For all mystery buffs hooked on the pleasures of outguessing the author before the last page, here is a collection with a very special bonus—you also have to guess who wrote the story! Seventeen well-known mystery writers have come up with original contributions for this book, but their names have been encoded so it’s up to the reader to figure out who wrote it as well as who done it. (And for the readers too impatient to work it out for themselves there are directions for breaking the code.)
The stories, encompassing every sort of mood and puzzle, include selections by such writers as John Ball, Robert Bloch, Michael Gilbert, Edward Hoch, John D. MacDonald, Florence Mayberry, Bill Pronzini, Ruth Rendell, Lawrence Treat, and Janwillem van de Wetering. Who Done It? is a brain-teaser and a challenge all in one package, who that adds an extra dimension to intrigue and suspense.
Alice Laurence has written the biographical sketches for this group of talented mystery writers that she has brought together and cleverly disguised. Isaac Asimov has provided tantalizing introductory notes for each of the selections, as well as a perceptive introduction that is joyously and unmistakably Asimovian.
As with Asimov’s other mystery anthologies, I really have a hard time evaluating the worth of this book for its target audience, since I’m not a mystery fan by any stretch of the imagination. As for the Asimov fan, I can’t speak very highly of it, either. It’s an anthology of original stories (none by the Good Doctor, alas) with the authors’ names hidden by a cipher so that the reader has to try to figure out which writer wrote which story. It’s a conceit Asimov and his co-editor were to use again later on (Speculations), but doesn’t really add anything to the stories, at least not for me. The stories themselves are OK, but I find none of them spectacular or even all that memorable.