Today it is my absolute pleasure to be taking part in the blog tour for the CWA Short Story Anthology: Mystery Tour, published by Orenda Books. I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this wonderfully mixed collection of stories in just a moment, but first up, lets take a look at the official bookish bits.
The Official Book Blurb
Crime spreads across the globe in this new collection of short stories from the Crime Writer’s Association, as a conspiracy of prominent crime authors take you on a world mystery tour.
Highlights of the trip include a treacherous cruise to French Polynesia, a horrifying trek in South Africa, a murderous train-ride across Ukraine and a vengeful killing in Mumbai. But back home in the UK, life isn’t so easy either. Dead bodies turn up on the backstreets of Glasgow, crime writers turn words into deeds at literary events, and Lady Luck seems to guide the fate of a Twickenham hood.
Showcasing the range, breadth and vitality of the contemporary crime-fiction genre, these twenty-eight chilling and unputdownable stories will take you on a trip you’ll never forget.
Ann Cleeves, C.L. Taylor, Susi Holliday, Martin Edwards, Anna Mazzola, Carol Anne Davis, Cath Staincliffe, Chris Simms, Christine Poulson, Ed James, Gordon Brown, J.M. Hewitt, Judith Cutler, Julia Crouch, Kate Ellis, Kate Rhodes, Martine Bailey, Michael Stanley, Maxim Jakubowski, Paul Charles, Paul Gitsham, Peter Lovesey, Ragnar Jónasson, Sarah Rayne, Shawn Reilly Simmons, Vaseem Khan, William Ryan and William Burton McCormick
What happens when some of the best ever crime writers join forces and pull together a collection of short stories? Well, something fast approaching perfection is what. Whether you are already a fan of short stories, or this is your first ever collection, there really is a little something for everyone in here.
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.
My thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to be a part of the tour and to Karen Sullivan for providing a copy of the book for review. The CWA Short Story Anthology: Mystery Tour is available now from the following retailers.