Manhattan Mayhem – New Crime Stories from the Mystery Writers of America by Mary Higgins Clark (editor)
|Manhattan Mayhem – New Crime Stories from the Mystery Writers of America by Mary Higgins Clark (editor)|
|Reviewer: Susmita Chatto|
|Summary: A sophisticated collection of crime and mystery short stories which will appeal to anyone who enjoys good writing.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 320||Date: June 2015|
|Publisher: Quirk Books|
|External links: Author's website|
I was unsure how to open this review. I heart Manhattan, big time. I am always attracted to any work set in Manhattan, but I don’t want to pigeonhole this remarkable collection of stories into a slot that says only for Manhattan lovers. Far from it – it is a superb collection featuring the highest standards of both mystery writing and the form of short story.
Manhattan Mayhem has been collated and curated to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the founding of the Mystery Writers of America. Mary Higgins Clark has edited a wonderful selection of stories. The first is her own, a 'short' short story that gets the reader nicely into the groove of the city. The tiniest section of a city can have its own specific vibe and as the story locations change from Hell’s Kitchen to Upper East to Greenwich Village, those separate worlds are comprehensively drawn and distinctively marked out.
Each story pulled me into a world of characters who seemed real from the very start, with many stories being dialogue-heavy and flowing really well as a result. Ben Winters’ Trapped is written as a one act play and of all the stories, probably the most filmic and fast flowing.
However, in such a terrific collection it is hard to pick favourites and I can’t overstate how packed with excellence this book is. I particularly enjoyed the 'story within a story' examination of Edward Hopper’s iconic painting Nighthawks, which is central to Lee Childs’ story The Picture of the Lonely Diner. I also found Nancy Pickard’s Three Little Words very striking, with Pickard’s story loaded with acute observations on human nature, leading me down a philosophical path while in the midst of a mystery.
Like Pickard’s story, many of my favourites are ones I can tell you nothing about – because the core of the story being shared would equal an instant spoiler! But fear not – these are not stories that start with ambitious promises and fail to deliver. In my experience, one of the biggest dangers with such stories can be ramping up the suspense to such a high level, no ending can be satisfactory. There are no such problems here with each writer having mastered the craft to such a high level, there is no danger of that.
In terms of short story form, the standard is so high here, I don’t think you need to have a particular fondness for crime or mystery to enjoy these stories. If you enjoy any short stories, this book will be a delight. Although you could easily dip in and out, I kept going. As one superb story followed another, there was simply no reason not to! This led to an overall feeling of full engagement which is often inspired by an excellent novel.
Although there is no need to be a Manhattan fan to enjoy this, it is worth noting that the book is aesthetically pleasing as well. The hardback boasts a slip cover showing the Empire State Building and both sides feature a map of the island showing the exact location of the stories. There is a scattering of black and white photographs throughout which for me, was a great addition to the emotional value of the book. A fabulous read – many thanks to the publishers for sending a copy and many congratulations to the Mystery Writers of America on their 70th anniversary and this terrific collection.
If you enjoyed this book you might like to read Tales from the Dead of Night: Thirteen Classic Ghost Stories by Cecily Gayford.
Manhattan Mayhem – New Crime Stories from the Mystery Writers of America by Mary Higgins Clark (editor) is in the Top Ten Crime Novels of 2015.
You can read more book reviews or buy Manhattan Mayhem – New Crime Stories from the Mystery Writers of America by Mary Higgins Clark (editor) at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Manhattan Mayhem – New Crime Stories from the Mystery Writers of America by Mary Higgins Clark (editor) at Amazon.com.
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