Sunday, 25 November 2018

The Christmas Card Crime and other stories - Ed. Martin Edwards

Timely piece of marketing and this deserves to find its way into the Christmas stockings of any self respecting Golden Age of Crime aficionado. You’ve plenty of time to add it to your Christmas list, folks!!

Ably edited by the incomparable Martin Edwards who offers succinct yet relevant introductions to each writer and their story that serves only to enhance the pleasure of reading them. No work in this series would feel complete without Mr. Edward’s contributions! (And to think I used to bypass them when I first started!)

This seasonal volume offers the reader eleven short crime stories from some of the celebrated authors who already occupy a favoured place in my Crime Classic library. I’m always impressed that a crime writer can create an impeccable crime story in so relatively few words! Delightful, too, is the number of them that deliver an unexpected twist at the conclusion . Sheer delight! The short story is oft times an under rated genre but there is something deeply satisfying in being able to read an entire story in one ’sitting’ with all the ends tied up. 

Whilst there isn’t a ‘duff’ tale in the whole book invariably one has one’s favourites. I loved Julian Symons’ contribution ‘Twixt the Cup and the Lip’ for the simple yet effective denouement after an expansive build up and execution. Sheer short story mastery. E.C.R.Lorac’s ‘A Bit of Wire Pulling’ with the clue in the title but would the characters in the story figure it out?! ‘Blind Man’s Hood’ a lovely locked room mystery from Carter Dickson. I could go on!! It’s a treasure trove of crime. John Bude, Francis Durbridge, Baroness Orczy but hey, just offering the names of these writers could be seen as a spoiler!!

And as ever a pertinent eye catching cover. If ever I have to eat my ‘You can’t tell a book by looking at the cover’ words it is with this series of books!

My thanks as ever to the wonderful British Library Publishing for trusting me with a copy of this book! 

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