FORGOTTEN BOOKS #386: DETECTIVES A TO Z Edited by Frank D. McSherry, Jr. Martin H. Greenberg & Charles G. Waugh

detectives a to z
As Patti Abbott’s Special FFB on Anthologies approaches, I’ve been surveying the possible contenders in my book collection. Dozens of books. I’ve unearthed several candidates. Dectectives A to Z: 26 Stories With a Sleuth for Every Letter of the Alphabet is a wonderful anthology from 1985. Check out the stories and authors in this volume. Great stories and great fun! I’ve chosen another book for the September 9 FFB, but Detectives A to Z was a strong possibility. Do you see any of your favorite stories on this list? GRADE: A
A: Lew Archer, “Midnight Blue,” Ross Macdonald
B: Father Brown, “The Sign of the Broken Sword,” G. K. Chesteron
C: Steve Carella, “Nightshade,” Ed McBain
D: C. Auguste Dupin, “The Murders in the Rue Morgue,” Edgar Allan Poe
E: Tricky Enright, “Why Shoot a Corpse?” John K. Butler
F: Gideon Fell, “Invisible Hands,” John Dickson Carr
G: Colonel Anthony Gethryn, “The Wood-For-The-Trees,” Philip MacDonald
H: Sherlock Holmes, “The Adventure of the Copper Beeches,” Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
I: I, “I,” Edward Wellen
J: Samuel Johnson, “The Disappearing Servant Wench,” Lillian de la Torre
K: Kennedy, “Take It and Like It,” Frederick Nebel
L: Captain Leopold, “Captain Leopold and the Arrow Murders,” Edward D. Hoch
M: Inspector Maigret, “Inspector Maigret Pursues,” Georges Simenon
N: “Nameless Detective,” “A Killing in Xanadu,” Bill Pronzini
O: Patrick Michael O’Bannon, “The Maimed and the Halt,” Joe Gores
P: Patrick Petrella, “The Happy Brotherhood,” Michael Gilbert
Q: Ellery Queen, “The Lamp of God,” Ellery Queen
R: Rumpole, “Rumpole and the Expert Witness,” John Mortimer
S: The Saint, “The Man Who Liked Toys,” Leslie Chareris
T: Virgil Tibbs, “Virgil Tibbs and the Fallen Body,” John Ball
U: Dr. Wendell Urth, “The Singing Bell,” Isaac Asimov
V: Professor Augustus S. F. X. Van Dusen, “The Phantom Motor,” Jacques Futrelle
W: Nero Wolfe, “Instead of Evidence,” Rex Stout
X: Monsignor Xavier, “The Sweating Statue,” Edward D. Hoch
Y: Trygve Yamamura, “Dead Phone,” Poul Anderson
Z: Sidney Zoom, “The Case of the Scattered Rubies,” Erle Stanley Gardner

14 thoughts on “FORGOTTEN BOOKS #386: DETECTIVES A TO Z Edited by Frank D. McSherry, Jr. Martin H. Greenberg & Charles G. Waugh

  1. Richard R.

    There are a lot of good stories there. This is an excellent anthology. Funny thing, I just read the Nebel last week, in another anthology, which will be my September 9 selection.

  2. Jeff Meyerson

    Well, the Holmes and the Nameless (which I just reread recently) and the Rumpole are obvious choices, but I’ve probably read most of them. You can’t go wrong with Michael Gilbert, for example. Or Ed Hoch. Or Joe Gores.

    Frank McSherry is a real name from the past I haven’t seen in years. He was a mainstay of the old Armchair Detective days.

    Good collection.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, clearly the editors were going for “safe” stories instead of ground-breaking work. I enjoy DETECTIVES A TO Z and other themed anthologies.

  3. maggie mason

    Interesting that they had all the letters of the alphabet. That’s a trick I use to get to sleep at night, doing lists alphabetically (dog breeds, street names, etc.)

    Nero Wolfe would have been my favorite of those listed. Tricky Enright is the most appealing name I’ve never heard before.

    1. george Post author

      Maggie, I seldom have trouble falling asleep. Once in a while I have problems falling back to sleep after my usual 3:00 A.M. bathroom visit.

      1. Wolf Böhrendt

        Same with me, George!

        Though it seems I’m lucky – many men my age have to go to the “restroom” (isn’t that what you call it in the US?)at least twice a night.

        Back to the stories:

        I remember some of them, especially those armchair detective Urth stories by Asimov who shared the fear of flying with his hero. I felt really strange reading about this in his autobiography …

      2. george Post author

        Wolf, Asimov is an underrated mystery writer. I’ve enjoyed his clever Urth stories, too! I don’t have a fear of flying, but I don’t like it. Especially with all the Security hoops passengers have to jump through today!

  4. Jeff Meyerson

    I think it drives Jackie (who has insomnia) that I am asleep within 5 minutes of my head hitting the pillow most nights. At 4 am, sometimes it take 30 minutes or more to fall back to sleep. Then I make lists in my head.

    1. george Post author

      Jeff, when I have trouble falling back to sleep, I avoid thinking about work. That keeps me up longer! I try to just clear my mind and let sleep take me to Dreamland again.

  5. Jerry House

    This one slipped by my rader, George. It’s certainly a great line-up and I have only read about half the stories. I’ll be on the lookout for the book. Thanks.


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