The Best American Mystery Stories edited by Scott Turow and Otto Penzler Quercus, HK$220 Mysteries are classic three-act stories that present a conflict, an exposition and a resolution, writes Scott Turow in the introduction to The Best American Mystery Stories. Most of the stories here adhere roughly to this framework. However, that doesn't mean they're necessarily formulaic in the mechanical or fixed sense. The 21 contributions to this 2006 volume prove as much, with some of these short story pieces, such as Emily Raboteau's concise Smile, showing deftly how much can be achieved within understood parameters to afford its audience that exquisite moment of realisation, and more. Equally compelling is Jeffery Deaver's Born Bad, which tells of a mother and daughter spliced only by blood. Crime, it is revealed, does not always run in the family. In this volume there is a contribution that crosses the borders - it appears in both this and the Best Short Story volumes. Joyce Carol Oates' So Help Me God excels in many areas, not the least of which is that it prompts the reader to ask: 'What happens next?'