I rarely read ‘proper’ books (paperbacks / hardbacks) and I’d wanted to read this collection for a while so bought it as a paperback so I could sit and read at least one short story a day. (I’m also writing short stories for competitions and submissions too and have sent three off in the last week!).
The OxCrimes Collection
For 2014, Oxfam and Profile Books have turned to crime in order to raise a further £200,000 for Oxfam’s work. OxCrimes is introduced by Ian Rankin and has been curated by Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival, where it will be launched in May. The stellar cast of contributors will include Mark Billingham, Alexander McCall Smith, Anthony Horowitz, Val McDermid, Peter James, Adrian McKinty, Denise Mina, Louise Welsh and a host of other compelling suspects. Profile Books have raised more than a quarter of a million pounds for Oxfam by publishing OxTales (2009) and OxTravels (9781846684968) (2011).
This collection is available via http://www.amazon.co.uk/OxCrimes-Introduced-Ian-Rankin-Ox-Tales-ebook/dp/B00IJKJTXW and http://www.amazon.com/OxCrimes-Introduced-Ian-Rankin-Ox-Tales-ebook/dp/B00IJKJTXW.
Review of Neil Gaiman’s The Case of Death and Honey
This is a short short story (23 standard book pages) so a short review…
From the first sentence, this story had a fable, being-told-from-the-camp-fire feel to it. Someone is missing (two by the end of the first paragraph), possibly murdered, so we have a crime mystery.
We are joined by a world-famous sleuth, which sets the tone for the story.
I liked the description of the barbarian, and description is something that Neil excels at.
The story weaves between familiar and unfamiliar territory, and lived up to the fable feel.
And now for writers…
Does it annoy you or please you to find errors in traditional published work?
Firstly there is a word missing in, ‘There is no one else knows what the troop movements…’ and, at times, incorrectly placed commas, but being an editor, I’m more likely than some readers to pick up inaccuracies, and it’s always easier in someone else’s writing.
I also spotted an unintentional repetition: ‘the stranger’s accent was not too bad, although his vocabulary seemed limited, but he seemed to be talking…’ When you repeat a word, the second should emphasise the first.
Another pick was, ‘It was the finest tea that Old Gao had ever drunk: better by far than his cousin’s tea.’ I would have chopped out the second instance of ‘tea’ because we don’t need it.
In any collection, there should be a mix of stories, and this one will certainly appeal to historical and description fans. Initially, I found the story switched from scene to scene far too often for my liking – it felt like a novel condensed into a short story – but when it was revealed how the scenes were connected, it became a much better story, for me as a reader.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
I shall be back tomorrow with my review of Simon Lewis’ ‘Buy and Bust’, the third story in this collection.
Based in Northamptonshire, England, Morgen Bailey (“Morgen with an E”) is a freelance editor, online tutor, prolific blogger, 2015 Head Judge for the annual H.E. Bates Short Story Competition, Head Judge for the NLG Flash Fiction Competition, RONE 2015 Judge.
As well as a teacher of creative writing (and writing-related I.T.) for her local county council and online, Morgen will be one of five tutors at the 2017 Crime & Publishment alongside crime authors Lin Anderson and Martina Cole!
Morgen’s first love is writing and she is a freelance author of numerous ‘dark and light’ short stories, novels, articles, and very occasional dabbler of poetry. Like her, her blog, https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com, is consumed by all things literary. She is also active on Twitter, Facebook along with many others (listed on her blog’s Contact page) and has created five online writing groups. She also runs a free monthly 100-word writing competition where you can win her online creative writing courses!
Her debut novel is the chick lit eBook The Serial Dater’s Shopping List ($0.99 / £0.77) and she has nine others (mostly crime) in the works. She also has eight collections of short stories available (also $0.99 / £0.77 each) – detailed on https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine/short-stories.
She also helps other authors with an inexpensive freelance editing and critiquing service (free 1,000-word sample), and welcomes, and actively helps to promote, guest authors on her blog – see opportunities.
*** Breaking news! My online creative writing courses are currently just £1 or $1-2 each! ***
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