Friday, 6 June 2008

Lupoff and Lovesey

I recently received the two most recent short story collections published by the estimable Crippen & Landru. Quintet: the cases of Chase and Delacroix is by Richard A. Lupoff, an author with whom I’m relatively unfamiliar. This is a gathering of half a dozen tales, set in the 1930s and following the Golden Age pattern of pitting the eccentric amateur sleuth against a brain-teasing mystery. The stories include at least one locked room mystery.

Murder on the Short List is the latest collection of Peter Lovesey’s work in the short form. Peter has produced several books of short stories (in fact, I can think of few if any British authors who can match his productivity in this respect) and they are always good value. Three of the stories are already well known to me, because they first saw the light of day in anthologies that I edited. And I can say that, whenever I have asked Peter for a story, despite his many other commitments, he has always delivered – and delivered high quality.

‘The Field’ first appeared in my collection of countryside crimes, Green For Danger, while ‘A Blow on the Head’ featured the year before last in I.D.: crimes of identity. Peter wrote ‘The Man who Jumped for England’ for the CWA’s Golden Jubilee book, Mysterious Pleasures. Three very different stories, but with one thing in common: the sheer accomplishment of their author.

Crippen & Landru have also published separately Peter’s snappy little story ‘The Homicidal Hat’, which celebrates his lifetime achievement award at the recent Malice Domestic convention in Washington D.C. A fun tale, of the sort he does so well.

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