Selected by #1 bestselling author Lee Child: the twenty finest short stories of 2021. There is no finer form for a crime than the short story. WIthin a few pages, a clue can be discovered, divulged and its significance determined; all else is mere embellishment. The classic mystery tale will be familiar to aficionados and casual readers alike: it was invented by Edgar Allen Poe, popularised by Arthur Conan Doyle, and perfected by Agatha Christie. But mystery fiction has changed a great deal over the years – as have all things – and the writers within these pages present far more than a simple case of crime and resolution. Far from predictable, these stories provide fertile grounds of aberrant circumstances and the poor choices they lead to. You will find diverse methods and motivations, original perspectives and perils. Above all, you will find tales of the extremes of human psychology caused by despair, hate, greed, fear, envy, insanity or love. Featuring stories by: Doug Allyn, Jim Allyn, Ambrose Bierce, Michael Bracken, James Lee Burke, Martin Edwards, John Floyd, Jacqueline Freimor, Alison Gaylin, Sue Grafton, Paul Kemprecos, Stephen King, Janice Law, Dennis McFadden, David Marcum, Tom Mead, David Morrell, Joyce Carol Oates, Sara Paretsky, Joseph Walker, Andrew Welsh-Huggins.