunch.   At twenty past four, with Charlie at my side, I was back on the corner of Hester and Delancey, pressing the button for Ganges, Ltd. After the back-and-forth of who and what, the buzzer buzzed and we were in. Ganges, Ltd., occupied a suite on the second floor in the front, from which the swirling currents of life in the delta could be followed. A sariwrapped woman in the outer office rose from her desk and led us into the private lair of the turbaned gentleman I had had in my sights. The nameplate on his desk made him out to be one Mr. Rajesh Shah. "Thank you for seeing us without an appointment, Mr. Shah," I said. I sat in one of the chairs on the customer's side of the desk and Charlie took the other. Rajesh Shah had stood to shake our hands when we came in; now he sat again, eyebrows raised expectantly. His white turban and short-sleeved white shirt gleamed against his dark skin. "I'm sure you're a very busy man and I don't mean to be impolite, popping in like this," I went on, "but we have some business to discuss with you. I'm Lydia Chin; perhaps you've heard of me." Shah's bearded face formed into an expression of regret. "It is I who find, to my despair, that I am in a position to be impolite. Your name is not, alas, familiar. A fault of mine, I am quite sure. Please enlighten me." Well, that would be like Joe: giving away as little as possible, even to his business partner. Controlling the information minimizes the chance of error, misstep, or deliberate double-cross. As, for example, what Charlie and I were up to right now. On a similar principle, I introduced Charlie by his first name only. Then I launched right into the piece I had come to say. "I believe you're acquainted with Joe Delancey." Shah smiled. "It is impossible to be doing business in this neighborhood and not make the acquaintance of Mr. Delancey." "It's also impossible to actually do business with Mr. Delancey and come out ahead." "This may be true," Shah acknowledged, noncommittal. "Believe me, it is." I reorganized myself in the chair. "Mr. Delancey recently offered me a business proposition which was attractive," I said. "Except that he's involved in it. I won't do business with him. But if you yourself are interested in discussing importing Indian lychee nuts, I'm prepared to listen." Rajesh Shah's eyebrows went up once again. He looked from me to Charlie. "The Indian government is forbidding the export of lychee nuts to the U.S.A. This is until certain import restrictions involving Indian goods have been reevaluated by your government." "I know the U.S. doesn't get Indian lychees," I said. "Like most Chinese people, Indian lychees have only been a legend to me. But Joe gave me a couple yesterday. They were every bit as good as I'd heard." I glanced at Charlie, who smiled and nodded vigorously. "Joe also gave me to understand you had found a way around the trade restrictions." "You are a very blunt speaker, Miss Chin." "I'm a believer in free speech, Mr. Shah, and also in free trade. It's ridiculous to me that lychees as good as this should be kept from people who would enjoy them--and would be willing to pay for them--while two governments who claim to be friendly to each other carry on like children." Shah smiled. "I myself have seven children, Miss Chin. I find there is a wisdom in children that is often lacking in governments. What do you propose?" "I propose whatever Joe proposed, but without Joe." "This will not please Mr. Delancey." "Pleasing Mr. Delancey is low on my list of things to do. You have to decide for yourself, of course, whether the money we stand to make is worth getting on Joe's bad side for." "As to that, Mr. Delancey may be ubiquitous in this neighborhood, but he is in no way omnipotent." Charlie had been following our English with a frown of intense concentration. Now his eyes flew wide. I smothered my smile so as not to embarrass him, and made a mental note to teach him those words later. "Charlie here," I said to Shah, "has some money he's saved. Not a lot of money, I have to warn you, just a few thousand. Joe talked about putting up half: I think you'll have to assume more of the responsibility than that." Shah gave a thoughtful nod, as though this were not outside the realm of possibility. I went on, "What we can really bring to the deal is a distribution network. Well," I reflected, "that's probably a little fancy. What I mean is, I assume the cost of bringing these lychees in would be high, and so the sale price would have to be high for us to make a profit." Rajesh Shah nodded, so I went on. "Then you couldn't sell them on the street in Chinatown. People down here don't have that kind of money. But in the last few days--since Charlie first proposed this lychee idea, and before I knew about the Indian ones--I've done some looking around. There are a number of stores in fancy neighborhoods that are interested. Because I'm Chinese, they'll assume our lychees are from China. I'm sure you and Joe had already figured out a way to fake the paperwork." Shah had the grace to blush. Then he smiled. "Of course." "Well, then," I said. "What do you think?" "Let me be sure I am understanding you," Shah said. "What you are proposing is that your associate"--a nod to Charlie--"invest his modest sum and receive a return commensurate with that investment. You yourself would act as, I believe the expression is, 'front woman'?" "I guess it is." "And you would be receiving, in effect, a salary for this service." "Sounds right." "And Mr. Delancey would have no part in any of this." "That's not only right, it's a condition." Rajesh Shah nodded a few times, his gaze on his desk blotter as though he was working something out. "I think," he said finally, "that this could be a successful proposition. Mr. Charlie," he asked, "how much of an investment are you prepared to make?" Since the talk of money had begun, Charlie had looked increasingly fidgety and anxious. This could have been fatigue from the strain of focusing on all this English; it turned out, though, to be something else. Something much worse. "Money," he mumbled, in an almost-inaudible, un-Charlie-like way. "Really, don't have money." Shah looked at me. I looked at Charlie. "The money you saved," I said. "You have money put away for college. We talked about using some of that." Charlie's face was that of a puppy that hadn't meant to get into the garbage and was very, very sorry. I wondered in passing why all the men I knew thought dog-like looks would melt my heart. His beseeching eyes on mine, Charlie said, "You remember jackass brother-in-law?" I nodded. "Brother-in-law takes money for next great idea." "Charlie. You let you brother-in-law have your money?" Charlie's chin jutted forward. "In family account." This was a very Chinese method of keeping money: in a joint account that could be accessed by a number of different family members. I wasn't surprised to hear that Charlie's brother-in-law was able to help himself. But: "He had the nerve? To take the joint money? After the disaster with the lighters?" Rajesh Shah looked confused. Joe must not have shared the story of his triumphant swindle of jackass brother-in-law. But that wasn't my problem at the moment. Charlie was nodding. "Brother-in-law have big money-making idea. Need cash, give to cousin." "And what did your cousin do with it?" "Cousin not mine. Cousin his," Charlie rushed to assure me. This was a distinction Charlie had learned in America. In a Chinese family the difference is nonexistent: Relations are relations, at whatever distance. " His cousin," I said, my tone reflecting growing impatience. "What did his cousin do with your money?" "Comes from China," he said. "Comes from China, brings ..." Charlie petered out. I finally had to demand, "Brings what?" Brought what, Lydia, I silently corrected myself. Or, bringing what. Even in the face of stress and strain, standards must be maintained. "What, Charlie?" In a voice as apologetic as his face, Charlie answered, "Bear gall." I counted to ten. When I spoke, my tone was ice. "Your cousin--no, all right, his cousin--brought bear gall from China into the U.S.?" Charlie nodded miserably. Rajesh Shah spoke. "Excuse me, I am sorry, please: What is bear gall?" My eyes still on Charlie, I answered, "It's gooey brown stuff from the gall bladders of bears. Certain uneducated, foolish, ignorant Chinese people think it has medicinal properties. It doesn't, and besides that it's very painful to the bears to have it collected, and besides that , it's illegal to bring it into this country." Charlie stared at the floor and said nothing. "How much, Charlie?" I asked. "How much did he bring?" Charlie mumbled something I couldn't hear. Rajesh Shah also leaned forward as I demanded again, "How much?" Just barely louder, Charlie said, "Four pounds." "Four pounds!" I exploded. "That could get him put away for twenty years! And your jackass brother-in-law. And you , Charlie!" "Me?" Charlie looked up quickly. "I don't know they doing this! Just brother-in-law, his cousin!" "Tell that to the judge," I said disgustedly. "Judge?" Charlie's eyes were wide. I didn't bother to explain. "I say this," Charlie said, shaking his head slowly. "I say, stupid guys, now what you think? Selling bear gall on street? Sign, big characters, 'Bear gall here'? But brother-in-law say, so much bear gall, make twenty thousand of bucks, send Charlie to college. Someone in family get to be smart, then everyone listen smart guy." "Sounds to me like in your family it's too late for that." "Excuse me." This was Rajesh Shah again. I frowned and Charlie blushed, but we both turned to him. It was, after all, his office. "I must admit surprise on hearing these numbers. Four pounds of this bear gall can bring twenty thousand dollars, actually?" "Probably more," I grumbled. "If it's a well-known brand, people will pay close to five hundred dollars an ounce in this country because it's so hard to get. Because it's illegal ," I snarled in Charlie's direction. "Because you can get arrested and put in jail for selling it. Or deported . Does your brother-in-law know that?" "Brother-in-law know very little, I think. But say, know guy, going buy. Then brother-in-law, cousin, don't have bear gall, don't get arrested. Jeff Yang, on Mott Street?" "Jeff Yang?" The words came slowly from my mouth. "Your brother-in-law is dealing with Jeff Yang?" "Not dealing yet. Doesn't really know guy," he admitted. "Just hear guy buys bear gall." "Jeff Yang," I said, emphasizing each word, as though I'd just discovered Charlie was a slow learner, "is the scum of the earth. I went to grade school with him, Charlie. I've known him forever. He used to steal other kids' lunch money. He'd sell you his grandmother if he could get a good price. Charlie, listen to me. You will not do business with Jeff Yang. Your brother-in-law, your cousin, his cousin, your kitchen god, nobody will do business with Jeff Yang. You will go home and flush this disgusting stuff down the toilet immediately." Charlie looked stricken. I stood. "Well, so much for our plan, Charlie," I said. "Come on. Mr. Shah, I'm sorry we wasted your time." Shah stood also. Reluctantly, so did Charlie. "It is unfortunate we cannot do business," Shah said. He smiled in a kindly way at Charlie, then returned his gaze to me. "I must tell you, though, Miss Chin, that my door will continue to be open, if other possibilities occur to you." "I don't think so," I said. "No offense, Mr. Shah, but I should have known better than to get involved in anything Joe Delancey had any part of. It can only lead to things like this, and worse." Without a look at Charlie, I swept to the door and yanked it open. I nodded to the woman in the sari, crossed her office, and stomped down the stairs. Charlie, with the look of a beaten pup, followed after. The dog thing got him nowhere.   I was in my office early the next morning, stuffing papers in files and thinking I should sell my air conditioner to Joe Delancey because it was a con artist, too--or maybe I could palm it off on Charlie's brother-in-law--when the phone rang. Picking it up, I snapped, "Lydia Chin Investigations," in two languages. Then, because whoever this was might not deserve to be snapped at, I added more politely, "Lydia Chin speaking. Can I help you?" "I think you can," said a male voice from the other end. "How're you doing, Lydia? This is Jeff Yang." Maybe the snapping hadn't been such a bad idea. "Jeff," I said. "Good-bye." "No," came the instant response. "Not until you hear the proposition." "I can imagine," I said, because I could. "No." "You can make money and keep your friends out of trouble," Jeff said. "Or you can not make money, and they can get in trouble. What'll it be?" An echo in Jeff's voice told me I was on the speakerphone in his so-called office, really a tiny room behind a Mott Street restaurant, and not a very good restaurant at that. Well, two could play that game. I punched my own speakerphone button and dropped into my desk chair. "Go to hell, Jeff." "You know you don't mean that." "I mean so much more than that." "I'll buy it, Lydia. The whole four pounds." "I have nothing to sell, especially to you." "Well, you can stay out of it. Just tell me where to find this guy Charlie and his relations." "Jeff," I said, "I wouldn't tell you where to find a bucket of water if you were on fire." "I always liked you, too. Holding your teddy bear hostage until you kissed me was just my way of showing that. Let's do business, Lydia." "Even if I were inclined to do business with you, Jeff, which would be about two weeks after hell froze over, I wouldn't risk my reputation for whatever piddly sum you're about to offer and then cheat me out of." "It'll be a good price. In cash. You'll have it at the same time as you turn over the goods." "No cash, no goods, no thanks. If Chinatown found out I was dealing with you, I'd never have a legit client again." "I'll send someone else. No one will know it's me." "Who, Rajesh Shah? Is that who's in your office right now, Jeff? Is that why you have me on the damn speakerphone?" Jeff ignored my question, a sure way of answering it. "Lydia," he said, "if you do a deal with me, we can keep it quiet. If you don't, I'll do two things. One: I'll spread the word in Chinatown that you did do a deal with me, and you can kiss your legit clients good-bye. But that'll be the least of your problems, because two, I'll drop a dime on you, and you'll have to give the Customs people your friend Charlie and his brother-in-law to keep your own ass out of jail." I was speechless. Then: "What?" I heard my voice, low and shocked. "Jeff, you--" "Don't tell me I wouldn't, because you know I would. Lychee nuts are about your speed, Lydia. Bear gall is out of your league. Five thousand dollars, by noon." " Five thousand dollars ? For four pounds?" "You're not in a great negotiating position." "Neither are you. I told Charlie yesterday to flush the stuff down the toilet." "And you know ," Jeff said, "you just know that he didn't. Five thousand, in the park, noon. Or your reputation is what goes down the toilet. And your friend Charlie goes to jail. Sent there by you." Charlie in jail, sent there by me. That was an ugly picture, and I wiped it from my mind, replacing it with a vision of Jeff Yang in his back-room office. With Rajesh Shah. "Ten," I said. "Five." "It's Golden Venture brand." "Wrapped and labeled?" "One-ounce packages." The briefest of pauses, then, "Seven-five." "I hope," I said, "that every ounce you sell takes a year off your life." "The same to you," Jeff said. "See you in the park at noon." "You must have missed it: I won't be seen with you, Jeff. Charlie will be there." "How will I know him?" "He'll find you. By your smell," I added, and hung up.   I called Charlie at the noodle factory. "I need you to be in the park at noon. With your brother-in-law's package." Of course Jeff had been right: The package had not gone down the toilet. "Only get half-hour lunch," Charlie said apologetically "This shouldn't take long." I hung up. At noon, of course, I was in Sara Roosevelt Park too. I sat far away from the bench I had stationed Charlie at, half-screened by a hot-dog vendor's cart. I just wanted to make sure everything went all right: I felt responsible for this. It went without incident. I had shown Charlie a picture of Jeff Yang and he spotted him, followed him until he sat, and then, in a burst of creativity, ignored him, walked to a soda stand, bought himself a Coke, and meandered back to Jeff's bench. He put down the brown-paper bag he was carrying and popped the can open. Charlie and Jeff exchanged a few words of casual conversation, two strangers enjoying a sunny June day. Charlie asked to glance at Jeff's newspaper, and Jeff obliged. Charlie opened the pages of the front section, slipping the back section unopened beneath him on the bench. When he was hidden behind the paper Jeff rose, told Charlie in a friendly way to keep the paper, and then set off down the path, the bag Charlie had arrived with under his arm.   In the early evening of the next day, the light was honey-colored, the sky was cobalt, and the trees were a glorious emerald green as I strolled through the same park, Charlie at my side. "Rajesh Shah, that man, I see him yesterday night, on Delancey Street," Charlie said. "Really?" "Yes. He say, hear you have money now, Charlie. Asking if I want invest in lychees, still. From India." "What did you do?" I asked, though I was pretty sure of the answer. "I tell him, have to speak to gaje. Say Charlie not investing on own anymore." "Very good, Charlie. Very, very good." I had bought us pretzels from a cart and was explaining to Charlie the difference between Kosher salt and the regular kind when a trio of men rose from a bench and stepped into our path. "Lydia," said Joe, with his thousand-watt smile. Rajesh Shah, in turban and short-sleeved shirt, was on his left, and Jeff Yang, bulging shoulders straining his black muscle tee, was on his right. The dark expressions on their faces wouldn't have powered a nightlight. "Lydia," Joe said again, holding on his palm a paper-wrapped rectangle the size of a mah-jongg tile. "Oh shining star of the east, what is this?" I peered at the label around its middle. "You don't read Chinese, Joe? It says, 'Golden Venture Brand Bear Gall, Finest In All China.'" "Yes, exquisite one," Joe agreed. "But what is it?" "Prune paste, Joe. The stuff they put in Danishes." I gave him a big smile, too, and this time I was sure I hit a thousand watts. Charlie, beside me, was also grinning. Shah and Yang frowned yet more deeply. Joe just looked sad. "Did you try to sell it?" I asked sympathetically. "Indeed I did. And for my trouble was chased from the back alleys of Chinatown by dangerous men with meat cleavers. The damage to my reputation for veracity in those precincts is incalculable." "No kidding? Nice side benefit," I said. "Lydia." Joe shook his head, as though the depth of his disappointment was bottomless. "You have cheated your Joe?" "Well, I was hoping you were behind Jeff's offer," I admitted, "but I was prepared to cheat Mr. Shah if he was all I could get." "All the packages are prune paste? There is no bear gall?" "There isn't, and there never was." "You set us up?" "I did." "Lydia," Joe repeated, in a voice of deep grief. "You set up your Joe?" "My Joe, my foot. Show some respect. You were setting me up, and I out-set you." "I?" Bewildered innocence. "But--" "Oh, Joe. Indian lychees. You know, you keep saying I have all the instincts. I don't, but I figured if I thought like you , everything would work out." "How so, my duplicitous darling?" "When I turned down your offer, right on that bench over there--which you knew I would--I asked myself, what would Joe do if he were turning down an offer from a middleman he didn't trust?" Joe wrinkled his nose at "middleman" but didn't protest. "Joe would try to cut the middleman out," I said. "So let's see how easy Joe makes it for me to cut him out. You led me around for a while the next morning, and finally you let me see you with Mr. Shah." "I did notice you following me," Joe conceded. "I should hope so. I couldn't have been more obvious except by waving to you. You really think that's the best I can do? Joe, you show very little appreciation for my ecological niche." "Touché, fair one. And then?" "Well, you clearly wanted me to go to Mr. Shah and do a deal, leaving you behind. Then you and he would split whatever cash Mr. Shah was able to con us out of, right? Of course there were never any Indian lychees any more than there was bear gall. But when Charlie and I figured that out, who were we going to complain to? I was the one who'd said importing them was illegal in the first place." Joe sighed. "So, knowing the sting was on, you stung first?" "Wouldn't you have?" "I would indeed. And Mr. Yang, so reviled by you when suggested by Charlie as a purchaser for the nonexistent bear gall, had in fact been suggested by you to Charlie as a name to bring up at the appropriate moment, in order to draw in Mr. Shah?" Jeff Yang was glowering at Joe's side. I said, "Well, Jeff was perfect for the spot. In a million years Jeff would never risk a nickel of his own on a deal like this. If he did a deal, someone would have to be financing it. I hope," I said to Jeff, "you charged a commission. Something for your trouble." Jeff Yang's frown became fiercer, and his hands curled into fists. I could feel Charlie next to me watching him, tensing. Joe sighed. "We're all so very, very disappointed." "No, you're not, Joe. You're impressed." "Well," Joe conceded, "perhaps I am. But now, my unequaled Asian mistress of mystery, the game is over. Yes, you have won, and I will proclaim that truth to all who ask. Now is the time to return your cleverly gotten gains so that we can go our separate ways, with no hard feelings." Charlie's face fell at this prospect. "You have to be kidding, Joe," I said. "When was the last time you gave back money you'd conned somebody out of fair and square?" "Ah," Joe said, "but I would not--especially in my amateur days, which status I fear you have not yet left behind--have worked a con on such a one as Mr. Yang." He indicated Jeff Yang, whose fists were clenched, angry frown fixed in place. To emphasize the danger, Joe stepped away a little, Rajesh Shah with him, leaving Charlie and me marooned with Jeff Yang in the center of the pathway. "I fear I will not be able to restrain the good Mr. Yang from putting into play his threatened destruction of your professional reputation, unless we are all satisfied. Not to mention what look like fairly dire designs on your person." This was, finally, too much for Jeff Yang. The frown exploded into a great bellowing laugh. Whatever else you want to say about Jeff Yang, his laugh has always been infectious. I cracked up too. So did Charlie. Jeff, wheezing from laughter, turned to Joe. "I do have designs on Lydia's person, but not that kind. I've spent my whole life trying to make up for the teddy bear kidnapping incident. I'll do anything she asks. I'm putty in her hands. I'll even pretend to be a big-time Chinatown gangster if Lydia wants me to." He pulled a fan of bills from his pocket and waved them in the air. "I charged ten percent," he said to me. "If I buy you dinner, will you finally forgive me?" "I'll never forgive you," I said. "But you might as well buy me dinner." I slipped my arm into his. Just before Jeff, Charlie, and I walked off in the golden evening I spoke once more to Joe, who stood openmouthed on the path. "Oh, and thanks for the lychees, Joe. They were China's finest. From that place on Delancey, right? And do keep in touch with your friend Mr. Shah. When they start growing lychees in India, if they ever do, I'm sure he'll let you know." Mr. Shah blushed and frowned. But Joe, with a wide smile breaking over his face like sun through clouds, swept forward into a low, graceful bow. He came up with a flourish and a grin. I bowed my head to acknowledge the compliment. The ruby in Joe's tooth flashed in a final ray of light as, with Jeff and Charlie, I turned and walked away. Copyright (c) 2002 by Tekno Books and Ed Gorman Excerpted from The World's Finest Mystery and Crime Stories by Ed Gorman 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

Jon L. BreenEdward D. HochMaxim JakubowskiDavid HoneyboneEdo van BelkomThomas WoertcheGeorge A. EasterS. J. RozanEd McBainCarolyn WheatLawrence BlockClark HowardJoyce Carol OatesJeffery DeaverMax Allan CollinsNancy PickardBrendan DuBoisBill PronziniDonald E. WestlakeLauren HendersonJon L. BreenDavid B. SilvaWolfgang BurgerRobert BarnardRuth RendellPaul LascauxNancy SpringerPeter LoveseyJac. ToesLillian Stewart CarlMary Jane MaffiniJohn VermeulenMargaret CoelVal McDermidSusanna GregoryCarolyn HartBill CriderKristine Kathryn RuschStephan RykenaBillie RubinTatjana KruseAnne PerryJoseph HansenMarcia MullerEdward D. HochDick LochteAngela Zeman
Acknowledgmentsp. 13
The Year in Mystery and Crime Fiction: 2001p. 15
A 2001 Yearbook of Crime and Mysteryp. 31
World Mystery Report: Great Britainp. 43
World Mystery Report: Australiap. 49
World Mystery Report: Canadap. 51
World Mystery Report: Germanyp. 53
The Year 2001 in Mystery Fandomp. 57
Double-Crossing Delanceyp. 61
Activity in the Flood Plainp. 83
The Only Good Judgep. 103
Speaking of Greedp. 117
The California Contactp. 159
Tell Me You Forgive Me?p. 187
Beautifulp. 213
Unreasonable Doubtp. 229
Lucky Devilp. 247
The Star Thiefp. 253
Chipp. 271
Come Again?p. 279
Dark Mirrorp. 295
The Adventure of the Cheshire Cheesep. 307
Dry Whiskeyp. 317
Countdownp. 329
Old Dog, New Tricksp. 333
The Winkp. 343
Fire Worksp. 351
Juggernautp. 355
Star Struckp. 365
Known unto Godp. 375
The Eye of the Beholderp. 385
Blind Alleyp. 405
Canonp. 413
A Well-Respected Manp. 429
The Girl Who Killed Santa Clausp. 443
The Trebuchet Murderp. 449
Turnaroundp. 467
Out like a Lionp. 483
The Perfect Manp. 497
Consciencep. 525
Living Next Door to Malicep. 531
The Good Old German Wayp. 537
The Case of the Bloodless Sockp. 543
Blood, Snow, and Classic Carsp. 561
The Impostorp. 585
The Problem of the Yellow Wallpaperp. 599
In the City of Angelsp. 615
Honorable Mentionsp. 637
About the Editorsp. 639