This anthology was published in memory of Maxine Clarke, a prolific and knowledgeable book blogger and one who evidently inspired much affection in her on-line presence, so much so that a group of bloggers recommend books on the blog Petrona Remembered which is well worth checking out if you enjoy crime fiction. The proceeds of the sale of this book go to the Princess Alice Hospice which cares for people suffering from terminal illnesses from a wide area covering, London, Middlesex and Surrey.
This book of short stories comprises of nine well-executed and appealing stories with a strong bent towards the arts and particularly the world of writing. In the very first story The Agency meet Stella Prentice who works on True Life Mystery, a crime magazine whose editor’s suspicious death becomes the subject of a police investigation. Later on in the book Margot Kinberg who I exchange messages with frequently through her blog Confessions of a Mystery Novelist, illustrates the dangerous life of a publisher in one of her two submissions, The In-Box, a tale exquisitely revealed partly in email correspondence.
There are also contributions by household names including the established writer, Martin Edwards whose story aptly named Captain Hastings has a number of references to the most popular crime fiction, including the title’s namesake. Sarah Ward who blogs at Crimepieces and whose debut novel In Bitter Chill is another book that is on the TBR because it sounds excellent. Sarah’s contribution to this collection is La Lotte which has a historical link, something that I find very hard to resist.
I have to admit I’m not a big consumer of short stories, but this collection has a wide range of styles, very short pieces ranging to quite long ones, themes covering jealousy, greed, lust and revenge to name but a few of the motives, and of course because so many of the stories are set around the world of publishing,I had an instant interest subject matter plus the lowly blogger gets the odd mention too! All good stuff but best of all many of the stories include a level of humour that makes them incredibly readable.
So in conclusion a fantastic concept of a book for what sounds like a very special lady indeed, added to that this book has been published to support a great cause but hasn’t lost sight of the fact that us book-lovers want well-written, suspenseful and engaging stories. This little package has it all.