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The CWA Short Story Anthology: Mystery Tour Kindle Edition
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It’s very hard to review a short story collection without perhaps giving too much away about the stories inside it. Each one of them is very, very different and offers a unique styling to readers. There are many authors in this collection that I recognised and am already a big fan of so the chance to virtually inhale more of their writing was too good to miss. As with all collections of this kind, there were also authors that were new to me and I was looking forward to getting the opportunity to sample a little of what they had to offer. From mystery at a writers convention, to a creeping almost supernatural narrative, right through to the ultimate in husband and wife spats and revenge, the stories cover a range of emotions and settings.
It is fair to say that short stories aren’t for everyone. Some people struggle with the fact of just getting into a story, only for it draw to a close. Being honest these stories vary in length from those which are just a few pages to those which perhaps surpass twenty plus pages in total. There are certainly a few which I feel could happily develop into a much longer story, William Ryan’s The Spoils springs immediately to mind. And Ragnar Jonasson’s A Postcard from Iceland left a rather large unanswered question, keeping the mind whirring long after the last paragraph ended …
This is the perfect collection to dip in and out of. Feel free to read the stories in order, or to pick and choose who you want to read depending on your mood. I dropped in and out of the book over several days, popping in a story in my lunch hour or in that thirty minutes in a morning where I deny the existence of my alarm clock and keep hitting the snooze button. Why face the inevitable pre-work angst when you can be reading a dang good story? Just … word to the wise here … if you do this, choose one of the shorter stories or you may end up being a (teeny tiny) bit late leaving for work. Whoops.
With twenty-eight brilliant tales to choose from you are absolutely spoilt for choice. There are so many that I loved – aside from William Ryan’s and Ragnar Jonasson’s tales there was Vaseem Khan’s Bombay Brigadoon (a great Inspector Chopra short if you are a fan of this series like me); Susi Holliday’s A Slight Change of Plan; Anne Cleeves The Queen Of Mystery (love, love, loved it) CL Taylor’s You’ll Be Dead By Dawn … Oh I could go on and on and on … But then I’d just end up naming all the stories and I’m sorry but you have to buy the book for yourselves and then you can read the table of contents 🙂
An absolutely cracking anthology which provides a wonderful introduction to the short story, with a mix of crimes to make you smile, cringe, gasp and nod. Nod at the sheer brilliance on offer. These guys fit more into a few short paragraphs than should be humanly possible – a sign of just how good they, and this collection, are. Brilliant.
In the atmospheric Return To The Lake, family secrets bubble up to the surface, revealing the identity of a murderer from decades earlier. The Last Supper is altogether more frivolous, packed with barbed observations from a loveless marriage where the wife appears to be eating her way around the word. It’s full of snarky asides which had me snorting in my soup (low fat, naturally).
Accounting For Murder ditches a traditional narrative to weave a tale of adultery, murder and betrayal through the gift receipts, hotel invoices, travel tickets and solicitors’ bills which detail the reckless insanity of an extra-marital affair. It’s very, very clever – cunningly crafted indeed. Ideal for folks who like to piece together the clues in a mystery for themselves.
There’s plenty of variety in this collection: revenge, escape and righteous retribution.
Inevitably, some stories didn’t work so well for me – I can’t quite believe that anyone would murder an annoying girlfriend simply because breaking up might cause a fuss. A couple of the authors didn’t appear to get the memo about the theme – travel and intriguing destinations – and just grabbed a pot-boiler from their back-catalogue. One story was an outright cheat; not a self-contained story at all, but a ‘to be continued’ excerpt from a longer publication.
Then there were those stories in which the author couldn’t resist a spot of autobiographical wish fulfilment. It would’ve been a more rewarding collection if all the authors had concentrated more on spinning entertaining crime stories, and left the self-indulgent clever-clever commentaries on publishing and writing in the cupboard.
Mystery Tour certainly helped me discover some new names who told tight, unpredictable stories in some style – be it savage, sad or sassy. An excellent way to discover new authors.
There are many more reviews of crime/thrillers over at murdermayhemandmore.net
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This collection of CWA short stories about various crimes is most enjoyable and by a variety of thriller...Read more