The Library of the World's Best Mystery and Detective Stories is a six-volume edition, which contains one hundred and one tales written by authors as diverse and separated by history as Pliny the Younger (first century AD), Voltaire (17th century) and Guy de Maupassant (19th century) and also from different parts of the world.
This volume which is the first, contains twenty interesting stories, and an introduction by the editor. The fascinating aspect of mystery stories is that sometimes the author allows the puzzle to solve itself without expert detective aid, while in other cases, a sleuth bends his or her deductive powers to the mystery. In rare cases, the author leaves the tale unexplained and allows the readers to draw their own conclusions.
The stories contained in this volume include Francis Marion Crawford's strange yarn, By the Waters of Paradise, which recounts how a young man's tragic past takes a turn for the better when he meets a lovely young stranger. The New England writer, Mary Wilkins Freeman's chilling tale of the supernatural, The Shadows on the Wall, tells of the strange circumstances which face a young woman who arrives at the home of her dead fiancé to find his three adoring sisters behaving in a very odd fashion. From the creator of the famous amateur sleuth, Uncle Abner, comes another charming puzzle in the form of the story, The Corpus Delicti. This story by Melville Davisson Post is certainly a deliciously enjoyable one! Other stories include two by Ambrose Bierce entitled The Heiress from Redhorse, a seemingly trite tale with a happy ending about a foolish heiress, but one which employs a sinister twist in the tail.
Bierce's other creepy tale The Man and the Snake tells of the horror experienced by a lonely man when he finds a snake in his apartment. No anthology of mystery stories is complete without at least one from the master, Edgar Allan Poe. This one too, has its share – The Gold Bug, a story of a man who visits his entomologist friend on a remote South Carolina and becomes obsessed by a weird bug that looks like a skull but seems to be made of pure organic gold! Washington Irving and Charles Brockden Brown are also featured in this collection.
One of the most fascinating aspects of this anthology is that it was edited by Julian Hawthorne, the star-crossed son of the famous writer Nathaniel Hawthorne. A great read for all ages!