3rd Culprit: An Annual of Crime Stories

Registered by wingGoryDetailswing of Nashua, New Hampshire USA on 5/16/2018
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Journal Entry 1 by wingGoryDetailswing from Nashua, New Hampshire USA on Wednesday, May 16, 2018
I got this ex-library hardcover from Better World Books. It's an anthology from the Crime Writers' Association, and includes a story by Sarah Caudwell, of the "Hilary Tamar" books.

It's a good collection, with a variety of tones and plot-twists. Among my favorite stories:

Ruth Rendell's "A Needle for the Devil," in which a woman who's discovered the joys of knitting - and has become very good at it - winds up married to a man who wants her to stop it; what seemed a promising romance goes sour very quickly from there.

"Too Many Crooks" by Donald Westlake is a rather fun "heist" story with different crooks crossing paths.

"The Hand that Feeds Me" by Michael Z Lewin is a poignant short-short from a stray dog's point of view.

"The Train" by Stephen Murray is a very bleak tale of a young villager in what turns out to be the middle of WWII, who spies on the mysterious train that goes through the woods on the old, rickety tracks in the middle of the night - and then finds out what cargo the cattlecars contain. The story stays focused in the little village, with mere hints as to the greater conflict outside, but is sharp and painful in its own right.

"Chased Delights; Or, The Missing Minutes" by Keith Heller features none other than poet William Blake - who finds himself in trouble with the law after the death of an acquaintance. His wife winds up playing the sleuth, for a mystery with an unusual and rather intricate motive.

Joan Lock's essay "Give Us a Clue" is a plea to mystery writers to try to at least suggest the restrictions and difficulties of period crime-solving.

There's a puzzle, too, the "Cryptic Crime Acrostic", by Sarah Caudwell and Michael Z Lewin; I attempted to solve it, but oh it's tough. The clues are in the extremely convoluted London Times crossword style, where you pretty much have to learn a new language to work out how to parse them. Luckily, the solution's included at the end of the book!

Released 6 mos ago (7/12/2018 UTC) at Nashua Riverwalk (see text for details) in Nashua, New Hampshire USA


I left this book on a bench along the Riverwalk, near the truss bridge in the mill district; hope the finder enjoys the book!

[See other recent releases in NH here.]

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