The Best American Mystery Stories 2014

Mariner: Houghton Harcourt. Oct. 2014. 400p. ed. by . ISBN 9780544034648. pap. $14.95; ebk. ISBN 9780544032576. MYS
OrangeReviewStarThe 2014 edition of this annual anthology features Lippman (After I'm Gone) at the editorial helm, tapping a range of authors from the well established to the not-yet-known, and the results are haunting. Many stories feature intriguing female characters, including kidnapped girls (Patricia Engel's "Aida" and Roxane Gay's "I Will Follow You"), a questionable mother (Megan Abbott's "My Heart Is Either Broken"), and a distraught sister (Laura Van Den Berg's "Antarctica"). Others explore mysteries as varied as the relationship between man and wife (Ed Kurtz's "A Good Marriage") and the story behind a pet's grave (Jim Allyn's "Princess Anne"). But standout stories from Annie Proulx ("Rough Deeds") and Charlaine Harris ("Small Kingdoms") are some of the best of the bunch—especially the latter, wherein a high school principal explores how her past work experiences, carefully applied, can benefit the school community.
VERDICT This collection of mystery stories is by turns chilling and thought provoking and a good choice for readers who enjoy books by Lippman or Jeffery Deaver and who appreciate reading both new authors and proven writers in the genre.

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