When plotting a murder (figuratively speaking), the mystery writer has at hand any number of M.O.'s including such tried and true conventions as the locked room, the unbreakable alibi, the double bluff, the mistaken identity, and many others. Indeed, one of the challenges (and greatest sources of pleasure) for a mystery writer is to visit a well-known plot construction - to try their hand at "the locked room" or "the caper" - perhaps to honor a writer or story they admire, perhaps to try to top them. Now, in Murderous Schemes, renowned mystery writer Donald E. Westlake and J. Madison Davis (current president of the International Association of Crime Writers) offer an illuminating look at eight such mystery conventions, illustrating each with four short stories written by some of the masters of the form. The resulting collection of thirty-two tales spans a hundred and fifty years of crime fiction and includes virtually every style imaginable, from the hard-boiled detective story to the cozy armchair mystery.