An in-depth knowledge of Charles Dickens' work is not essential for the enjoyment of these 11 tales, but it will add to the pleasure of stories such as Anne Perry's "A Tale of One City," set in Paris during the French Revolution.

Other notable reads include a fictionalized evening from Dickens' own life ("The House of the Red Candle" by Martin Edwards), and a retelling, with sly winks to contemporary society, of Dickens' beloved holiday story ("Scrogged: A Cyber Christmas Carol" by Carole Nelson Douglas). A pair of stories revisit Great Expectations: "A Long and Constant Courtship" by Carolyn Wheat tells of Estella's beginnings, and "Miss Havisham Regrets" by Marcia Talley proposes an alternate ending.

Though writing styles vary, all the mysteries are duly solved with wit and skill by many of today's premier mystery writers. (Mar., 280 pp., $23.95)

Reviewed by: 
Cindy Harrison