I’m a fan of Otto Penzler’s anthologies. This latest tome, 911 pages, includes 72 short stories of every imaginable type. Penzler presents these stories in a rough chronological order. As usual, Penzler chooses some obscure stories by some even more obscure authors. I prefer the more modern stories, but almost every taste in crime fiction is represented here. I enjoyed Otto Penzler’s informative Introduction. If you’re looking for a big stocking stuffer, look no farther than The Big Book of Rogues and Villains. GRADE: A
Introduction by Otto Penzler
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

The Story of a Young Robber by Washington Irving
Moon-Face by Jack London
The Shadow of Quong Lung by C. W. Doyle

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

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

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

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

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 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

14 thoughts on “FORGOTTEN BOOKS #450: THE BIG BOOK OF ROGUES AND VILLAINS Edited by Otto Penzler

    1. wolf

      Yes, more than 900 pages?

      The last George Martin book I had to cut in three pieces for my wife – though that hurt a lot …

      Now she’s only reading books on her kindle and she says it’s much easier for her (she’s had eye problems anyway all her life – I always joke if she had put on her contact lenses she probably would have rejected me immediately …) 🙂

      That was one of the nice things in the pulp area – novels never had more than 200 pages so you could read them in one sitting usually.

      The risks I see with collections like this:
      1) many stories which you don’t like/don’t want to read
      2) many stories which you’ve already read/from books you already own
      So what’s the point again?

      Save the trees!

  1. Jeff Meyerson

    I agree with you about Otto’s excellent anthologies – the locked room one was particularly good – so even though I’m not as taken with rogues and villains as other things, I will definitely read this, especially as I see William Irish, Erle Stanley Gardner, Lawrence Block, Donald Westlake, Edward D. Hoch, Gerald Kersh, O. Henry, and Frank McAuliffe (at a quick glance).

    For those (Wolf, Steve) looking for short books, let me recommend a couple of non-mysteries that come in at 180 and 214 pages respectively, Darryl Ponicsan’s THE LAST DETAIL and (the sequel, 40 years later) LAST FLAG FLYING.

  2. R. K. Robinson

    Also, I’m unsure who the target audience for this one is. New-to-mysteries readers? Readers who want to read an historical overview of the genre? Those who are looking for a gift to give to a mystery-reading friend?


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