CRIMINAL TENDENCIES - (Edited by Lynne Patrick)

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

In his foreword to this fantastic collection Mark Billingham points out so many of the mysteries behind the decline of the short story.  In these days of short periods of available quiet time for reading, it does seem strange that fewer and fewer short story collections seem to be published.  Without or without a theme, I really like this sort of book - that mixes in well-known and lesser known authors.  For a start you can play games with yourself and see if you can pick the writer from the style - rather than checking out their name.  You also get a very direct comparison base from which to find a new author to follow.  And this book has quite a stellar cast to choose from:

Carla Banks, Mark Billingham, Stephen Booth, Simon Brett, Maureen Carter, Mary Andrea Clarke, Ann Cleeves, Lesley Crookman, Natasha Cooper, Martin Edwards, Peter Guttridge, Sophia Hannah, Kaye C Hill, Reginald Hill, Peter James, Peter Lovesey, Adrian Magson, Val McDermid, Barbara Nadel, Chris Nickson, Sheila Quigley, Sarah Rayne, Linda Regan, Zoe Sharp, Caroline Shiach, Roz Southey and Andrew Taylor.

Not a bad line up in anyone's book, but what was most interesting for this reader at least was that there wasn't really a story in the entire set that I would say I enjoyed less than the others.  In fact there are a few authors in that group whose books I've not picked up for one reason or another, that really made me want to remedy that. 

This would be an absolutely perfect collection to introduce readers who have not experienced a wide range of the great British writers of crime fiction.  It's also a perfect collection for fans of crime writing in general.  And for those of us who are dedicated followers of the British Crime Writing Wave, with our lists of favourite authors - well try this short story collection.  I'd be really pleased to think you'll find a few more authors that need to be added to that very long list.

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