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by Martin Edwards, editor
Time Warner, December 2004
512 pages
ISBN: 075153692X

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

On Guy Fawkes' Day in 1953, John Creasy convened a meeting of crime writers at the National Liberal Club, in order to try to gain some respect for their brand of fiction. Twelve people attended, and from this inauspicious beginning, a great organization started, the Crime Writers' Association.

Twenty-three stories are included in this anthology. From Allingham and Ambler to McDermid and Rankin, all the authors have won the Diamond or Gold Dagger prizes awarded by the Crime Writers' Association.

The Leslie Charteris story dates back to 1934, and is not a Saint tale. Several of the stories were written especially for this anthology. We get a Campion story from Allingham, and a tale of South American intrigue from Eric Ambler. Robert Barnard gives us a chilling story Everybody's Girl ; while John Creasy's The Chief Witness turns out to be a child. John Rebus finds a clue in switched cell phones in Ian Rankin's Tell Me Who to Kill. Sara Paretsky tells us of a village matron's visit At the Century of Progress with her nephew in 1933 in a non-VI Warshawski story, while Inspector Wexford misses an important clue in When the Wedding Was Over by Ruth Rendell.

Peter Pascoe becomes a regular at a pub that welcomes dogs and their owners in Reginald Hill's The Game of Dog and HRF Keating's Inspector Ghote solves the mystery of the Hound of the Hanging Gardens. Margaret Yorke's unsuspecting old lady is taken in by a plausible con man in Mugs. And in The Consolation Blonde, Val McDermid tells of a man who loses a literary award but ends up with the beautiful girl.

These 23 short stories are all elegantly written and show the craft and skill of that format. It is easy to see why these authors have won writing awards. Reading this anthology will give a good overview of some of the best crime writers of the past 50 years.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, December 2004

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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