qatsi (qatsi) wrote,


Book Review: Capital Crimes - London Mysteries, edited by Martin Edwards
I picked this up in a book "sale" of unwanted review copies at work. In general it was as expected - a fair, but not brilliant, collection of short crime fiction stories sharing a London theme, mostly by obscure authors. In fact London is rather tangential to most of them; only John Oxenham's A Mystery of the Underground couldn't be set in any substantial city, though one or two of them have a financial setting for which the City is particularly convenient. The collection begins with a (non-Holmes) Conan Doyle short story (The Case of Lady Sannox), and this and the Oxenham are a bit disappointing, but then there are a few stories that are more imaginitive, with some variety and requiring only the usual level of suspension of disbelief. Most of the stories are from the "golden age", from the early twentieth century up to the 1930s, with at least one post-war story. The Case of Lady Sannox, The Silver Mask (Hugh Walpole) and They Don't Wear Labels (E M Delafield) were more disturbing. The Avenging Chance (Anthony Berkeley) is perhaps notable and quintessential to the genre as the author "came up with no fewer than six different explanations of the crime in the book-length version". Favourites included The Finchley Puzzle (Richard Marsh), The Stealer of Marble (Edgar Wallace), and The Little House (H C Bailey), with "best in show" going to The Magic Casket (R Austin Freeman).
Tags: books, london
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