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Want to read a story with all the depth, questions and quality of a novel, written by highly skilled writers in about 5% of the space? Short stories can be heartbreaking, mysterious and incredibly detailed; for a perfectly formed, bite-sized smorgasbord of stories, browse our Short Story recommendations here.
December 2017 Book of the Month An entertaining and impressive collection of 28 new short stories by members of the Crime Writer’s Association. There are some absolutely cracking authors on display here, from well established award winners, through to the ultra new and talented. Each author delves into the theme of travel and intriguing destinations. The book has been edited by Martin Edwards, award winning author and current chair of the CWA. The variety of stories delivered chills-a-plenty, were clever, provocative and ultimately extremely satisfying. This is a perfect read for crime lovers, allowing you to dip in and out, or sit and gorge yourself in one heady read. ‘Mystery Tour, A Crime Writer’s Association anthology’ is stimulating selection of must read short stories - highly recommended. - Liz Robinson
The ghost of a poor Afghan returns to haunt the doctor who once amputated his hand. A mysterious and malignant force inhabits a room in an ancestral home and attacks all who sleep in it. A man who desecrates an Indian temple is transformed into a ravening beast. A castle in the Tyrol is the setting for an aristocratic murderer’s apparent resurrection. Nick Rennison, editor of The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes and The Rivals of Dracula, has chosen fifteen tales from that era to raise the hair and chill the spines of modern readers. What a fantastically fascinating anthology, and perfectly framed by Nick Rennison’s insightful introduction. For the uninitiated, the eponymous ‘Supernatural Sherlock’ refers to the proliferation of occult detective stories that burst forth between 1890 and 1930. Among the authors of this wildly inventive, flamboyantly colourful genre were the likes of Kipling and Conan Doyle himself, along with prominent occult magician Dion Fortune, and stories by each of these are featured here, along with an excellent tale by HP Lovecraft, and other lesser known writers. These supernaturally-charged treats will amuse, astound and send shivers of unadulterated terror down readers’ spines as the intrepid detective protagonists venture where no normal detective would dare tread: into the depths of the dark unknown, investigating everything from ancestral homes occupied by evil forces, to haunted surgeons, risking their very sanity as they pursue a myriad of decidedly elusive otherworldly truths. Aficionados of detective fiction, this is a veritably original trove to explore. Joanne Owen BUY DIRECT FROM THE PUBLISHER
I love short stories, they have the power to give us a fleeting, yet memorable glimpse into other lives. Lives of strong, beautiful characters as they face the challenges that life throws at them, each in search of a little piece of happiness. This collection from Jojo Moyes manages to do that perfectly. They are light and yet there is an underlying significance about them that resonates, that we can relate to. The characters are likeable but not without their flaws and in this Moyes expertly gives them a realistic, human touch. As each of us can be, they are vulnerable, feel pain, sorrow, disappointment, love, happiness and have their own difficulties to overcome. This was a real treat to read. The stories were of variable length yet enough for me to learn a little from each shared experience. I locked myself away in the bathroom and before I knew it the bath water was cold and I resembled a prune, so absorbed was I in these wonderful stories. Another delightful treat from Jojo Moyes. Find yourself a quiet spot and enjoy. ~ Shelley Fallows
A collection of seventeen wonderful short stories that are surprising, intelligent, heart-warming, and, for the millions and millions of Tom Hanks fans, an absolute must-have showing that two-time Oscar winner Tom Hanks is as talented a writer as he is an actor. Known for his honesty and sensitivity as an actor, Mr Hanks brings both those characteristics to his writing. Alternatingly whimsical, moving and occasionally melancholy, Uncommon Type is a book that will delight as well as surprise his millions of fans. It also establishes him as a welcome and wonderful new voice in contemporary fiction, a voice that perceptively delves beneath the surface of friendships, families, love and normal, everyday behaviour.
A gentle Eastern European immigrant arrives in New York City after his family and his life have been torn apart by his country's civil war. A man who loves to bowl rolls a perfect game - and then another and then another and then many more in a row until he winds up ESPN's newest celebrity, and he must decide if the combination of perfection and celebrity has ruined the thing he loves. An eccentric billionaire and his faithful executive assistant venture into America looking for acquisitions and discover a down and out motel, romance and a bit of real life. These are just some of the tales Tom Hanks tells in this first collection of his short stories. They are surprising, intelligent, heart-warming, and, for the millions and millions of Tom Hanks fans, an absolute must-have.
Consisting of essays on Princess Diana and a tribute to the author's friend Christopher Hitchens, this book features essays focusing on politics, and in particular the American election campaigns of 2012 and 2016. It also includes an essay about Donald Trump's rise to power.
Three short stories with the link the Cornish village of Pendruggan. Fern has used characters from her previous Cornish novels so those familiar with her work will feel at home. Those new to her work are not left to flounder for sufficient back story is given. The first, A Cornish Carol, is a modern day Christmas Carol, this is followed by The Beach Cabin where a London married couple sort out their lives and The Stolen Weekend closes the book. It tells us of a couple of female friends escaping to London but missing the events of the village. Warm, funny and engaging the collection is perfect with on a cold winter evening, to be transported to the sun, golden beaches and a lovely welcoming group of individuals.
An incredible collection of short crime stories chosen by Sophie Hannah (of whom I’m a massive fan). This book is spectacularly enormous, with 1077 pages it needs to be seen to be believed. It feels as though you are about to open a treasure trove, and inside are tales from a huge variety of women writers, from across the ages to bang up to date. As I read the list of authors I was like a kid in a sweet shop, to pick out just a couple almost feels wrong as there is some major talent on offer here. Sophie Hannah introduces her collection with the confession that she is a mystery addict, and that puzzles sit centre stage in the stories. I was initially drawn to the tales by authors I recognised, but also delighted in making new acquaintances. Within ‘Deadlier’ there is something to suit every crime lover, this is a book to sit on a shelf close by, to pick up and immerse yourself in again and again, I quite simply love it. ~ Liz Robinson
If you are familiar with Eugenides’ work then these, his first collection of short stories, are probably what you would expect, i.e. not happy. They are about love, envy, regret, desire, illness and death. Only one, Baster, has any humour, albeit black. The rest are about people falling towards ruin or tragedy. Some have intriguing twists but most you must enjoy largely for the fine writing, great atmosphere and deep emotions. One, Air Mail, which has a description of the protagonist’s life slipping away is stunning and very sad. He is a much praised, prize-winning author and these certainly show his ability. ~ Sarah Broadhurst
St Andrews in the 16th century is once again brought to captivating vibrant life. With allegations of ghosts, witches, the Spanish Armada and high jinks, the year 1588 is full of life… and death. If you adore the ‘Hew Cullan Mystery’ series then you are in for an absolute treat, as in this ‘Calendar of Crime’ are five different books. They may be short, but each packs a punch as Hew uses his investigative skills in an attempt to solve 5 different mysteries. Shirley McKay sets you so completely in that time that awareness settles over you like a cloak as you read. The very different tales take place in various parts of town, and while the same core characters travel with you through the year, you also greet new ones along the way. The historical notes section and glossary at the end is an interesting read in itself. You can dip in and out of ‘1588: A Calendar of Crime’ and read it as five fascinating stories, or completely immerse yourself in it as I did, and read it one satisfying sitting.
Seven captivating short stories set in the rather wonderful world of DCI Daley, which can either serve as a revealing introduction to the series, or be enjoyed by existing fans. I love a good short story, and I adore this series, so was waiting expectantly with hands outstretched for ‘One Last Dram Before Midnight’. Denzil Meyrick unveils the past, divulges more information on certain characters (we see an entertaining glimpse of Hamish in his younger days), and hands us some thoroughly tricky crimes to solve. I have a real soft spot for DS Scott, and I was on the edge of my seat during one particular situation.‘One Last Dram Before Midnight’ contains Meyrick’s trademark dark police humour and plenty of gritty cases, a few ghostly whispers also caress the pages, ensuring a gathering of gutsy, compelling tales. ~ Liz Robinson
Twenty-five fairy tales for adults, these narratives are a response to our times, informed by our world but not limited by it, imaginative, enchanting, haunting - both prescient and prophetic. Twenty-five original paintings, beautiful, playful, intimate, dreamlike, these works pull you in to a land of colour and vision. Who can say which came first, the word or image, when both grew together out of a long friendship and a creative symbiosis. What if Calvino and Magritte had combined inspiration? What if we could see our world again with a child's eyes? What if there really is a magic lamp?
There is a real skill in being able to conjure a whole life in just a few pages, to be able to leave a reader with an enduring feeling in just a short time. Here you will find lasting stories about life the universe and everything, from authors you already know as novelists and some that will be knew and welcome friends. We love a good short story, not just because they provide great reading in bite-size chunks - perfect for the trip to work, or a moment when you just want a small piece of brilliance in your life – but also because they are (if they are good) a perfect piece of art, capturing the human condition in a snapshot that stays with the reader for much longer than it took to write. As Graham Greene put it; “a novel can seldom have the sense of perfection which you find in Chekhov’s story, The Lady with the Dog.” From Chekhov to Julian Barnes via a whole host of other perfectionists, we have hand-picked the very best of short story collections for readers of all tastes.