Buy used: $12.42
Get Fast, Free Shipping with Amazon Prime
FREE delivery Friday, June 9 on orders shipped by Amazon over $25
Or fastest delivery Wednesday, June 7. Order within 21 hrs 33 mins
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Used - Good: All pages and cover are intact including the dust cover, if applicable . Spine may show signs of wear. Pages may include limited notes and highlighting. May include "From the library of" labels. Shrink wrap, dust covers, or boxed set case may be missing. Item may be missing bundled media.
Access codes and supplements are not guaranteed with used items.
Have one to sell?
Loading your book clubs
There was a problem loading your book clubs. Please try again.
Not in a club? Learn more
Amazon book clubs early access

Join or create book clubs

Choose books together

Track your books
Bring your club to Amazon Book Clubs, start a new book club and invite your friends to join, or find a club that’s right for you for free.
Kindle app logo image

Download the free Kindle app and start reading Kindle books instantly on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required. Learn more

Read instantly on your browser with Kindle for Web.

Using your mobile phone camera - scan the code below and download the Kindle app.

QR code to download the Kindle App

Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more

Follow the Author

Something went wrong. Please try your request again later.

The Best American Noir of the Century (The Best American Series ®) Hardcover – October 5, 2010

4.5 4.5 out of 5 stars 445 ratings

New from Used from

Books with Buzz
Discover the latest buzz-worthy books, from mysteries and romance to humor and nonfiction. Explore more

Editorial Reviews


“Surprisingly, 20 of the 39 well-chosen stories published between 1923 and 2007 in this impressive crime anthology date to the last two decades, which may sound counterintuitive to casual readers who associate noir with the 1940s and 1950s. All the contributors excel at showing the omnipresence of the dark side of humanity in many different times and locales. In addition to names synonymous with noir such as Cornell Woolrich and Jim Thompson, Ellroy (Blood’s a Rover) and Penzler (The Best American Mystery Stories) offer depressing fare from writers better known for other work, like David Morrell, whose first published story, “The Dripping,” about the disappearance of a man’s wife and daughter, is one of the book’s best. Lesser-known authors also distinguish themselves, like Christopher Coake, whose reverse chronology in ‘All Through the House” serves to heighten the suspense rather than dissipate it. (Oct.)”
Publishers Weekly, STARRED

"This generous, flavorful collection of noir-tinged tales comes cherry-picked by Ellroy and Penzler, who exclude Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler as authors of "private detective stories." Most of the 39 tales here appeared originally in magazines, not only in pulps like
Manhunt and Black Mask but also in the more literary American Mercury, Southern Review, and Omni. Each story is introduced with a brief author biography. These pay respect to the careers of these professional scribblers, who managed (with the aid of multiple pseudonyms) to keep body and soul together writing and writing still more. The collection opens with Tod Robbins's "Spurs" (1923), a beauty-and-the-beast tale that questions which is which; it was the basis for Tod Browning's chilling movie Freaks. The collection closes with Lorenzo Carcaterra's "Missing the Morning Bus" (2007), in which, amid half-emptied bowls of peanuts and salsa, Death takes a seat at a weekly card game. In between come memorable but lesser-known tales by, among others, Dorothy B. Hughes, Jim Thompson, Cornell Woolrich, Patricia Highsmith, and Bradford Morrow. Verdict Rooting around in the rich soil amassed by almost a century of noir, Ellroy and Penzler unearth dark, pungent, and flavorful truffles that will satisfy fans and may well whet the appetites of new readers." —Library Journal

About the Author

OTTO PENZLER is a renowned mystery editor, publisher, columnist, and owner of New York’s The Mysterious Bookshop, the oldest and largest bookstore solely dedicated to mystery fiction. He has edited more than fifty crime-fiction anthologies. He lives in New York.

James Ellroy was born in Los Angeles in 1948. His L.A. Quartet novels—The Black Dahlia, The Big Nowhere, L.A. Confidential, and White Jazz—were international bestsellers. 

Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; Reprint edition (October 5, 2010)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 624 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0547330774
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0547330778
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 2.2 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.75 x 2 x 9.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.5 4.5 out of 5 stars 445 ratings

About the author

Follow authors to get new release updates, plus improved recommendations.
Brief content visible, double tap to read full content.
Full content visible, double tap to read brief content.

Otto Penzler is the proprietor of The Mysterious Bookshop ( in New York City and is regarded as the world's foremost authority on crime, mystery and suspense fiction. He founded The Mysterious Press in 1975, which he later sold to Warner Books (1989). He reacquired the imprint in 2010 and it now publishes original books as an imprint at Grove/Atlantic, and both original works and classic crime fiction through (, in partnership with Open Road Integrated Media.

Penzler is a prolific editor, and has won two Edgar Awards, for Encyclopedia of Mystery and Detection in 1977 and The Lineup in 2010. The Mystery Writers of America awarded him the prestigious Ellery Queen Award in 1994 and the Raven--the group's highest non-writing award--in 2003.

Customer reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5
445 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on February 12, 2023
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on December 2, 2022
One person found this helpful
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on June 7, 2012
12 people found this helpful
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on January 5, 2020
33 people found this helpful
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on October 8, 2019
10 people found this helpful
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on July 15, 2022
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on August 7, 2020
4 people found this helpful
Reviewed in the United States 🇺🇸 on May 21, 2018
8 people found this helpful

Top reviews from other countries

Ben Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars Some of the best American Noir Fiction Ever Created
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on May 27, 2021
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful collection of stories
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on October 8, 2015
One person found this helpful
Maria Del Pilar Montilla
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on November 23, 2015
Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on May 16, 2016
Warren Stalley
5.0 out of 5 stars Born To Lose
Reviewed in the United Kingdom 🇬🇧 on June 20, 2014
7 people found this helpful