The Big Book of Reel Murders

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 22 Jan 2020

Member Reviews

Whoo, okay, this one was a doozy.
But, like, a fun doozy!
There is so much knowledge and history and information bursting at the seams of this book.
It is dense at times, but it's just so dang interesting!
Perfect for any crime/true crime enthusiast or cinephile.
Was this review helpful?
Penzler knows where to find the good stuff and this collection is more proof. Short stories so good they  inspired a movie version. I started to just dip in but when the stories are all this good, I had to go back to start at the beginning. This would be a wonderful holiday or anytime gift when you need something truly special. One of the best collections of the year.
Was this review helpful?
“The Big Book of Reel Murders” is a collection of mystery stories that have also been made into movies. Otto Penzler assembled a fascinating group of “crime fiction” literature and film.  The stories are compelling and page after page is filled with suspense, action, and non-stop twists and turns. The best part is that after reading, one can view the film adaptation of the same work. Some of the films take some searching to access, but many can easily be found on streaming services or even the collection of the local public library.
My usual position on film adaptations of literature is that the book is always better, but for some of the examples in this book, I was familiar with only one half of the pair, either film only or literature only, so I eagerly sought out the other half of the pair. I found that a good film can indeed be as good as the book, and that, to my surprise, I did like some of the films as much if not more than I liked the book.  
The anthology of literature by itself is compelling and quick to read. I like to have collections such as this on hand so that I can finish a story while waiting to catch a plane, before an appointment, or during a child’s lesson. 
I received a review copy of “The Big Book of Reel Murders” from Otto Penzler, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, and Vintage Crime/Black lizard. I recommend it wholeheartedly.  Readers who love crime fiction and film aficionados who love a good “crime” movie will not be disappointed by this anthology
Was this review helpful?
The Big Book of Reel Murders is an anthology of short stories which have been the basis for various crime films or tv shows.  Each story is accompanied by a summary of the story, when the film was made, the stars of the production, and fun facts about the filming and the author.  

The stories are organized by theme (suspense, detective, etc) and author list is impressive and varied. The book, nearly 1200 pages, should appeal to movie buffs and mystery and crime readers alike.  The historical references are well-researched and Mr Penzler’s writing is entertaining and enlightening.  Otto Penzler has compiled a glittering tribute to crime films and the authors behind the stories. I’m sure many readers will find it as enjoyable as I did.   

Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing a copy of this book for review.
Was this review helpful?
Princess Fuzzypants here:  There is no denying, I like anthologies of short stories.  There are times when something short that can be consumed in one sitting is what this reader needs.  It allows you to dip in and out without losing track of characters or events.  This collection is no different in this regard.
Where it does differ, and in a good way for film buffs such as my family, is these stories are the original material for either a movie or tv show.  Ergo the “Reel” in the title.  I found myself looking for titles of movies that I have seen first.  Prior to the story, the editor gossips a bit about interesting details that happened either to the author or on the set.  As an example, Witness For The Prosecution, starred Tyrone Power, Charles Laughton and Marlene Dietrich.  It seems both of the last two had crushes on Mr. Power.  It allows the reader some insight into hither to unknown details.  It makes for additional fun.
If you are a fan of movies or just like some very good stories that were made into movies, this book will be appreciated greatly.  It earns four purrs and two paws up.
Was this review helpful?
The Big Book of Reel Murders: Stories That Inspired Great Crime Films is a stunning anthology of crime fiction expertly curated and edited (as always) by Otto Penzler. Released by Knopf Doubleday on their Black Lizard imprint it's 1200 (!!!) pages and available in ebook and paperback formats.

This is a gob-smacking reference collection of shorter fiction stories which were adapted into some of the most iconic crime films in history. The stories are collected roughly thematically with sections for love (to death), real life horror, suspense, classic detectives and more. The author list reads like a literal who's who of crime fiction: Christie, Ian Fleming, Maugham, Bloch, RL Stevenson, Hammett, O. Henry, Huxley, Sinclair Lewis, Conan Doyle and many more, both modern and classic. 

This anthology would be well worth the cost of admission -just- for the stories alone of course, but what made this a personal library keeper (even bought my own copy) is the erudite and meticulous historical notes and cast notes for each and every one of the included stories and the films they inspired. Mr. Penzler has a dizzying command of crime fiction history (or possibly a stable of librarians stashed in his basement) and his comments are worth reading in their own right.

Five stars. The other books in the series from the same publisher are also well worth seeking out.
Was this review helpful?
This is a great collection of classic short stories! The connection is that they were all the source materials for mystery and noir films. There are many stories of various lengths... would make a great beach or travel read!

Thanks to the publishers and NetGalley for a digital ARC!
Was this review helpful?
The Big Book of Reel Murders is chockful of well-known authors like Dashiell Hammett, Arthur Conan Doyle, Ian Fleming, and W. Somerset Maugham. Even better, it has some of my favorite silver-age short story writers from 1950-1989 Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen mystery magazines like Cornell Woolrich and Stanley Ellin.

Stories are grouped by type: suspense, murder, thriller, horror, general crime, love (to death, of course), and detective fiction. There is literally something for everyone here. And then some. At 1200 pages, clearly this is a great value. However, you also get a curated collection of truly great stories. Many were made into iconic movies like Psycho and Witness for the Prosecution.

I can’t recommend this anthology highly enough. Here is your chance to read the source material for many of your favorite noir, mystery, and thriller movies. Some were better on the silver screen but many were not. It’s fun to see the changes. The Big Book of Reel Murders is extremely recommended for both mystery and movie fans. 5 stars!

Thanks to Vintage Crime, Black Lizard, Knopf Doubleday and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
forward to seeing how the stories were adapted for the big screen. I will also be watching for Mr. Penzler's next book.
Was this review helpful?
Loved this book of wonderful short stories that inspired the films we all remember (or will be searching to find).   Penzler does a great job of selecting the stories and presenting them with behind the scenes facts that were fun to read.  A great resource to come back to again and again!
Was this review helpful?
Great execution of a great idea, especially for cinema fans (that like to read). "Big" is certainly apt. The book contain some great stories and authors. The background sections for each film/story are excellent. Recommended for crime readers and film lovers alike. 4.5 stars.

I really appreciate the advanced copy for review!!
Was this review helpful?
Crime enthusiasts, settle in and get ready to read because this is definitely for any and all fans of crime films. We all love to read here, but nothing is as good as a great crime film. This book, edited by none other than Otto Penzler, will take you through stories that inspired great crime films.
Was this review helpful?
The Big Book of Reel Murders is a fun and entertaining read for book lovers and cinephiles.  Each film is introduced with an interesting background section, including the original cast, and then follows with the story that inspired the film.  It's a great combination of real and reel reading, and I would be glad to see more books in a series like this.
Was this review helpful?