More Mystery, More SuspenseSix NYRB Classics
This collection of mystery and suspense features six more thrilling tales replete with social critique and literary flair. The British writer Geoffrey Household, wrote the New York Times, “helped to develop the suspense story into an art form.” In his Rogue Male, a professional hunter who enters the estate of a Hitleresque European dictator narrowly misses his opportunity to pull the trigger and ends up relentlessly pursued by his agents. Anna Seghers’s Transit, meanwhile, is a gripping testament to the horrors of Nazi Germany: A nameless concentration camp escapee is tasked with delivering a letter to a man he finds dead, having left behind little more than the pages of a novel. Determined to find the man’s widow and captivated by this mysterious manuscript, he takes on a new identity and joins the crush of refugees in the port of Marseille. Set in Stalin’s Russia, Victor Serge’s The Case of Comrade Tulayev is a riveting murder mystery introduced by Susan Sontag. Serge, an outspoken revolutionary exiled from the Soviet Union, lays bare the terrors of a regime under which no one is free from scrutiny.
In Leonardo Sciascia’s To Each His Own, another whodunit doubling as a political commentary, a mild-mannered pharmacist receives an anonymous death threat for reasons unknown—and soon meets his unhappy end. When the police investigation comes back empty, a local schoolteacher with a love of literature picks up the case. Helen Weinzweig’s Basic Black with Pearls is a subversive jewel of espionage fiction by a woman who began her literary career at fifty-two. Shirley, a Toronto housewife, has long been entwined with Coenraad, a master of disguise who works for a mysterious international agency—and she discovers more than she bargained for when he summons her back to the streets of her childhood. Last but not least, Antal Szerb’s dreamy and macabre Journey by Moonlight is a darkly funny tale of a Venice honeymoon gone awry. When Hungarian newlyweds Mihály and Erzsi get separated due to a train mix-up, Mihály finds himself haunted by the ghosts of his past as he wanders the Italian countryside.