Mystery Writers of America Presents The Mystery Box

Grand Central. May 2013. 384p. ed. by . ISBN 9781455512355. $24.99; ebk. ISBN 9781455522675. M
The latest entry in the MWA's thematic anthologies tackles the theme of the locked box. It includes 21 stories from ten authors handpicked by editor Meltzer (The Fifth Assassin) and 11 chosen from submissions. The result is an intriguing mix of historical, psychological, and humorous puzzles. The big name authors experiment with different settings and protagonists from their norm, but the newer names really shine here. Consider especially Stephen Ross's "The Birdhouse" for its World War II hospital setting. Or Catherine Mambretti's "The Very Private Detectress" for its Pinkerton case. Charles Todd's "The Honour of Dundee" does a particularly fine job with a box haunted by its historical significance. And Katherine Neville's "The Lunar Society" is as complex as her fans would expect. Opening with a quietly clever tale from Jan Burke ("The Amiable Miss Edith Montague") and closing with a very funny entry from Karin Slaughter ("Remmy Rothstein Toes the Line"), this is a solid collection.
VERDICT Just right for commuters who want short bursts of reading, this title showcases new talent and lets loyal fans read their favorites as they experiment with different styles.
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