Manhattan Mayhem: New Crime Stories from The Mystery Writers of America - Mary Higgins Clark

This is an anthology of 18 short stories from the Mystery Writers of America. Some of the authors are familiar to those who love the genre....Lee Child, SJ Rozen, Margaret Maron & Jeffery Deaver to name a few. 

But what I love about these books is the chance to sample writers I've not read before & from there, go on to check out their full length work.

The forward is provided by the venerable Mary Higgins Clark & she describes how they arrived at the theme. It's all about New York City. Each author had to choose a specific neighbourhood as their setting, then were given free rein. The result is an eclectic mix of mysteries accompanied by old black & white photos of each area. They run the gamut of present day to post WWll, noir to time travel, cops & robbers to slightly scary grandmothers.

I won't review them all. Each is a quick read & everyone will have their personal favourites. From the authors I am familiar with, my hands down pick is "Chin Yung-Yun Makes a Shiddach" by SJ Rozen. I enjoy her Lydia Chin series & this story features Lydia's no-nonsense mother in a hilarious turn as a private eye.

Authors new to me include Nancy Pichard who tells a nice, twisty little tale. Judith Kelman gives us the story of an old missing person's case that is wistful yet oddly hopeful & it sucked me right in with the need to know how it ended. 

But I particularly enjoyed Justin Scott's take on a mystery with the element of time travel. A modern day bank robber ends up partnered with the very alive Edgar Allan Poe who is having trouble publishing a best seller in today's market that will make him eligible to win the award that bears his name. It's a fast paced shoot 'em up full of ironic commentary on what authors have to deal with & Poe gets all the best lines ("Do not expect me to be frightened by an armed robber. I'm accustomed to agents & publishers.").

There's something here for everyone who loves a good mystery & it's a great way to test drive a bunch of writers before you plunk down your hard earned cash on their novels. Enjoy!