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The Best of Mystery: 63 Short Stories Chosen by the Master of Suspense

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These 63 spine-tingling stories originally appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery magazine, and in the words of the master himself, they'll "make your blood run cold." Hitchcock coolly serves up cool cops, clever gangsters, bodies stuffed in trunks, kidnappings, adulterous affairs, murder, and espionage, and the resulting thrills are positively delicious. The writers inclu These 63 spine-tingling stories originally appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery magazine, and in the words of the master himself, they'll "make your blood run cold." Hitchcock coolly serves up cool cops, clever gangsters, bodies stuffed in trunks, kidnappings, adulterous affairs, murder, and espionage, and the resulting thrills are positively delicious. The writers include Ed McBain, whose "Sadie When She Died" features a strange cat-and-mouse game between a sharp detective and the husband of a murdered woman whom the police suspect of having committed the crime. Other tales come from Donald E. Westlake, Bill Pronzini, Patricia Highsmith, Henry Slezar, and Richard M. Ellis.


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These 63 spine-tingling stories originally appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery magazine, and in the words of the master himself, they'll "make your blood run cold." Hitchcock coolly serves up cool cops, clever gangsters, bodies stuffed in trunks, kidnappings, adulterous affairs, murder, and espionage, and the resulting thrills are positively delicious. The writers inclu These 63 spine-tingling stories originally appeared in Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery magazine, and in the words of the master himself, they'll "make your blood run cold." Hitchcock coolly serves up cool cops, clever gangsters, bodies stuffed in trunks, kidnappings, adulterous affairs, murder, and espionage, and the resulting thrills are positively delicious. The writers include Ed McBain, whose "Sadie When She Died" features a strange cat-and-mouse game between a sharp detective and the husband of a murdered woman whom the police suspect of having committed the crime. Other tales come from Donald E. Westlake, Bill Pronzini, Patricia Highsmith, Henry Slezar, and Richard M. Ellis.

30 review for The Best of Mystery: 63 Short Stories Chosen by the Master of Suspense

  1. 5 out of 5

    Courtney

    1) Winter Run; Hoch, Edward D. 2) You Can't Blame Me; Slesar, Henry 3) A Flower in her Hair; Smith, Pauline C. 4) The Cost of Kent Castwell; Davidson, Avram 5) Pseudo Identity; Block, Lawrence 6) That Russian!; Ritchie, Jack 7) Galton and the Yelling Boys; Waugh, Hillary 8) Blind Date; Broeckman, Charles 9) Pressure; Wilkinson, Roderick 10) The Running Man; Pronzini, Bill 11) The Vietnam Circle; Kelly, F.J. 12) Sadie When She Dies; McBain, Ed 13) A Very Cautious Boy; Ralston, Gilbert 14) A Try for the Big Pr 1) Winter Run; Hoch, Edward D. 2) You Can't Blame Me; Slesar, Henry 3) A Flower in her Hair; Smith, Pauline C. 4) The Cost of Kent Castwell; Davidson, Avram 5) Pseudo Identity; Block, Lawrence 6) That Russian!; Ritchie, Jack 7) Galton and the Yelling Boys; Waugh, Hillary 8) Blind Date; Broeckman, Charles 9) Pressure; Wilkinson, Roderick 10) The Running Man; Pronzini, Bill 11) The Vietnam Circle; Kelly, F.J. 12) Sadie When She Dies; McBain, Ed 13) A Very Cautious Boy; Ralston, Gilbert 14) A Try for the Big Prize; Deal, Borden 15) Voice in the Night; Colby, Robert 16) Undertaker, Please Drive Slow; Goulart, Ron 17) Never Shake a Family Tree; Westlake, Donald E. 18) Here Lies another Blackmailer; Pronzini, Bill 19) Dead Duck; Treat, Lawrence 20) Games for Adults; Lutz, John 21) Night of the Twisters; Ullman, James Michael 22) Variations on a Game; Highsmith, Patricia 23) Child's Play; Link, William and Richard Levinson 24) Just a Little Impractical Joke; Stark, Richard 25) Murderer #2; Potts, Jean 26) The Third Call; Ritchie, Jack 27) Damon and Pythias and Delilah Brown; King, Rufus 28) Glory Hunter; Ellis, Richard M. 29) Linda is Gone; Smith, Pauline C. 30) Frightened Lady; Gilford, C.B. 31) Come Back, Come Back; Westlake, Donald E. 32) Once Upon a Bank Floor; Holding, James 33) Warrior's Farewell; Hoch, Edward D. 34) Death by Misadventure; Brown, Wenzell 35) With a Smile for the Ending; Block, Lawrence 36) Television Country; Edwards, Charlotte 37) Art for Money's Sake; Marlowe, Dan J. 38) Nothing but Human Nature; Waugh, Hillary 39) Murder, 1990; Gilford, C.B. 40) Panther, Panther in the Night; Fairman, Paul W. 41) Perfectly Timed Plot; Ferrars, E.X. 42) #8; Ritchie, Jack 43) All the Needless Killing; Walton, Bryce 44) A Melee of Diamonds; Hoch, Edward D. 45) One for the Crow; Barrett, Mary 46) Happiness before Death; Slesar, Henry 47) I Don't Understand It; Pronzini, Bill 48) News from Nowhere; Goulart, Ron 49) A Case of Desperation; Wilhelm, Kate 50) An Interlude for Murder; Tabori, Paul 51) Death Overdue; Boylan, Eleanor Daly 52) The Best-Friend Murder; Westlake, Donald E. 53) Pattern of Guilt; Nielsen, Helen 54) A Real, Live Murderder; Honig, Donald 55) Doctor Apollo; Walton, Bryce 56) The Pursuer; Roth, Holly 57) Final Arrangements; Page, Lawrence 58) Countdown; Ely, David 59) Murder Between Friends; Tyre, Nedra 60) Case of the Kind Waitress; Slesar, Heny 61) Ghost of a Chance; Mayers, Carroll 62) The Montevideo Squeeze; Holding, James 63) The White Moth; Chenoweth, Margaret

  2. 5 out of 5

    Bev

    The Best of Mystery: 63 Short Stories Chosen by the Master of Suspense--Alfred Hitchcock. Is one terrifying book. Not only because of the murder and mayhem, blood-curdling and blood-thirsty stories contained in its pages....but because of its sheer size. This is is one hefty book that could easily be used as the proverbial blunt instrument in a murder mystery of its own. In these pages you'll find clever cops and cold-blooded killers, 80-year-old Aunties that you don't want to tuck you into bed The Best of Mystery: 63 Short Stories Chosen by the Master of Suspense--Alfred Hitchcock. Is one terrifying book. Not only because of the murder and mayhem, blood-curdling and blood-thirsty stories contained in its pages....but because of its sheer size. This is is one hefty book that could easily be used as the proverbial blunt instrument in a murder mystery of its own. In these pages you'll find clever cops and cold-blooded killers, 80-year-old Aunties that you don't want to tuck you into bed and an 11-year-old blackmailer who can outwit the best of them. You'll find a man who's much too happy to be a widower, a tired policeman ready to grab the big prize, and a man who finds a nasty surprise in his trunk. Then there's the 70-year-old woman who discovers a serial killer in the family tree....and who also finds that some traits do run in the family. Best friends who want to share everything...including murder. And the contract killer who doesn't realize that the finger is on him this time. And that's just the tip of the iceberg. These stories are by such mystery luminaries as Ed McBain, Lawrence block, Edward D hoch, Patricia Highsmith, Donald Westlake and others. We even have offerings from literary lion Hillary Waugh. There's a lot of great reading to be had in this huge doorstop-sized book. And with the short story format it's perfect for settling down to read for a bit before bedtime....if you don't mind taking thoughts of murderers and corpses to bed with you.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sambaith

    No two stories are alike in this collection, they all have completely different twists and endings. I never found myself stopping in the middle of a story to put it down, every story kept my attention. It's a good book to keep by your bedside and just read a story in a couple hours before bed every night. No two stories are alike in this collection, they all have completely different twists and endings. I never found myself stopping in the middle of a story to put it down, every story kept my attention. It's a good book to keep by your bedside and just read a story in a couple hours before bed every night.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Tony Laplume

    Picked this up in a yard sale a few years back. I'm not a big mystery reader, so something like this is either going to confirm my previous impressions or change them. Basically ended up confirming them. A lot of the stories, especially from the first half of the collection, seem to have been written with the express purpose of getting the writer a gig writing for Alfred Hitchcock's screen pursuits (more likely the TV ones), and maybe some of them succeeded. I watched a lot of old crime shows wh Picked this up in a yard sale a few years back. I'm not a big mystery reader, so something like this is either going to confirm my previous impressions or change them. Basically ended up confirming them. A lot of the stories, especially from the first half of the collection, seem to have been written with the express purpose of getting the writer a gig writing for Alfred Hitchcock's screen pursuits (more likely the TV ones), and maybe some of them succeeded. I watched a lot of old crime shows when I was helping care for my mother (not like anyone in these stories, I assure you...!), and the basic plots are...very familiar. Since these are short stories, there's little effort made to develop characters or plots, for the most part. The biggest exception is Donald Westlake (with one included under his Richard Stark, of Parker fame, pseudonym), who was by far my biggest discovery. Many of his books ended up adapted by Hollywood, most notably in the modern era with Mel Gibson's Payback (1999), Martin Lawrence's What's the Worst That Could Happen? (2001), and Jason Statham's Parker (2013). Westlake's stories have extra depth (even if two of them share the idea of a detective with a bad heart), so I'm glad that if anyone did get four stories included, it was him. The most frightening thing about the collection is the common theme of spouses murdering each other to claim other relationships. Practically every story had this theme! I don't know crime statistics or if it's really that common, but I'd at least hope that the writers were bad at characterizing people capable of reaching such conclusions apparently so easily. Don't get me wrong, there is some bad writing here, especially two that attempt science fiction elements. (One features a futuristic society that apparently has forgotten what murder is, the other a space launch with a "perfect man," one of those delusions writers of limited imagination believe must be the only qualified to do great things.) The other most frightening thing is that "mystery" for these writers seem to automatically mean murder. There's precious little creative thought on display. Maybe it was the safe thing to do. Maybe a collection clearly cobbled together to cash in on the then-recent death of Hitchcock can't be expected to be more than a cash grab. The most troubling thing, come to think of it, is that people basically are still reading exactly this kind of material. I mean, you have omnipresent James Patterson, but you also have the endless imitations of Gone Girl, a phenomenon that wouldn't look nearly as unique and fresh if you realized so many hacks were writing the same basic thing for a guy who made his whole reputation on films exactly like it. We say we want fresh. But what we really want is someone to trick us into thinking something's new again...And murder is about as old as you can get.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Menke

    As with all short story collections some stories are better than others but I feel like Hitchcock saves the best for last in this volume. There are a few stories in here that would’ve made excellent movies or episodes of Alfred Hitchcock Presents and you could almost picture Hitchcock relishing in them!

  6. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    Anthologies are tricky to rate. Some of the stories in this collection were so good, they will probably stay with me for years. Other stories were almost instantly forgettable. Overall, the writing was good, the pacing was quick -- which is good, because this doorstop has over 600 pages.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    A mixed bag. Definitely some amazing plot twists in some of these stories. I enjoyed it, overall.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Diane

    Enjoyed the short-story format. Will probably re-read it ~ makes you think about human nature.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    #91 of 120 books pledged to read during 2018

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lea

    Loved it. Pretty much love everything.

  11. 5 out of 5

    M. Blakely

    I am a great fan of short stories of all genres. The best ones are tightly written, not wandering around like many novels. They also permit a person who is short on time to indulge a passion for reading and to get almost instant gratification. This book is one of the best short story compilations I have read in many years! The book was first published in 1976 as a compilation of the best short stories from "Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine." This hardback edition was published in 1986, six yea I am a great fan of short stories of all genres. The best ones are tightly written, not wandering around like many novels. They also permit a person who is short on time to indulge a passion for reading and to get almost instant gratification. This book is one of the best short story compilations I have read in many years! The book was first published in 1976 as a compilation of the best short stories from "Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine." This hardback edition was published in 1986, six year after Hitchcock's death. Almost all of the stories were written in the late 1950s through early 1970s time frame. Accordingly, they all have that delicious, dated film noire feel. As I read them, I could envision any one of them as an episode in Hitchcock's old black-&-white TV series, or perhaps an episode in "The Outer Limits." If you look up the book on Amazon, ignore the stupid reviews. One couldn't even figure out that the various copyright dates in the front of the book indicate that Hitchcock most certainly was the editor.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jack Heath

    Synopsis: from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine; authors include Ed McBain, Donald E. Westlake, Bill Pronzini, Henry Slezar, etc. Synopsis: from Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine; authors include Ed McBain, Donald E. Westlake, Bill Pronzini, Henry Slezar, etc.

  13. 5 out of 5

    James Hatton

    Three stars. Look, it's hard for me to rate a collection this size and not have the rating fall in the middle. On average, they're going to be normal, good stories; and that's what they are. Some were two stars. Many were four stars. Several of them were five stars. I enjoyed leisurely reading these stories. I think I found some new writers whose work I may pursue. Two stories I'll highlight are A Case of Desperation, by Kat Wilhelm, and The Pursuer, by Holly Roth. Both of these are among the sev Three stars. Look, it's hard for me to rate a collection this size and not have the rating fall in the middle. On average, they're going to be normal, good stories; and that's what they are. Some were two stars. Many were four stars. Several of them were five stars. I enjoyed leisurely reading these stories. I think I found some new writers whose work I may pursue. Two stories I'll highlight are A Case of Desperation, by Kat Wilhelm, and The Pursuer, by Holly Roth. Both of these are among the several five star stories in this collection. (Patricia Highsmith wrote one of them.) Note, by the way, that Alfred Hitchcock is not the author. He's the collector. The title's a bit misleading.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    I had started reading this collection of stories a few months ago and came back to it after finishing A Suitable Boy, 1400+ pages! It was a shock to my system. But it was good, but my appreciation for the genre has returned. To develop the premise and come up with a good twist in a few pages is an art form.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Alicia Aaron

    Though the stories are well-written, I couldn't find the suspense in most of the stories. A lot of predictable endings that are probably due to the fact that these stories are *truly* short e.g. 3-5 pages. Though the stories are well-written, I couldn't find the suspense in most of the stories. A lot of predictable endings that are probably due to the fact that these stories are *truly* short e.g. 3-5 pages.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Robbie Hall

    The best ones are: A try for the big prize Voice in the night Games for adults Variations on a game Glory hunter Once upon a bank floor Art for money's sake #8 A case of desperation Countdown The best ones are: A try for the big prize Voice in the night Games for adults Variations on a game Glory hunter Once upon a bank floor Art for money's sake #8 A case of desperation Countdown

  17. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    Nice big book of mystery stories chosen by Alfred Hitchcock. Enjoyed almost all the stories, and could easily see them having been made into an Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode. The twist endings are always fun.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Shilpi Goel

    I wouldn't call the short stories "spine-tingling", but they were pleasant enough, if murder mysteries can be called pleasant. This short story collection is nice, light, predictable read --- good for the end of a harrowing day. I wouldn't call the short stories "spine-tingling", but they were pleasant enough, if murder mysteries can be called pleasant. This short story collection is nice, light, predictable read --- good for the end of a harrowing day.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Pat Landers

    cool

  20. 4 out of 5

    renzo

    brother gave this to me for christmas. i'm halfway through and i love it. brother gave this to me for christmas. i'm halfway through and i love it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jack

    Mysteries aren't my usual fare, but this book is so utterly massive that there will be at least a handful of stories in it to appeal to any reader. Mysteries aren't my usual fare, but this book is so utterly massive that there will be at least a handful of stories in it to appeal to any reader.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Julie

    3.5 stars

  23. 4 out of 5

    Priscilla

    amazon.com

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lisa A.

    63 short storeies - good for quick reading w/short time bursts and not a lot of time.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Darren

    A good book to read.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Courtney Graham

    love him!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Mandakini

    got deceived into believing this was hitchcock writing, but its hitchcock editing,,,,pretty close or not, i guess. the book is interesting, good night time reading (if you can handle it)!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ka

  30. 5 out of 5

    Aurelia

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