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Alberto Manguel, editor

Don Mills (Ont.), Oxford University Press, 1991. 275pp, paper, $17.95
ISBN 0-19-540820-9. CIP

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up
Reviewed by Ted Monkhouse.

Volume 19 Number 3
1991 May

Who better than Alberto Manguel, internationally renowned writer, anthologist and translator, to select twenty top Canadian mystery and detective stories?

Spanning almost a century and a half, this selection also includes three writers from Quebec, presented here in English translation for the first time. Many are familiar literary figures like Leacock, Munro, Engel, Wright, Wynne-Jones and Skvorecky, but not necessarily all are associated with mystery writing. This anthology perhaps serves as a survey of the genre in Canada.

From a delightful Leacock send-up of a stereotypical detective to Robert Bait's romp with making anarchy too much for the anarchists, the reader smiles at the human parade. Although this collection contains the "typical" murder mystery we all love, there is much that is not run of the mill in style. From an undertaker who marries a cadaver willed back to life, the aspiring model who captures the publicity of an armoured truck heist, the young reporter trying out a plot for size in the cemetery, to the landscape architect debating the dubious location of a belvedere, you can't find better enter­tainment. A sense of a literary evolution is thrown in free of charge.

Suitable for use as a text in schools, it is best for senior students. However, it should definitely be in high school, public and university libraries for those looking for just a good read. For those few unfamiliar authors a "notes" section outlines their credentials.

Highly recommended.

Ted Monkhouse, Guelph, Ont.
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