Mystery Books for Sale

[ Home ]
[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]


by Martin Edwards (editor)
Comma, July 2006
256 pages
7.95 GBP
ISBN: 1905583001

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

This collection of short stories is a first foray into both crime and genre fiction for Manchester-based publishers Comma and on this showing they're onto a winner.

The stories are from Crime Writers Association members mainly British, but with a handful of visitors from overseas. Edward D Hoch's The Rock isn't particularly memorable, but French writer Tonino Benacquista's The Black Box and Yvonne Eve Walus's Tour New Zealand in Five Easy Murders are both among the stronger stories in the book. The former makes a hero of a photocopier engineer, while the latter's criminal profiler main character could be strong enough for a series.

A couple of other writers showcase characters who'd be worth searching out in a full-length adventure. Frank Tallis's Street Value is a neat science fiction mystery (how often do those four words appear together!) whilst I'm pleased to hear that Zoe Sharp, author of the excellent Charlie Fox series, is working on a novel featuring Crime Scene Investigator Grace McColl, the star of the short story Tell Me.

Half of the fun of these sorts of anthologies is discovering writers you've never heard of. New to me was Mat Coward. His story Jizz isn't technically the best story by quite some way it could have taken a cut for a start but the enticing voice and humour pull you in. And is Coward really the Morning Star newspaper's gardening correspondent? If that's true, he presumably tends his begonias while waiting for the revolution to start!

When I read short story anthologies, I always find myself muttering about whether the endings worked or not. For instance, Natasha Cooper's The People in the Flat Across the Road seemed promising with its hassled home worker protagonist, but the ending is both blindingly obvious and weak.

That raises the question of whether to have a cut-and-dried ending in a short story, or to leave the reader pondering. I'm in favour of the latter if they work out like Carla Banks's dark and sharp little number Out of Her Mind, one which is still lurking in my mind.

The collection is edited by Martin Edwards, who closes proceedings with a clever and unconventional little piece called InDex. It's an entertaining end to what is a sharp and imaginative anthology.

Reviewed by Sharon Wheeler, October 2006

[ Top ]



Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

[ About | Reviews | Search | Submit ]
[ Home ]