Oddments

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Oddments

By Bill Pronzini

Plump, nondescript Theodore Conway works as a file clerk in a Manhattan law firm. His passion is collecting memorabilia related to the pulp-fiction heroes of his youth, especially The Shadow. Then one day this quiet little man learns that he, too, has the supernatural power “to cloud men’s minds” and fight crime under the cloak of invisibility. “The Man Who Collected The Shadow” is just one of 14 stories in this collection of short fiction by the versatile Pronzini, author of the “Nameless” detective series as well as westerns, science fiction, and stand-alone crime novels. Among the other highlights here are “Shade Work,” in which a con man picks the wrong marks; “The Arrowment Prison Riddle,” a locked-room puzzler that is solved by a pulp-fiction writer; and “Bank Job, which illustrates why it’s sometimes better to be lucky–and quick on your feet–than good. Pronzini’s work is consistently entertaining, and these “oddments” are no exception.

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