A Graph Review. 55 with high points of 65
An anthology devised by Richard Reynolds
Edited by LC Tyler and Ayo Onatade
Crime thrives in this recent book of short stories. Bodies in the Bookshop is a beautiful mix of murders and mysteries, the advantage of this book is that it contains twenty short stories by twenty established writers of crime, all of which offer the elements and variety of the genre.
Crime in all it’s array of style, confined only by the whim of the devisor, Richard Reynolds, in using a theme from: bookshops, Cambridge, books and libraries. Surprisingly no murders in libraries seemed available this time round, so you might think a trick has been missed. But then perhaps not; as crime and the scattering of bodies in bookshops in or around Cambridge, be they ordinary people, authors or models, is plentiful. Not forgetting the pleasure of the investigations, a term maybe loosely applied in some cases, by an eclectic bunch of sleuths.
I do not include all the contributors so apologise to those I miss, but look out for stories by LC Tyler (see previous books reviewed), Ann Cleeves, Jenna Hawkins, Judith Cutler, Simon Brett and Ruth Downie (my best pick of them). A nice touch is the brief biography and highlighting of key titles/series and awards for the authors and editors, probably not a surprise but useful in picking out a new read.
Good fun to read with each story short/long enough to fit into a tea break or train journey or just time wasting……. Can you ever waste time reading a good crime story?
Most memorable lines? From Flotsam and Jetsam by Michael Gregorio:
Character talking to a nun in the middle of a story, she had been to a conference:
“A conference? That sounds interesting. What was it about?”
“Silence,” the nun replied. It turned out that she belonged to a cloistered order.
“Nuns who never speak?” asked Charlie.
“That’s right,” she said…………
And interest is sparked, read on……… Such is the variation in these stories that you have to keep your wits about you. I could toss a few more crumbs from stories to whet the appetite, drop hints or pointers but would rather you discovered for yourself.
The promised themes run true, including using Heffers in Cambridge and assorted surroundings and tweaks for the knowing. We are told from the outset that there are no library orientated stories, true, though librarians are not entirely neglected. There are no stories within the printing process itself either. Digital and e-books might be a challenge too far, though I recall a stage-play with Max Wall as the only character and a printing-press as the main furniture of the set which was something of a mystery!
This book is obviously available from the inspiring crime shelves of Heffers in Cambridge, which is a Blackwell bookshop, or other bookshops as available or to order. Highly recommended as an individual read and as an introduction to the writers.