The Vicious Circle: Mystery and Crime Stories by Members of the Algonquin Round Table

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9781605980249: The Vicious Circle: Mystery and Crime Stories by Members of the Algonquin Round Table

The mystery and crime fiction of the Algonquin Round Table.

With the possible exception of the expatriate writers living in Paris in the 1920s, no single group of American literary figures has achieved as much fame or notoriety as the New York sophisticates who met to match wits and attempt to outshine each other as members of what came to be called the Algonquin Round Table.

The humorists Robert Benchley and S. J. Perelman, playwrights Marc Connelly and George S. Kaufman, novelists Edna Ferber and Alexander Woollcott, and most famously, Dorothy Parker, were the literary luminaries who made up this group, and each one produced a piece or two of crime fiction at some point, which are collected for the first time in this anthology by acclaimed mystery editor Otto Penzler.

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About the Author:

Otto Penzler is the proprietor of the Mysterious Bookshop in New York City. He is the founder of the Mysterious Press and Otto Penzler Books, and has received an Edgar Award, an Ellery Queen Award, and a Raven Award for his contribution to the mystery field. His anthology The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps was a New York Times Bestseller.

From Booklist:

The acerbic, alcohol-fueled critics, playwrights, and story writers who gathered at New York’s Algonquin Hotel in the 1920s to trade insults and gossip are legendary for their wit, eccentricity, and literary leaps. Rebounding after compiling the truly massive The Black Lizard Big Book of Pulps (2007), Penzler, the mystery genre’s ardent champion, returns to his favorite form and presents another concentrated, cleverly themed anthology. Previous collections have gathered crime stories about sports and gambling; here humor is a common denominator, beginning with Penzler’s entertaining introduction. In “Farewell, My Lovely Appetizer,” the comic master S. J. Perelman spoofs the iconic figure of the hard-drinking, skirt-chasing private eye, coining hilarious pseudo–tough guy slang and choreographing elaborately pointless subterfuge. Marc Connelly cooks up a wee murder mystery involving two midgets that seems tailor-made for the old Alfred Hitchcock Presents television series. The crimes here are mainly against pretension and hope, and what masterful interpretations are found in classic tales by Ring Lardner, Edna Ferber, and Dorothy Parker in the collection’s finest work, the profoundly empathic “Big Blonde.” --Donna Seaman

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