Edgar Award-winning editor Otto Penzler's new anthology brings together the most cunning, ruthless, and brilliant criminals in mystery fiction, for the biggest compendium of bad guys (and girls) ever assembled.
The best mysteries--whether detective, historical, police procedural, cozy, or comedy--have one thing in common: a memorable perpetrator. For every Sherlock Holmes or Sam Spade in noble pursuit, there's a Count Dracula, a Lester Leith, or a Jimmy Valentine. These are the rogues and villains who haunt our imaginations--and who often have more in common with their heroic counterparts than we might expect. Now, for the first time ever, Otto Penzler gathers the iconic traitors, thieves, con men, sociopaths, and killers who have crept through the mystery canon over the past 150 years, captivating and horrifying readers in equal measure. The 72 handpicked stories in this collection introduce us to the most depraved of psyches, from iconic antiheroes like Maurice Leblanc's Arsène Lupin and Sax Rohmer's Dr. Fu Manchu to contemporary delinquents like Lawrence Block's Ehrengraf and Donald Westlake's Dortmunder, and include unforgettable tales by Robert Louis Stevenson, Bram Stoker, Washington Irving, Jack London, H.G. Wells, Sinclair Lewis, O. Henry, Edgar Wallace, Leslie Charteris, Erle Stanley Gardner, Edward D. Hoch, Max Allan Collins, Loren D. Estleman, and many more.