Tag Archives: short stories

Let’s Celebrate: I’m Reading Again!

I’ve been feeling rather self-congratulatory lately, because YES! I’ve started reading again! And by reading, I don’t mean my comfort listens of Agatha Christie mysteries. I mean new-to-me novels.

Yes, I’m back in my reading seat. Which alternates right now between my sofa and my bed. Neither feels ideal, so I have a feeling I’ll be spending a bit of time rearranging things furniture-wise.

But still—I’m reading!

Here’s what I recently finished:

The House on Cold Hill

The House on Cold Hill by Peter James. Peter James writes mostly mysteries, none of which I’d read before (I rectified that after I finished The House on Cold Hill by putting a hold on some of his previous books). The House on Cold Hill is a standalone, and as you might be able to tell from the cover, it’s a haunted house book.

I like a good haunted house book, although I haven’t read that many in this genre. I definitely enjoyed this one. I read the occasional horror, and one thing I find is that often, what’s labelled as “horror” is really all about the gore. I prefer horror stories that scare the crap out of me without diving into too much gore. The House on Cold Hill is that kind of book. It has a slow, almost soothing build-up and of course I ended up finishing it late at night, which increased the scary quotient quite a bit.

Opening Belle

Opening Belle by Maureen Sherry. Yes, I’ve actually managed to read a fairly new book for once! Not only that, but it’s apparently already been optioned by Reese Witherspoon …

But really, how could I resist? It’s not that often I get to read a book where the protagonist bears my name (well, okay, so she’s “Isabelle” but people often call her Belle, which works for me). Plus there were certain things about her life that really resonated with me (not, however, her salary—to that, I can only say “if only!”)

It was a thoroughly enjoyable read. I particularly liked learning about women on Wall Street—and it’s amazing how caveman-like the environment continues to be. I think this will make a good movie, although there were a couple of things about the ending that didn’t particularly thrill me. I won’t say anymore, though, because they’re definitely on the spoiler side.

I’m looking forward to settling back into reading again. Here’s what I might (or might not, because I’m persnickety that way) be reading in the next few days/weeks:

The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend by Katarina Bivald. I was at the library a few weeks ago picking up some holds so I decided to browse the New Books section. I came across the trade paperback copy of The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend. I’m not sure what prompted me to pick it up—it’s not in my usual genres of mystery, horror, fantasy or science fiction. But the cover was so obviously of a bookish nature. And then there’s the “Readers” in the title.

So I flipped it open and began reading, and I liked what I read.  Such a quirky bookish book! Hopefully I’ll get to it before I have to return it (I’ve already renewed it once).

The Bazaar of Bad Dreams: Stories by Stephen King. I’m looking forward to dipping into this one, especially since I’ve started a re-listen of King’s On Writing in the hopes of getting myself back on the writing track, so dear Uncle Stevie has been on my mind a fair bit. (I love listening to On Writing, partly for the inspiration and partly because King narrates it himself, and he does some great voices). And maybe the best part of The Bazaar of Bad Dreams will be the forward King’s written for each of the stories that are included in the collection, which details why he came to write that particular story. I love stuff like that—it’s like getting a lovely peak straight into an author’s “writing mind”.

The Virgin of the Wind Rose by Glen Craney. This was sent to me by the author; I don’t normally accept a lot of review books that come my way, but the storyline for this one was very intriguing:

While investigating the murder of an American missionary in Ethiopia, rookie State Department lawyer Jaqueline Quartermane stumbles upon a Latin palindrome embedded with a cryptographic time bomb. Separated by half a millennium, two global conspiracies dovetail to expose the world’s most explosive secret: The real identity of Christopher Columbus.

Glen Craney also sent me a link to an instant preview of the book, which was great, as I always like to read the first chapter or two before saying yes to a review book. I took a look, and liked what I read. And while I’m not big on historical fiction, things change when you throw in a modern-day component, plus mystery and a great deal of suspense.

So this is what’s (tentatively) on my reading agenda right now. But no matter what, I know I’m back on the reading track, and that’s definitely something this particular writer is celebrating!

Newsletters I Love

Back in February I posted about how happy I was that I’d been able to maintain “Inbox Zero” for ten days. Two and a half months later, I’m still able to post that I’ve been maintaining Inbox Zero! Well, more or less. I now keep all email that needs to be acted on or replied to sooner rather than later in my inbox, but everything else gets deleted or filed away.

But here’s the funny thing. As part of getting to Inbox Zero, I’d deleted a whole slew of newsletters that were just junking up my inbox and making more work for me. But a month later, I just ended up replacing those newsletters with a new batch of newsletters.

And I’m loving it!

The main difference? These are newsletters I enjoy reading. Some of them are daily, and yes, I read them every morning. Others come once a week and I read those on the mornings they come in. I thought I’d share with you some of my favourites:

Austin Kleon’s weekly newsletter

Austin Kleon newsletter

Every week, Austin Kleon, the author of Show Your Work and Steal Like an Artist, sends out a newsletter containing a list of 10 things he thinks are worth sharing. There is almost always something in his weekly list I want to click on, and often it’s the kind of click where one thing leads to another and I end up learning a whole lot or getting really inspired. Which is why I really love this newsletter. (I also like Austin Kleon’s books, too.)

Now I Know

Now I Know

The Now I Know newsletter by Dan Lewis arrives in my inbox every morning, and I never know what interesting thing I’m going to discover when I open it. And you don’t just get a well-written piece about something interesting—you also get a bonus fact, which is sometimes even more interesting than the piece itself, a link to a quiz, a related piece from the archives and related links. A few weeks ago, for example, I learned that

The phrase “worth fifty-eight points in Scrabble” is worth fifty-eight points in Scrabble.

Which, by the way, I found interesting enough to tweet!

Daily Science Fiction

Daily Science Fiction

If you like short stories and you’re a fan of science fiction or fantasy, you’ll enjoy the Daily Science Fiction newsletter, which gets delivered to your inbox every weekday. Despite its name, the stories are a mix of science fiction and fantasy, and since they’re flash fiction, they’re quick reads. The quality of the stories is high (they’re a paying market, and are on the list of the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America’s markets which qualify writers for membership in SFWA) and opening this newsletter is definitely an enjoyable way to start the weekday.

Do you have a newsletter you can’t wait to receive in your inbox?

April is a short story a week month

Ray-Bradbury-quote.png

Sometimes Twitter can be dangerous. Early last month I tweeted a link to my post on Ray Bradbury and a short story a week and soon got caught up in a great Twitter conversation with my friends Adriane Giberson and Kim Switzer about actually writing a short story a week.

You can guess where this is going, right? We decided, right there and then, to write a short story a week in April.

And it’s April now. It’s actually been April for a while, but since April 1 fell midweek and also (excuses, excuses …) I was sick with the stomach flu, too, I think it’s a good idea to count this week as the first week in April.

Ray Bradbury’s challenge was actually to write a short story a week and submit a short story a week. I’m not quite ready for the submission part yet, although I do have two stories that are almost ready to go out. Only problem is, they’ve been at this almost ready stage for quite a while now.

There are people out there who are doing this as a year-long challenge. I just want to get my feet wet so for now I’m sticking to April.

Tonight I pulled some prompts to get my brain going. Here they are:

  1. creaking door
  2. destroyed what one values
  3. zombie/living dead/vampire/werewolf (oh, the choices!)
  4. stalker

My goal? To have the first short story written by this Sunday!

Ray Bradbury and a short story a week

So my 365 days of story seeds is pretty much a bust.

I gave up on it when things got really busy back during the end of January. Unlike the other 365 day projects I still want to do, I found I wasn’t really getting much out of it.

I had hoped that writing a sentence or two in response to daily prompts would give me story seeds that would spark something bigger. But after three weeks of doing it, it had become a tedious task I kept forgetting to do until the last minute.

Which was a good enough reason to drop it. There are already enough tedious tasks in the world that I have to do, why add more to the tedious task load in my life, right?

But I am still very much enamoured of the idea of story seeds and what they can lead to. And as is often the case with me, one thought leads to another and yet another and now I’m contemplating this:

Ray Bradbury quote

Yes, there are actually people doing this challenge. There is even a Facebook page called “Ray Bradbury’s 52 week short story challenge to aspiring writers”.

And there are tips out there on how to accomplish such a challenge. 12 Secrets to Being a Super-Prolific Short-Story Writer, for instance. And author Jay Lake talks about his story a week experiment here. “Eventually, it just became a habit”, Lake says in the interview.

It’s a crazy idea for me, though. So I’m not going to do it.

At least, probably not.

I just have to get my mind to let go of the idea now.

Reading 365 short stories

Last month was so hectic, ALL of my 365 projects ambitions fell off track. I am now beginning the process of slowly picking each one up, dusting them off and seeing what adjustments I can make to the project so it will work for me (instead of constantly filling me with guilt and more guilt – I’m not good with this whole guilt thing.)

First up is the Short Story a Day project. In the month that I did it, I realized two things:

  1. It’s not that easy to read a short story a day. I like to pick my short stories randomly, from my short story box, so I never know what I’m going to get. Some days it’s a story that’s short in length, other days the story is closer to a novella. So I never know how much time I’ll need, which kind of adds to the stress when it’s midnight and I’m thinking, “Shoot! Forgot about today’s short story!”
  2. Short stories are addictive. When I do happen to have a nice chunk of time and I sit down to read one, I often want to read another. But words can have strange control over me. Knowing I was doing a “short story a day” project, I felt reluctant to dive into another one. Because, you know, that would be two, or even three short stories a day. (As you can see, I am easily controllable).

Photo 2014-12-17, 4 10 31 PMThe Short Story Box, for Totally Randomized Reading Fun

As I pondered the situation, and the mess this 365 day project had become, the solution came to me. Rename the project! So now, it’s my 365 Short Stories in 2015 project!

I love how easy and painless that was. And since I just recently finished Neil Gaiman’s Trigger Warning, it turns out I am right back on track now! I have now read 58 short stories so far this year.

Now I can peel away some of my 365 day project guilt. Two more to go …

{Want} The Annotated H.P. Lovecraft, annotated and edited by Leslie S. Klinger

Annotated HP Lovecraft

I’m so excited about this one – it’s on my Christmas wish list and I know I’m getting it! (I love surprises, but when you know you’re going to get something? The anticipation makes up for the lack of surprise.)

I had requested it from the library but cancelled the hold on it because surely I can wait until Christmas. And I don’t want to ruin the surprise of holding this book in my hands, reading Alan Moore’s introduction (yes, Alan Moore!), flipping through looking at all the illustrations.

The Annotated H.P. Lovecraft, annotated and edited by Leslie S. Klinger, is a massive tome, clocking in at nearly 900 pages. It contains over 1,000 annotations and nearly 300 illustrations, including original artwork from various pulp publications like Weird Tales and Astounding Stories.

The book covers twenty-two Lovecraft stories comprising the best of the “Arkham Cycle” stories (Arkham is the fictional New England town these tales are centered around), including “The Call of Cthulhu”, “The Dunwich Horror”  and “The Shadow Over Innsmouth”.

I love the thought of going through the annotations. Lovecraft’s writing style isn’t necessarily the easiest style to read – he had a tendency to be verbose and use a lot of antiquated words. From the reviews I’ve read, the annotations are very helpful in shedding light on some of the more denser passages. According to Bookgasm:

The notes, which for the most part appear on the same page as the story under consideration, are of three types: Klinger defines the antiquarian and obsolete words Lovecraft was so found of; he discusses the historical and cultural background to many of the events and people mentioned; and he verifies (or, when necessary, corrects) the assertions of fact Lovecraft used to embellish his stories.

Klinger also annotated and edited the New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Complete Short Stories and the The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes: The Novels), both of which are on my wish list. But I’m not so sure either of these will show up under the tree this year. The Annotated H.P. Lovecraft, though? It’s definitely going to be mine!

New to Lovecraft?

If you’re new to Lovecraft, you’re probably not prepared yet to go through a massive book like The Annotated H.P. Lovecraft. Luckily, though, all of Lovecraft’s works can be found in the public domain. The version I recommend is from The Cthulhu Chick. She’s put together The Complete Works of H.P. Lovecraft  in a variety of ebook formats and it’s available for download for free here.  It’s a nicely formatted version, with all of Lovecraft’s stories included in chronological order.

And if you’d like to learn more about Lovecraft? The Speakeasy blog at The Wall Street Journal recently posted an excellent read on “Why H.P. Lovecraft Matters More Than Ever“, including some insightful quotes from both Klinger and Moore on Lovecraft’s racism.

“The Lottery”, by Shirley Jackson, and”Biography of a Story”

It was late – 10:30 pm. I had to wake up early the next morning, as it was observation day in the ballet program my son’s been in for all of July.

But I hadn’t read my short story of the day yet. In the week since I started this short story of the day ritual, I’ve come to anticipate it, delight in it.

In a word, short stories, I have found, are addictive.

So even though it was late, I pulled a story from my story box, which has been getting fuller on a nearly daily basis as I continue to add more and more short stories to it.

The story I pulled? “The Lottery”, by Shirley Jackson.

I’m a bit incredulous myself that I have never before read this famous, classic short story. Written back in 1948, I’ll tell you this: it still packs a punch.

But perhaps the most delightful part? I finished the story and decided to read Jackson’s essay about “The Lottery”, a piece called “Biography of a Story”. Both pieces are in the collection, Come Along With Me.

“Biography of a Story” talks about people’s reactions to the publication of “The Lottery” in the New Yorker back on June 28, 1948. It’s a great read.

One of the most terrifying aspects of publishing stories and books is the realization that they are going to be read, and read by strangers. I had never fully realized this before, although I had of course in my imagination dwelt lovingly upon the thought of the millions and millions of people who were going to be uplifted and enriched and delighted by the stories I wrote. It had simply never occurred to me that these millions and millions of people might be so far from being uplifted that they would sit down and write me letters I was downright scared to open; of the three-hundred-odd letters that I received that summer I can count only thirteen that spoke kindly to me, and they were mostly from friends. Even my mother scolded me: “Dad and I did not care at all for your story in The New Yorker,” she wrote sternly; “it does seem, dear, that this gloomy kind of story is what all you young people think about these days. Why don’t you write something to cheer people up?”

Jackson then shares snippets of letters she’s received from people from all over the world in response to her story. First, there are the ones who appear to think the story is non-fiction, or based on fact:

Will you please tell me the locale and the year of the custom?

And then there’s this one:

I think your story is based on fact. Am I right? As a psychiatrist I am fascinated by the psychodynamic possibilities suggested by this anachronistic ritual.

And then there were the letters which tried to explain the meaning of it all. I thought this one was the funniest:

The only thing that occurs to me is that perhaps the author meant we should not be too hard on our presidential nominees.

Several people seemed to think the magazine deliberately left out a few much-needed paragraphs:

What happened to the paragraph that tells what the devil is going on?

And:

The printers left out three lines of type somewhere.

As for the third category of letters, here’s what Jackson had to say:

Far and away the most emphatic letter writers were those who took this opportunity of indulging themselves in good old-fashioned name-calling. Since I am making no attempt whatsoever to interpret the motives of my correspondents, and would not if I could, I will not try now to say what I think of people who write nasty letters to other people who just write stories.

Ah. Human nature (or should I say, “troll-la-la-la-la”?) It appears some things never change.

Here are my thoughts, on reading the story for the first time 66 years after it’s initial publication. It’s a good story. I kind of knew where things were headed, since it has, after all, been 66 years and in that time, writers have continued to push boundaries. But it’s still a good read after all these years. And “Biography of a Story”? Delightful. Such fun to read about the reactions of those readers who felt compelled to write letters to the New Yorker, letters which ended up in the author’s hands (the New Yorker faithfully sent her all letters, except for anonymous ones, which went into the garbage). Jackson herself takes it all in with a nice, practical grain of salt.

I have all the letters still, and if they could be considered to give any accurate cross section of the reading public, or the reading public of The New Yorker, or even the reading public of one issue of The New Yorker, I would stop writing now.

The Short Story Box: A Short Story A Day, Randomized

When I was in my early twenties, I read a lot of short stories, but then somewhere between then and now, I fell out of the habit.

Last year, I picked up Neil Gaiman’s short story collection, Smoke and Mirrors, and remembered how much pleasure a well-crafted short story can bring to me as a reader. I decided back then that I wanted to read more short stories (yes, it was about a year ago – I procrastinate quite well).

Fast forward to now. Since that time last year, I have, rather unconsciously, been collecting short story collections and anthologies. Last week, I took a look around at my bookshelves, both physical and digital, and realized I’d amassed quite the collection.

I also realized something else. I don’t reach for a book of short stories the way I reach for a novel.  With a novel, I get these squiggly bookish feelings of anticipation and when these come, I naturally reach for whichever novel it is, and start reading.

This doesn’t happen with short stories. Have you noticed how short story collections are often great big thick books? I find they make me feel a little wary.

But I still have this desire to start reading more short stories.

So I decided, if the idea of a big collection of short stories is off-putting, why not have some fun with things instead?

Fun, as in surprising myself with a different short story every day!

Here is my Short Story box:

short story box

I made up a list in my Bullet Journal, giving each short story collection or anthology a letter. Then I cut up a bunch of paper from the paper recycling box. I began going through each of the books, jotting down the title of the short story (and the page number, for print books) on a small slip of paper, which I then tossed into my Short Story box.

My plan is to pick a short story from the box every day. No more resistance to those thick short story anthologies. No more trying to decide what genre I want to read. It will always be a surprise!

If this works out, I’ll simply keep adding more books to my collection, and more short story titles to my Short Story box. If this doesn’t work out, well, I’ve been having a great time writing down titles, and marvelling at how imaginative some of them are are.

Here are the short story collections/anthologies I’ve gone through so far (I have many more, plus ones I’ve saved to Pocket from various places like the New Yorker magazine):

Shadow Show: All-New Stories in Celebration of Ray Bradbury

The Year’s Best Science Fiction: Twenty-Eighth Annual Collection

Blind Willow, Sleeping Woman (Haruki Murakami)

he Year’s Best Fantasy and Horror 2007: 20th Annual Collection

M is for Magic (Neil Gaiman)

Mammoth Book of Best British Mysteries, vol. 9

The O’Henry Prize Stories, 2013

Best American Mystery Stories, 2011

Come Along with Me (Shirley Jackson)

Best Horror of the Year, vol 6

Best Horror of the Year, vol. 5

Fragile Things (Neil Gaiman)

The Mammoth Book of Best New Horror 24

Others still to be added include short story collections from Flannery O’Connor and Ray Bradbury, as well as a lot more anthologies in the mystery, horror, thriller, science fiction and fantasy genres. I’m going for an eclectic mix, and will be keeping my eye out for new anthologies to add to my collection.

It feels like a lot of fun to me, and if I can stick with a short story a day, by this time next year I will have read 365 short stories! I like the sound of that.

Do you like to read short stories? If yes, do you have a collection/anthology that you would highly recommend? A favourite short story author?

A Reading Ramble: Inferno, A Natural History of Dragons, Smoke and Mirrors and More

I’m pleased to report that I kept up my reading even during the crazy busy month of June – so it’s time for another rambly post (my spellchecker tells me rambly is not a word but I like the sound of it anyway) about what I’ve been reading.

One book I tackled in June was Dan Brown’s Inferno. So here’s the quick and dirty: it didn’t work for me. I was very excited when I picked it up from the library, and cracked it open as soon as I got home. I got about halfway through the novel and realized I felt the same way about it as I did Angels & Demons: the story was exciting, and I was learning some interesting things, but I didn’t really care one way or another how the novel ended.

With Angels & Demons, I quit reading at about the 80% mark. I remember thinking to myself, all this excitement is rather tiring, and anyway, I know Langdon will end up fine, right? I felt the same with Inferno, except I got to that point a little earlier than I did with Angels & Demons. Since I knew lots of people were eagerly awaiting Inferno, I returned it to the library two days later (I waited a day to see if maybe I was just in a tired mood, and really did want to finish it after all – it turned out I really didn’t).

A Natural History of DragonsI absolutely adored this book

Happily, though, I also got my hands on a copy of A Natural History of Dragons, by Marie Brennan. I LOVED this book – it’s one of my favourite reads of the year. It’s the kind of book I just want to press on everyone I know: “Read it, read it, oh, you simply must read it!”

And really, you simply must. I mean, it’s got dragons! An independent, feisty female main character! And did I mention, dragons?

For all you Flavia de Luce fans out there, Isabella (Lady Trent) is like Flavia all grown up – if, that is, Flavia had lived in a Victorian-type era in a world where dragons exist.

Last month I also managed to get tickets to see Neil Gaiman when he comes to Toronto in August on his book tour for The Ocean at the End of the Lane, so I decided I’d catch up on my Gaiman (I’ve only read two of his books so far, Neverwhere and The Graveyard Book, both of which I loved). To get myself started, I skimmed through Prince of Stories (I had to skim, since the book contains synopses of all Gaiman’s works published at the time Prince of Stories was released, and I didn’t want to read anything spoiler-ish, but even skimming, it was quite lovely to read about everything Gaiman has done).

Smoke and MirrorsSuch a lovely short story collection!

And now I’m halfway through Smoke and Mirrors, and really enjoying it. When I was in my early 20s, I was an avid short story reader, and Smoke and Mirrors reminds me how satisfying a well-crafted short story can be. And I have to say, I am SO in awe of the way Gaiman handles narrative poetry!

I’m also halfway through Joe Hill’s NOS4A2, but it looks like I won’t be able to finish it for a while. I have it on ebook loan from the library, and there are several people on the wait list after me, which means I won’t be able to renew it. Which reminds me – I should go and add myself to the holds list again! It’s my first taste of Hill’s work, and I’m liking it very much so far.

Another June reading highlight: I discovered Peter Lovesey’s Chief Superintendent Peter Diamond – I read Cop to Corpse, the twelfth book in the series (which didn’t hurt my reading of it in the slightest, I might add). Lovesey’s Diamond is great when you’re in the mood for a British police procedural, with a touch of humour that makes it even more enjoyable.

In audio, I listened to Lee Child’s Running Blind and Without Fail, both great books for when you’re in a Jack Reacher mood. I also did three Nero Wolfe short story collections (all rereads) in audio: Curtains for Three, And Four to Go (which starts with a hilarious story in which Wolfe plays Santa) and Death Times Three. Interestingly, one of the shorts in Death Times Three is also in And Four to Go, in slightly shorter format and with the characters slightly changed.

So that’s been my reading month in June, more or less (I might have missed one or two books, and I’m sure if I did, it will of course come to me the moment I hit publish …). It was a pretty good month in terms of reading, and now that I’ve written this post, I’m a little surprised at how many books I did read during such a crazy busy month!

Review: A Study in Sherlock, edited by Laurie R. King and Leslie S. Klinger

A Study in Sherlock I wasn’t sure what to expect when I began reading A Study in Sherlock. The tagline is “stories inspired by the Holmes Canon”, so I was thinking the stories would be about Sherlock Holmes.

Which would have been fine. It’s been a while since I read one of the original Holmes stories, but I quite enjoyed them when I did. Whether anyone could write a Holmes story that way Arthur Conan Doyle could – well, that I wasn’t too sure about. Still, I was willing to find out.

I was pleasantly surprised, though, to discover that while the stories in A Study in Sherlock have to do with Sherlock Holmes, very few of them actually had Holmes as a character in the story. And those that did feature Holmes himself were written in a different style than the original Holmes stories.

Since my latest, greatest media indulgence is the BBC series Sherlock, it was also refreshing to find that several of the stories were set in the present day. (But no, not with Holmes as an actual character … )

I didn’t like every story in the anthology, but really, that’s the nature of an anthology, isn’t it? With all the different writing styles showcased, there are bound to be a few that you might not like. Since I have no problems with not finishing something that doesn’t catch my attention, when I came across one that didn’t really suit me as a reader, I just quickly flipped over to the next story.

There were also a few stories in which the whole Holmes connection rather escaped me, but on reading the little author blurb at the end of the story, usually there was reference to how the story was very similar to one of the original Holmes stories.

I did enjoy most of the stories, though. When I finished the last one, it was with regret that there weren’t a few more to read.

My favorites? It’s hard to choose, but I’d have to say:

“As to ‘An Exact Knowledge of London”’” by Tony Broadbent. Broadbent is a new-to-me author, but after reading this story, I’ve put his novel The Smoke (about a roguish Cockney cat burglar in postwar London who gets blackmailed into working for M15 and is then trained by Ian Fleming) on my to-read list. I think the thing that appealed to me most about this story was how Broadbent integrated the pop culture aspect of Holmes into the narrative.

The Case of Death and Honey” by Neil Gaiman. Gaiman’s tale was one of the few in the book that actually featured Holmes as a character, but it’s not told in the style of Doyle. It is pure Gaiman – imaginative and thought provoking. Very enjoyable.

A Triumph of Logic” by Galey Lynds and John Sheldon. I admit, I figured out whodunnit soon after we visited the scene of the crime, but what I liked about this one were the main characters, Judge Boothby and Artie. Sheldon is working on his first suspense novel which will feature these two characters, so I’m adding this to my to-watch-for list (or rather, I would, if I kept such a list. Which I really should.)

The Eyak Interpreter”, by Dana Stabenow. This story features Stabenow’s Kate Shugak. The first Kate Shugak mystery, A Cold Day for Murder, has been sitting in my TBR pile for a while. After reading this story, I’m definitely moving it up near the top of the file. (By the way, the Kindle version of A Cold Day for Murder I’ve linked to above is currently free.) The short story is told from the perspective of Johnny (I’m not sure what relation he is to Kate), a teenager who’s in Anchorage and blogging about it as part of a school assignment. A fun way to structure a story.

I liked several of the other stories too. For example, Jacqueline Winspear’s “A Spot of Detection” had a nice, unexpected twist at the end that made me smile. Charles Todd’s “The Case That Holmes Lost” has a very fun premise – someone is suing Sherlock Holmes, the fictional character.

All in all, this was a great read. And it’s resparked my interest in reading mystery short stories; when I was in my 20s, I read a lot of mystery and science fiction short stories, and reading this anthology I was reminded how really nice it is to sit down with a well-written short story.

I’ve also decided to reread the original Holmes stories. I put a hold on Leslie Klinger’s The New Annotated Sherlock Holmes, so hopefully I’ll be able to get a start on that soon!