While these stories do act as a prequel to the Land of the Three Seas series, they work as stand alone stories as well, and are a great introduction to the writing of Jim Webster; you don't need any prior knowledge. I must admit, I had been wanting to read work by Jim Webster for a while, having had many recommendations, but I just wasn't sure about paying £5 for an e-book of an author that I hadn't tried before (which I know is awful and I should be shot. In fact, give me a gun and I'll do it myself!). This collection is available for 99p on Amazon, and so I decided to give it ago. I'm very pleased that I did as I greatly enjoyed reading these!
Jim Webster has a very authoritative style of writing, that I found to be very engaging. I liked the gentle humour, which seemed effortless but very effective. I also really liked the way that he developed his characters as the stories went on. My favourite character was Benor Dorginngil and I was very glad that he featured in all four short stories. My favourite story was 'The Insulted Party' and I would have liked to read more of it! Though it must be said that all stories were very well written.
I gave this collection 4 stars rather than 5 stars as I found parts of 'Dirt and Good Ale' to be a bit heavy and difficult to read. I was a bit indecisive about docking a star for this, as I'm not sure if I just wasn't in the mood for that particular story at that time, or if it just didn't grab me in the same way as the others, but I decided that it did impact my feelings on this particular story and should therefore be reflected in the star rating. There was nothing technically wrong with this story, I just didn't find myself enjoying it as much as the other stories. I am still greatly looking forward to reading some of the longer works by the author, and reading more about Benor!