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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 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 Arsene 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. RUNNING TIME ➼ 52hrs. and 4mins. ©2017 Otto Penzler (P)2020 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books


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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 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 Arsene 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. RUNNING TIME ➼ 52hrs. and 4mins. ©2017 Otto Penzler (P)2020 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

30 review for The Big Book of Rogues and Villains (Big Book Series)

  1. 4 out of 5

    ☘Tara Sheehan☘

    I’m a big fan of short story collections because they allow you to read small pieces at a time and get a wide variety of material. I am also a fan of the Mystery genre and how it has evolved from way back in the day when women were still property through now when our voices are now rivaling those of the male gender. Penzler provides an opportunity to look at some of Literature’s Big Bads’ in more than 70 stories that examine the depravity humanity offers to counter its heroes. Be they skilled in I’m a big fan of short story collections because they allow you to read small pieces at a time and get a wide variety of material. I am also a fan of the Mystery genre and how it has evolved from way back in the day when women were still property through now when our voices are now rivaling those of the male gender. Penzler provides an opportunity to look at some of Literature’s Big Bads’ in more than 70 stories that examine the depravity humanity offers to counter its heroes. Be they skilled in murder, theft, lies, disloyalty or just not quite right in the head, all of them have graced the pages for over a century to entertain and enrapture readers. After all, who would Sherlock be without Moriarty? As the title of the book suggests he looks at Rogues and Villains by offering up a way to distinguish the two based on the level of ‘bad’ that can be attributed to their crimes and mentality; not all sin is created equal. Each offering is a fairly decent length so you feel as if you are making good use of your time with these delectable forays into the negative aspect of human conscience. I only found 3 negatives. The first is in the presentation. The purpose of you reading this book will dictate how you go about acquiring it. Are you looking to read from page one straight through or have something that will allow you to use it more as a research tool to skip around to the parts that hold the most interest for you? I often detest when authors break up their work in multiple volumes because more often than not it feels like they are fleecing readers out of money by forcing them to buy more instead of condensing. Putting everything into one book instead of multiples would save on printing costs and passing those savings onto the consumer would be a positive. This is probably the first time ever I would argue the opposite. It’s a massive piece of work whether you go print or digital. In print you need two hands and several pillows to help balance and take the pressure off your arms. It’s nearly 1000 pages and printed in a double column magazine style so you’ll be popping ibuprofen to deal with eye strain every 30 minutes or so. Don’t forget the heating pad for your aching joints. In digital you have no issues with weight and thankfully get the normal full page so no eye strain. However you also don’t get the ease of access to flipping to specific stories like you do with paper and if you only want to read about specific baddies having to go back and forth between the TOC and the chapter is not so much fun. This was an incredible work but would have been better served in a series of 3 volumes minimum. Penzler includes more than just a focus on literature’s dark side, he also helps you delve into their creators and lets you see how crime and its effect on novels has changed from The Victorian Age through Modern time periods. His stories are arranged across categories that reflect the time period in which they were written. The second negative concerns the availability of Modern era stories. There were very few and considering the breadth of what could be chosen having 3 from the same author, even if it’s an author I like, was a letdown. The third negative again deals with variety of authors in that around 5% of the over 70 stories chosen were by a female author. It seems hard to believe that in the 150 years’ worth of mysteries he couldn’t find more female voices to add to this collection particularly since he often used multiple works by the same male author – why couldn’t he have just used 1 and given that space to a different voice. There were quite a few names I recognized in this work but there were also quite a few I had never heard of which made it fun to expand my knowledge base, see how the same crime could be represented differently depending on POV or time period and examine the duality of good versus bad as it pertains to literature. Here are the stories included in the anthology: THE VICTORIANS At the Edge of the Crater by L. T. Meade & Robert Eustace The Episode of the Mexican Seer by Grant Allen The Body Snatcher by Robert Louis Stevenson Dracula’s Guest by Bram Stoker The Narrative of Mr. James Rigby by Arthur Morrison The Ides of March by E. W. Hornung 19TH CENTURY AMERICANS The Story of a Young Robber by Washington Irving Moon-Face by Jack London The Shadow of Quong Lung by C. W. Doyle THE EDWARDIANS The Fire of London by Arnold Bennett Madame Sara by L. T. Meade & Robert Eustace The Affair of the Man Who Called Himself Hamilton Cleek by Thomas W. Hanshew The Mysterious Railway Passenger by Maurice Leblan An Unposted Letter by Newton MacTavish The Adventure of “The Brain” by Bertram Atkey The Kailyard Novel by Clifford Ashdown The Parole of Gevil-Hay by K. & Hesketh Prichard The Hammerspond Park Burglary by H. G. Wells The Zayat Kiss by Sax Rohmer EARLY 20TH CENTURY AMERICANS The Infallible Godahl by Frederick Irving Anderson The Caballero’s Way by O. Henry Conscience in Art by O. Henry The Unpublishable Memoirs by A. S. W. Rosenbach The Universal Covered Carpet Tack Company by George Randolph Chester Boston Blackie’s Code by Jack Boyle The Gray Seal by Frank L. Packard The Dignity of Honest Labor by Percival Pollard The Eyes of the Countess Gerda by May Edginton The Willow Walk by Sinclair Lewis A Retrieved Reformation by O. Henry BETWEEN THE WORLD WARS The Burglar by John Russell Portrait of a Murderer by Q. Patrick Karmesin and the Big Flea by Gerald Kersh The Very Raffles-Like Episode of Castor and Pollux, Diamonds De Luxe by Harry Stephen Keeler The Most Dangerous Game by Richard Connell Four Square Jane by Edgar Wallace A Fortune in Tin by Edgar Wallace The Genuine Old Master by David Durham The Colonel Gives a Party by Everett Rhodes Castle Footsteps of Fear by Vincent Starrett The Signed Masterpieces by Frederick Irving Anderson The Hands of Mr. Ottermole by Thomas Burke “His Lady” to the Rescue by Bruce Graeme On Getting an Introduction by Edgar Wallace The 15 Murderers by Ben Hecht The Damsel in Distress by Leslie Charteris THE PULP ERA After-Dinner Story by William Irish The Mystery of the Golden Skull by Donald E. Keyhoe We Are All Dead by Bruno Fischer Horror Insured by Paul Ernst A Shock for the Countess by C. S. Montanye A Shabby Millionaire by Christopher B. Booth Crimson Shackles by Frederick C. Davis The Adventure of the Voodoo Moon by Eugene Thomas The Copper Bowl by George Fielding Eliot POST-WORLD WAR 2 The Cat-Woman by Erle Stanley Gardner The Kid Stacks a Deck by Erle Stanley Gardner The Theft from the Empty Room by Edward D. Hoch The Shill by Stephen Marlowe The Dr. Sherrock Commission by Frank McAuliffe In Round Figures by Erle Stanley Gardner The Racket Buster by Erle Stanley Gardner Sweet Music by Robert L. Fish THE MODERNS The Ehrengraf Experience by Lawrence Block Quarry’s Luck by Max Allan Collins The Partnership by David Morrell Blackburn Sins by Bradley Denton The Black Spot by Loren D. Estleman Car Trouble by Jas A. Petrin Keller on the Spot by Lawrence Block Boudin Noir by R. T. Lawton Like a Thief in the Night by Lawrence Block Too Many Crooks by Donald E. Westlake

  2. 4 out of 5

    Gwen - Chew & Digest Books -

    This was so much of a chunkster and I enjoyed every moment until I got to the more current stories, called The Moderns, in the book. The rest was pure perfect classic devilry, whether Rogue or Villan. At times it was stomach turning, I'm referring to the "Yellow Peril" era of such damn bigotry that I wanted to slap them. Yet they were all products of their times and this book was interesting in how it showed the transgression over the decades on who were considered the bad guys and who were just This was so much of a chunkster and I enjoyed every moment until I got to the more current stories, called The Moderns, in the book. The rest was pure perfect classic devilry, whether Rogue or Villan. At times it was stomach turning, I'm referring to the "Yellow Peril" era of such damn bigotry that I wanted to slap them. Yet they were all products of their times and this book was interesting in how it showed the transgression over the decades on who were considered the bad guys and who were just the raconteurs. I was shocked at times by the small bios before the shorts. There were authors that I knew nothing about and then others that I knew well, but had no idea of either their major successes or their less famous other characters that I was about to meet. Like Earle Stanley Gardner, creator of Perry Mason? He had tons of other interesting shorts and series before Mason. And mea culpa, I'd never known the original creator/novelist of The Fugitive or Bullit. Thank you, Robert L. Fish, and thanks for setting up your estate to keep giving back via the Robert L. Fish Memorial Award. It was not a page-turner, wasn't meant to be. I read one story, flipped to something else for a chapter for two, went back to the next Rogue or Villan, etc. My issue with "The Moderns" is that well, I've heard of most of them before and wasn't transported to another time, even when the stories were set in past eras. We've lost something as a people and definitely as writers/readers. I'm not sure what to call it, maybe naivety? There is a period or style that mystery lovers know well called hardboiled and film lovers call noir. We've moved to a much darker place than that other was and personally, I prefer the older styles of both mysteries and films. Life may have seemed dark to them, but to us? It was like blooming Disneyland compared to now. That leaves me saddened, so you get four stars for making me mourn our innocence, sorry.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Judy Lesley

    Thank you to the Amazon Vine Voices program and Vintage Crime/Black Lizard for a review copy of this book. I absolutely revel in reading short stories. Most often I concentrate on mystery and suspense so this collection, while not being a collection of those specific genres, was full immersion time for me. This Otto Penzler edited book concentrates on the villains and rogues with Penzler making that distinction easy to understand once you begin reading the stories. These are not mysteries for a Thank you to the Amazon Vine Voices program and Vintage Crime/Black Lizard for a review copy of this book. I absolutely revel in reading short stories. Most often I concentrate on mystery and suspense so this collection, while not being a collection of those specific genres, was full immersion time for me. This Otto Penzler edited book concentrates on the villains and rogues with Penzler making that distinction easy to understand once you begin reading the stories. These are not mysteries for a reader to try to solve but they do all involve a crime of some type and the degree of "badness" of the principal character is what differentiates a rogue from a villain. So, yes I positively loved this book but that doesn't mean it had no problems. Luckily the problems are not with content, but they are physical and you may need to make the decision of whether to read the digital or print copy. My copy is print and this is one B.I.G. book being 9"x7" and a generous 2 inches thick. It is heavy, 3.25 pounds, and awkward to hold being just over 900 pages. I have some arthritis in my wrists and thumb joints so I had to either put the book on a pillow to hold or have the book on a table so I wouldn't need to hold it. The stories are also formatted in a very unusual way; the introduction for each story by Penzler is written as a standard page, but the stories themselves are divided into two columns per page in a sort of magazine style. Those are the problems you might want to consider as you think about buying this collection. The book contains 73 short stories and each has an introduction by Otto Penzler which gives the publishing biography of the author plus delicious little tidbits of information that make the authors and their stories come alive. Sometimes I enjoy the introduction more than the story. There are eight categories into which the stories are arranged: The Victorians, Nineteenth-Century Americans, The Edwardians, Early Twentieth-Century Americans, Between the World Wars, The Pulp Era, Post-World War II, and The Moderns. I was most surprised that there are only ten stories in The Moderns section and three of those are by Lawrence Block and one by Donald E. Westlake. Most of the stories in this collection are of the length I expect when I think about a short story, but there is one by Donald E. Keyhoe called "The Mystery of the Golden Skull" which is fifty pages long. Some authors are represented multiple times and many are authors I was completely unfamiliar with. Some of the names I expect you will recognize, but not necessarily associate that author with featuring a villain as their main character. I'm certainly not going to try to list all the authors, but a sampling includes E. W. Hornung (Raffles), Washington Irving, Maurice Leblanc (Arsene Lupin), H. G. Wells, Sinclair Lewis, and Edgar Wallace. Some of my favorite stories were "The Affair of the Man Who Called Himself Hamilton Cleek" by Thomas Hanshew, "The Universal Covered Carpet Tack Company" featuring Get-Rich-Quick Wallingham by George Randolph Chester and "The Caballero's Way" by O. Henry featuring someone I've never known began as a villain, The Cisco Kid. This is a collection which was rich with discoveries for me. I hope you find it so, also.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Annie

    Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. This is a BIG book, 944 pages, including 73 stories from both famous authors (O. Henry, Erle Stanley Gardner, Lawrence Block, Max Allan Collins and many others) as well as authors who are less well known today than they were in their contemporary periods, but may be familiar to fans of the old pulp magazines such as Phantom Detective (C. S. Montanye, Paul Ernst, Donald Keyhoe, etc). The collection is broken down and arranged chronologically: The Originally published on my blog: Nonstop Reader. This is a BIG book, 944 pages, including 73 stories from both famous authors (O. Henry, Erle Stanley Gardner, Lawrence Block, Max Allan Collins and many others) as well as authors who are less well known today than they were in their contemporary periods, but may be familiar to fans of the old pulp magazines such as Phantom Detective (C. S. Montanye, Paul Ernst, Donald Keyhoe, etc). The collection is broken down and arranged chronologically: The Victorians, Nineteenth-Century Americans, The Edwardians, Early Twentieth-Century Americans, Between The World Wars, The Pulp Era, Post-World War II, and The Moderns. Each of the stories has a short introduction including publication notes and author bios. The intros were a real treat to read and even though I love detective fiction trivia, there was quite a lot that was new to me. I love anthologies and collections, and this one is no exception. The hook for the anthology is that the stories feature one or more rogues/villains. Sometimes they're portrayed in a more favorable light, like the stories featuring Lupin and Raffles and some are just dastardly, Dracula and Horace Dorrington, for example. Since the book covers such a broad span of time, some of the stories reflect the language and dialogue of their period, but for anyone comfortable reading a Holmes story, these stories won't present any problems at all. I enjoyed quite a lot of these and even enjoyed reading a few of them aloud together (fun road trip activity, passenger reads, driver drives :). Heartily recommend this collection. I found a number of authors who were not previously familiar to me for further reading. The collection's editor, Otto Penzler, has curated another superbly entertaining thematic collection. Four stars Disclosure: I received an ARC at no cost from the author/publisher.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Diane Hernandez

    Another great anthology from Otto Penzler, this time investigating crime. Focusing on criminals from the Victorian era to modern day fiction, the Big Book of Rogues and Villains has something for everyone. Some of the bad guys are mostly good like Donald Westlake’s Dortmunder, who is more of a bungler than a burglar. Some are misunderstood like Dracula. Others are pure evil like Dr. Fu Manchu. However, all are entertaining. There is great value in this curated collection of 72 stories. It has Another great anthology from Otto Penzler, this time investigating crime. Focusing on criminals from the Victorian era to modern day fiction, the Big Book of Rogues and Villains has something for everyone. Some of the bad guys are mostly good like Donald Westlake’s Dortmunder, who is more of a bungler than a burglar. Some are misunderstood like Dracula. Others are pure evil like Dr. Fu Manchu. However, all are entertaining. There is great value in this curated collection of 72 stories. It has over 900 pages of criminal enterprises to delight readers with hours of pleasure. It is also fun to jump from era to era and see how writing has changed over the decades. The Big Book of Rogues and Villains is great for fans of traditional mysteries such as the Holmes or Christie canon. The author list sounds like a Who’s Who of great fiction from the last 150 years. It includes Washington Irving, H.G. Wells, Sinclair Lewis and even O. Henry, who are best known for genres other than crime. There are many twentieth century authors that are unfamiliar to modern readers, which is a shame based on the skill of their stories located in this anthology. Overall, this collection is highly recommended for readers of mystery stories of all kinds. It is a great way to find new authors whose larger body of works are waiting for discovery by new readers. 5 stars! Thanks to the publisher, Vintage Crime/Black Lizard, and netgalley for an advanced review copy. This book will be published on October 24, 2017.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tenebrous Kate

    With over 70 stories in its index, this hefty tome is probably best suited to crime fiction completists. It feels odd to write this, but Penzler's focus on better-known stories (e.g. "The Most Dangerous Game" and "Dracula's Guest") often works against the book, since many readers of darker anthologies will be familiar with a certain percentage of the contents. That's not to say there's not some great stuff going on here! The editor's prefaces to each story help put the material into context, With over 70 stories in its index, this hefty tome is probably best suited to crime fiction completists. It feels odd to write this, but Penzler's focus on better-known stories (e.g. "The Most Dangerous Game" and "Dracula's Guest") often works against the book, since many readers of darker anthologies will be familiar with a certain percentage of the contents. That's not to say there's not some great stuff going on here! The editor's prefaces to each story help put the material into context, something missing from many other mega-anthologies. Where the book shines is in unearthing vintage pulp stories that are--shall we say--Relics Of Their Time. A couple of standouts are the cheeky petty-criminals-versus-pseudoscience-feminists yarn "The Adventure of 'The Brain'" by Bertram Atkey and the sublimely bizarre "Horror Insured" by Paul Ernst, which features the Weird Tales archvillain Doctor Satan. One of the downfalls of such a large survey of villainous characters is that stories tend to take on very similar shapes after reading several entries in a row. This is best digested in small bites when readers are struck with the appetite for stories of those working on the nefarious side of the crime fiction equation.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Hiland

    In need of something "undemanding" to read while recuperating from an operation, I came upon Otto Penzler's "Rogues and Villains" book and snatched it up. Though it's a behemoth, at over 900 pages and two inches thick, it delivers the goods. It is a great introduction to authors like Edgar Wallace, Sax Rohmer, and Erle Stanley Gardner (the latter otherwise inaccessible if one doesn't want to wade through Perry Mason mysteries). Another pleasing feature is the chronological arrangement of In need of something "undemanding" to read while recuperating from an operation, I came upon Otto Penzler's "Rogues and Villains" book and snatched it up. Though it's a behemoth, at over 900 pages and two inches thick, it delivers the goods. It is a great introduction to authors like Edgar Wallace, Sax Rohmer, and Erle Stanley Gardner (the latter otherwise inaccessible if one doesn't want to wade through Perry Mason mysteries). Another pleasing feature is the chronological arrangement of stories, as well as background on each writer and the respective tale being presented. Also, there's a short but enlightening essay in the Introduction about the difference between rogues and villains. My only complaint about the book is its inclusion of "The Moderns," (or portions of it); there should've been more Donald Westlake (or even some Fletcher Flora), and less Bradley Denton, the former being all class, while the latter resorted to gore and worse to provide its questionable thrills. But as with many other things in these barbarous times, villains just aren't what they used to be.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    The first of these collections that didn't thoroughly grab me - this, for me, is a work to be appreciated as both an object and as a labor of love by the authors and editor alike, rather than read for enjoyment. First, it's very size makes both the digital and print editions hard to manage and second, you lose the forest for the trees a bit because of how many historical/geographical distinctions are made and included. I appreciate showing the scope of the genre but by the beginning of The Pulp The first of these collections that didn't thoroughly grab me - this, for me, is a work to be appreciated as both an object and as a labor of love by the authors and editor alike, rather than read for enjoyment. First, it's very size makes both the digital and print editions hard to manage and second, you lose the forest for the trees a bit because of how many historical/geographical distinctions are made and included. I appreciate showing the scope of the genre but by the beginning of The Pulp Era I had lost a grasp on where we'd all started. Anyhoo, small quibbles on what should be included in most crime-lovers' libraries. I received an ecopy from the publishers and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Nihal Vrana

    Well, up until the modern section it was a drag to read. There were some really strong stories here and there but overall it was more or less the different iterations of same tired concepts. Also the xenophobia in the "Yellow terror" stories were a bit hard to stomach, even when you try to read them as timepieces. Lawrence Block saved the book for me all 3 of his stories were excellent, particularly Keller on the spot. Washington Irving's story was another, class A creepy one, showing how real Well, up until the modern section it was a drag to read. There were some really strong stories here and there but overall it was more or less the different iterations of same tired concepts. Also the xenophobia in the "Yellow terror" stories were a bit hard to stomach, even when you try to read them as timepieces. Lawrence Block saved the book for me all 3 of his stories were excellent, particularly Keller on the spot. Washington Irving's story was another, class A creepy one, showing how real villains would be. Some of the con stories were really enjoyable too, the carpet tack ine for example. And Westlake one shines also, he is a very underrated writer. I love Penzler's collections, they are an interesting reading experience. This one is a slightly weaker.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Kristine

    The Big Book of Rogues and Villains by Otto Penzler is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early December. Drawing from mystery and its various subgenres, chronological segments (the Victorians into the Moderns, or post post-World War II), and range of activities from lies and petty theft to murder and true evil, Penzler refers to direct quotations as indications of villainy and badness prefaced by the work of fiction, information about the author, and the state of culture at time of its The Big Book of Rogues and Villains by Otto Penzler is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in early December. Drawing from mystery and its various subgenres, chronological segments (the Victorians into the Moderns, or post post-World War II), and range of activities from lies and petty theft to murder and true evil, Penzler refers to direct quotations as indications of villainy and badness prefaced by the work of fiction, information about the author, and the state of culture at time of its publishing. My favorites baddies of the bunch include Count Dracula, Dr Fu-Manchu, the Cisco Kid, General Zaroff (from the Most Dangerous Game), and the Saint (aka Simon Templar).

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Fredenburgh

    Interesting book of short stories about rogues and villains.It is divided into 8 sections beginning with stories from the Victorians to the Modern Age. The stories range from 1 page to quite lengthy.Some are funny, some scary and most are interesting. Well worth reading if you like short stories.Some of the more famous writers are H.G.Wells,O.Henry,Erle Stanley Gardner, and Lawrence Block. My only complaint about the book is its' size and weight, 910 pages!

  12. 4 out of 5

    Eric Ruark

    Great book. Penzler has compiled some of the best short stories from the greatest mystery writers since Edgar Allen Poe. This is a must have for any mystery lover. I could gush about this book for all 20,000 characters but if I say anything about any story it would act as a spoiler. Just read this book and enjoy all the villains and characters that inhabit the pages. You won't be disappointed.

  13. 5 out of 5

    H.Friedmann

    A wonderful collection of stories that introduced me to new characters and re-united me with old ones. Most of the authors I had not read, and some of them I had, but not in that context. All in all it did what every good compilation does, gave me a wonderful overview of a subject and introduced me to authors I may go back to.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Rob Atkinson

    Not every story here is top notch pulp — for instance I was a bit disappointed by Fu Manchu — but overall a great guilty pleasure, and a great introduction to some lesser known writers who are hugely entertaining. Of course my favorites are out of print! I look forward to going downtown sometime and visiting the editor’s place, the Mysterious Bookshop, to track down some of the best....

  15. 4 out of 5

    Julie Davis

    I love these sorts of stories and I also really appreciate Otto Penzler's skill in selecting and organizing this sort of collection, especially when enhanced by his brief biographies of the author before each tale. Highly recommended, though for late night reading one might want the Kindle version as it is indeed a very big book for reading in bed.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bob

    Another of Penzler's exceptional compilations, this time focusing on mainly British and American authors of crime dramas in the short story format. A wonderful way to introduce yourself to some authors you may have previously missed and to give yourself ideas for pursuing their catalogs in more depth.

  17. 4 out of 5

    David Ashton

    Phenomenal material but personally I found the layout difficult to navigate.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Lind

    One of Penzler's best collections. It even features some of the more popular stories that are in the public domain

  19. 5 out of 5

    Melisende

    Pull up a comfy chair and delve into the creme de la creme of fictional villains.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Donna Davis

    Well, go figure. I had this one pegged as a surefire winner, but it turns out that almost all that is good here is the cover. Does Penzler know that women also write? I received my copy free and early thanks to Net Galley and Doubleday for review purposes.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Rocelle Shulman

  22. 5 out of 5

    Richard

  23. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Zareva

  24. 4 out of 5

    Jill

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tara Weiss

  26. 4 out of 5

    James

  27. 5 out of 5

    Dan

  28. 4 out of 5

    Becca

  29. 5 out of 5

    Firefly

  30. 4 out of 5

    Andréa

    Note: I received a digital review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

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