The 100 Books Project: 100 Malicious Little Mysteries


“100 Malicious Little Mysteries” selected by Isaac Asimov, Martin H. Greenberg, and Joseph D. Olander

This collection….is not a good collection. There were maybe a handful of stories of the 100 that I would have considered genuinely good. The others were all too quaint, tried, and predictable, and (possibly due to the fact that there so few authors spread in the whole thing) repetitive. Still, with that said, it was a lot of fun. Given to me by my roommate’s mother in the attempt to clean out some of her books, I thought it would be a nice, fun read and I was right. It was the perfect book to read while working on January’s novel, the weird noir mystery werewolf conglomerations that’s coming out of no where, although it contained the type of stories that never wanted me to be a suburbanite housewife or crazy cat lady.

There really isn’t much to say about this collection. I did find it interesting that, though it was published in the 1990s, it contained older stories, and was a reprint of a collection printed in 1981, and I’m pretty sure none of the stories were originally published before 1976. This lead to some really quaint, retro tales (my favourite detail being, of course, a mention of a man who wakes up and his wife is sleeping in the other twin bed!). This retro quality to the stories, though, is the most lingering impression on the book, which doesn’t speak that well for the stories themselves. As I write this, I’m trying to recall up a yarn that I seemed to take to more than the others, and none particularly stand out.

There was one, “The Sooey Pill,” by Elaine Slater, that rose above a lot of the others, with a sort of futuristic, apocalyptic Big Brother premise that could have been very cool if it was expanded. “Doctor’s Orders” by John F. Suter was a little heartbreaking, too, and was written with a very neat style. It was nothing groundbreaking, but the ping-pong between a first-person narrative and a third-person was still different from the style of the others, which maybe caused it to stand out a little more. A lot of them were cute, and some of them were just plain awful.

Overall, though, it was a fun read; definitely one of the “buffer” books to help pad the final number. I’m in general not a big fan of mystery stories, but since the current novel takes on that kind of feel, it helped sort of give the way that was going a lift.

Books read: 3 out of 100

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