By Nikki Amdur
Updated October 23, 1998 at 04:00 AM EDT

Broad in scope and crackling with tension, the collection The Best American Mystery Stories is just the thing for those who have time only for quick reads. The masters of the genre put in peerless performances: Lawrence Block shows why hitmen should never get involved with their clients, Jay McInerney presents the short version of a yuppie caught on the wrong side of the tracks, and Walter Mosley weighs in with an oddly touching tale of an ex-con whose rescue of a stray dog saves his own hide. The lesser names also provide their share of surprises in a book that is filled with, as editor Sue Grafton puts it, ”sly charms.” A

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