Happy Endings

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  • Published by:
    • Bobbs-Merril, 1974, USA.
  • Edited by: Damon Knight
  • Also contains:
    • The Greatest Man In the World – James Thurber
    •  The Purist — Ogden Nash
    • Father’s in the Basement — Philip Jose Farmer
    • Miss Thompson — W. Somerset Maugham
    • The Damnedest Thing — Garson Hanin
    • Tobermory — Saki
    • De Mortuis — John Collier
    • Undertaker Song — Damon Runhyon
    • The Idol of the Flies — Jane Rice
    • The Red-Headed Murderess Robert Branson
    • The Language of Flowers — Hugh Atkinson
    • Ashes to Ashes — Nunnally Johnson
    • A Letter — Isaac Babel
    • Winter — Kit Reed
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This is an anthology of murder mystery stories that share an unusual theme: The demise of the victim leaves the world better off.

It is hard to think of anyone whose untimely death would be gratifying to somebody – a favorite nephew, say; that would not lift up his heart and bring a little lightness to his step, a new sparkle to his eye. The victims in these stories are unremarkable people except that for one reason or another they are blots on somebody’s psychic landscape. Not everyone would agree with or approve of this viewpoint, but before we pass judgment, we should examine their histories; all fifteen of them; with care. For it is with utmost care that these masters of the macabre have presented their cases. Meticulous in detail, scrupulously fair in viewpoint, overflowing in talent, they plot their Machiavellian ways to the inexorable … happy endings.