Archive for the ‘Black Lizard Big Book of Pulp Mysteries’ Category

If you’re looking for a good, general, all around anthology of short story detective fiction then I’d recommend the Longman Anthology of Detective Fiction edited by Deane Mansfield-Kelley and Lois A. Marchino. It will give novice and experienced mystery readers a good foothold into detective fiction.


The book is divided into three sections: The Amateur Detective, The Private Investigator and The Police. Each section begins with  a critical essay and commentary (which I skipped). There are also two appendices: Notable Annual Awards for Mystery and Detective Fiction and a Bibliography of Critical Essays and Commentaries.

But the heart of the book is stories. Each section contains stories by some of best authors, classical authors such as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Agatha Christie and Edgar Allan Poe, pulp authors of the 1930s-1950s such as Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett and Ed McBain and current authors such as Sue Grafton, Sara Paretsky and Peter Robinson.

There is a short author bio before each story, suggested books by the author and suggested read-alike authors. Granted, there are some great mystery authors not included in the anthology, but if all the greats were included it would be a thousand pages, just like Otto Penzler’s Black Lizard books.

The Longman Anthology of Detective Fiction is an entertaining way for mystery fans to spend some time. It also makes readers appreciate the art of the short story. Go for it.

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HardBoiledWhere else can you read this kind of great description but in pulp mysteries? “I was sitting at my desk, wondering about the office rent, when the door opened and in walked in the most beautiful assemblage of female parts that ever shrugged into a mink coat. She had hair the color of burnished copper and dead white skin and her eyes were as green and as hard as emeralds.” They just don’t write them like that anymore.

Hard Boiled Detectives: 23 Great Stories from Dime Detective Magazine is another wonderful anthology of pulp mysteries by the masters: Erle Stanley Gardner, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler and more. These stories range from the 1930s to the 1950s. I personally can’t get enough of this stuff.

So, if you’re looking to expand your mystery horizons and you don’t want to tackle Otto Penzler’s 1,100 page anthologies The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps and The Black Lizard Big Book of Black Mask Stories, then this is a good staring point.

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