Masters of Mystery

Queen, Ellery and Eleanor Sullivan (Eds.) -- Masters of Mystery (1987)


A mixed bag of stories, all apparently published in EQMM between 1963 and 1977, although some were written long before that. There are quite a few stories here that I haven't found in other anthologies, although a few old chestnuts have been thrown in, Unfortunately, despite the title, there are also a lot of non-mystery stories, nearly all of them falling into the Awful Mistake category. A quick analysis shows that these all share four basic plots between them:


1. A plans to kill B but through some Awful Mistake B kills A

2. A plans to kill B but through some Awful Mistake A kills C instead, whom A loves or depends on

3. A has a perfect plot for a murder/robbery/kidnapping but some Awful Mistake causes it to fail

4. A is a naive innocent who via some Awful Mistake ends up getting killed, or killing or sending to jail someone he/she loves


There are also a few Hidden Secret stories, where a trauma from the past surfaces among most unlikely circumstances -- including a highly laboured and pedestrian 'science fiction' effort from PD James. None of these, needless to say, have any detectival interest. But there is a reasonable haul here for the selective reader.