Golden Age Detective Stories edited by Otto Penzler

Golden Age Detective Stories edited by Otto Penzler, Penzler Publishers, 2021 trade paper, part of the American Mystery Classics series

The blurb from the publisher:
The greatest detectives of the Golden Age investigate the most puzzling crimes of the era. Sometimes, the police aren’t the best suited to solve a crime. Depending on the case, you may find that a retired magician, a schoolteacher, a Broadway producer, or a nun have the necessary skills to suss out a killer. Or, in other cases, a blind veteran, or a publisher, or a hard-drinking attorney, or a mostly-sober attorney… or, indeed, any sort of detective you could think of might be able to best the professionals when it comes to comprehending strange and puzzling murders.

Edgar Award-winning anthologist Otto Penzler selects some of the greatest American short stories from era. With authors including Ellery Queen, Mary Roberts Rinehart, Cornell Woolrich, Erle Stanley Gardner, and Anthony Boucher, this collection is a treat for those who know and love this celebrated period in literary history, and a great introduction to its best writers for the uninitiated.

Contents: 14 stories

The Enemy by Charlotte Armstrong, Detective Mike Russell
The Stripper by Anthony Boucher, Detective Sister Ursula
Postiche by Mignon G. Eberhart, Detective Susan Dare
The Case of the Crimson Kiss by Erle Stanley Gardner, Detective Perry Mason
The Enchanted Garden by H.F. Heard, Detective Mr. Mycroft
5-4=Murderer by Baynard Kendrick, Detective Captain Duncan Maclain
There’s Death for Remembrance by Frances & Richard Lockridge, Detectives Mr. & Mrs. North
The Monkey Murder by Stuart Palmer, Detective Hildegarde Withers
The Adventure of the African Traveler by Ellery Queen, Detective: Ellery Queen
Puzzle for Poppy by Patrick Quentin, Detectives Peter & Iris Duluth
From Another World by Clayton Rawson, Detective The Great Merlini
Good-bye, Good-bye! by Craig Rice, Detective John J. Malone
Locked Doors by Mary Roberts Rinehart, Detective: Hilda Adams
The Mystery in Room 913 by Cornell Woolrich, Detective Strike

My Take:

In an anthology edited by a knowledgeable editor such as this, the larger view of what’s classic and great in the genre is expected. My personal tastes don’t always coincide with accepted opinions, but that’s fine. These are all very good golden age stories, I just happen to like – or not like – some better than others. My favorites here were the Armstrong, Gardner, Kendrick, Queen, Quentin, Rawson, and Rice. You’re opinion will vary.

A good anthology and part of a good series, the American Mystery Classics, all edited by Penzler.

About Rick Robinson

Enjoying life in Portland, OR
This entry was posted in Anthology, Books & Reading, Short Stories. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Golden Age Detective Stories edited by Otto Penzler

  1. Jeff Meyerson says:

    I haven’t read this anthology, but I’m pretty sure I’ve read most of the stories before. In fact, I’ve read collections by most of the authors, as well as other Golden Age and/or Penzler collections. I still might check this out in case I missed anything, or them.

  2. tracybham says:

    I have been planning to get this anthology someday. I have so many unfinished anthologies right now, it does not make sense to add more. I appreciated the list of stories in your post, because I assumed I might have already read a few of them. But the stories are all new to me.

  3. 1412064gk says:

    I have this anthology around here somewhere. I agree with you that Penzler knows how to edit mystery anthologies. I have over a dozen Penzler anthologies, all of them well done.

  4. Todd Mason says:

    It is a good effort to avoid all obvious chestnuts. The ones you were less happy with tending to be too familiar or easy to anticipate?

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