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Buffalo News (16/Aug/1992) - Cream of the Crime Crop



Cream of the Crime Crop

Class tells. Which is why the cream of the 17 short stories in "Kingpins" were written by the likes of Raymond Chandler and Andrew Vachss. All center around organized crime, originated in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine or Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, and have been assembled by editors Cynthia Manson and Charles Ardai.

Chandler, who invented Philip Marlowe and dominated private eye fiction for 25 years, is represented by 1959's "Philip Marlowe's Last Case." It finds the L.A. shamus manipulated dangerously by mobsters angry because he sent one of their big shots to the gas chamber.

In a model of succinct storytelling, Vachss — one of today's toughest narrators — describes an effort by an old-time mob hit man to show the godfather he hasn't lost his lethal touch. But the aged killer discovers — too late — that the Family's new generation of "soldiers" isn't as naive as he thought.