Monday, April 25, 2016

Capital Crimes: London Mysteries: A British Library Crime Classic by Martin Edwards

With its fascinating mix of people rich and poor, British and foreign, worthy and suspicious London is a city where anything can happen. The possibilities for criminals and for the crime writer are endless. London has been home to many of fiction s finest detectives, and the setting for mystery novels and short stories of the highest quality. Capital Crimes is an eclectic collection of London-based crime stories, blending the familiar with the unexpected in a way that reflects the personality of the city. Alongside classics by Margery Allingham, Anthony Berkeley and Thomas Burke are excellent and unusual stories by authors who are far less well known. The stories give a flavor of how writers have tackled crime in London over the span of more than half a century. Their contributions range from an early serial-killer thriller set on the London Underground and horrific vignettes to cerebral whodunits. What they have in common is an atmospheric London setting, and enduring value as entertainment. Each story is introduced by the editor, Martin Edwards, who sheds light on the authors lives and the background to their writing." 

This book is a collection of London-based crime stories through a span of over fifty years.

Normally, I'm not a short story person, but I really enjoyed most of these.  Writing has changed so much in the past one hundred years that most of the mysteries and crime stories you read today are nothing compared with what was written in the past.  

These stories don't take long to read individually, but they aren't light reading. You'll have to set aside a little time to invest in reading.  Each word is important.  Skimming just won't work here.  Now, the best part is that they're beautifully written.  You'll want to savor every word.  It isn't just about the storytelling, but the writing as well.  These are crafted stories.

My biggest peeve about mysteries and crime stories is that they're too easy to figure out.  That didn't happen here.  Not once.  I was able to immerse myself and stop trying to solve them.  After I read halfway through the stories, I knew I wasn't going to figure them out so I just enjoyed the ride.  Most of them have a darkness to them that pulls you into other worlds.  They're foggy and gritty and you just need to sink your teeth into them.

The only issue I found is that at least one of the stories was shortened for space.  Though the pertinent information was still given, I really wished that I had been given the full story instead of just the highlights.  Being told how a story ends just isn't the same as experiencing it for yourself.

This is a great short story collection.  If you enjoy short stories and good crime, this is something you'll want for your book shelf.  These stories aren't sensationalized.  They're just great old-fashioned crime stories. 

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Shawn

1 comment:

  1. I don't usually read short stories either, but they seem to be more popular now than a few years ago. I like that you didn't figure out the mystery too easily. Nothing's worse than figuring it out way too soon!

    Dena @ Batch of Books


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