The first review for 2022 and I am happy that it is not going to be a rant . My first read for the year is Peter Lovesey ‘ s anthology The Crime of Miss Oyster Brown and Other Stories consisting of 18 superb short stories . The author notes in the introduction that “the unexpected is what you are entitled to expect from a short story ” . I was a bit wary about getting my hopes high with an introductory passage but I was delighted when the man actually delivered . While anthologies generally tend to be mixed bags where few stories do the heavy lifting while the other more conventional ones quietly line up to make up a good number , that is not the case here . Every story is an absolute delight – each with its own narrative style , plot structure ( to say nothing of the humor ) . Below are the teasers to three short stories from this anthology . Hopefully they can convince you to pick up this one . . .
In The Crime of Miss Oyster Brown , Oyster Brown ‘ s twin sister Pearl Brown has not been seen by the anyone in the village recently . Although long time residents of the village , their neighbors and friends know nothing of what goes on behind the closed doors of their mock Tudor style mansion . When Oyster turns up at a local chemist ‘ s with three severely scalded fingers from an accident with the kettle ( or so she says ) and a neighbor remarks that Oyster had been drawing the curtains in her sister ‘ s bedroom to give the impression that Pearl is at home , the chemist decides to investigate . . . This one has the ending which even the most imaginative crime fiction reader will not guess . . .
In The Model Con , a young woman who has enrolled with a modelling agency gets roped in for a seemingly standard assignment until she discovers it is definitely not one . While the handsome compensation definitely quelled some of the misgivings she has about the latest assignment from the same woman , she did not foresee that she would soon become a suspect in a murder investigation . . .
In Pass The Parcel , a family gathered for Christmas decide to have a game of Pass The Parcel ( obviously ! ) which has become something of a family tradition while waiting for a family member . When the parcel is finally unwrapped and it ‘ s contents revealed , things quickly take a turn from a possible cozy Christmassy suspense to something possibly sinister . . .
I am not putting out too many teasers here because with short stories it takes only a few extra plot points for the
astute overly – imaginative reader to work out the trajectory of the story . With few like A case of Butterflies , Being Of Sound Mind & You May See A Strangler , while there were some plot elements which I could spot , there were still some surprises which made for a thoroughly satisfying read . And of course , a special mention to the ones with highly inventive narratives – Curl Up & Dye ( a monologue from a hairdresser who is attending to a client ) , The Pomeranian Poisoning which is entirely told in letters & Youdunnit where you , the reader , will become the murderer . . .
This one is highly recommended from me . If you have an Audible Premium membership , you are in luck – this one is included in the membership ( you can get it for free ) . . .
Rating : 4.5 / 5
If you have already read The Crime of Miss Oyster Brown and Other Stories , let me know in the comments section about your thoughts on the book . If you have any interesting recommendations , please do share them . Until the next review then . . .