SHADOW ALLEY - Lucy Sussex

Reviewed By
Karen Chisholm

First published in 1995, Shadow Alley is a compilation of short crime stories written around the premise of detectives when they were teenagers.

A majority of the authors stuck to this premise, whereas some chose instead to write about teenage characters within the stories themselves.

Kerry Greenwood takes Phryne Fisher back to her boarding school days in England, right after her father has inherited the title that makes her an "Hon". AN OVERACTIVE IMAGINATION is set during WWII and Phryne is an adventurous schoolgirl already very dismissive of authority and so called "hierarchy".

In FORBIDDEN FRUIT, Jennifer Rowe has Verity Birdwood recounting the story of the death of one of her childhood neighbours and how, as a young child, she was able to provide the clues that correctly identified the perpetrator.

Garry Disher introduces a young girl in a difficult position, using her wits when trapped in a building by corrupt police in WHERE THE BODIES ARE BURIED.

In TOTALLY DEVOTED, Susan Geason has an unnamed private detective tracking down a young girl who has suddenly gone missing in Kings Cross.

Allan Baillie takes great liberties with the premise in the very amusing MURDER AT CROCKUS FLAT.

THE TERRIFIC TWO GETS BUSTED by Alison Goodman is a tale of peer pressure and right versus wrong.

Claire Carmichael uses GET JACK to explore the feelings of guilt and retribution that are left when a hit run driver kills one friend and leaves the other gravely injured.

SQUAT by David McRobbie uses homelessness to provide a brief glimpse of sheer desperation to survive and the cruelty of manipulation of other people's circumstances.

Jenny Pausacker uses ANOTHER DAY IN HELL to highlight snobbery and pretension in private school petty power games.

All in all, this is a great anthology for teenagers. Even though it's now over 10 years old, the subject matter is current. If you can get hold of a copy of this it's a great series of stories for boys or girls.


Nine tautly plotted stories of crime and detection ranging from the darkly dangerous to the frankly comical.  All with young adult central characters - some authors have taken their own characters back to their childhood - others have created completely new characters.

  • An Overactive Imagination - Kerry Greenwood
  • Forbidden Fruit - Jennifer Rowe
  • Where the Bodies are Buried - Garry Disher
  • Totally Devoted - Susan Geason
  • Murder at Crockus Flat - Allan Baillie
  • The Terrific Two Get Busted - Alison Goodman
  • For Jack - Claire Carmichael
  • Squat - David McRobbie
  • Another Day in Hell - Jenny Pausacker
Review SHADOW ALLEY - Lucy Sussex
Karen Chisholm
Monday, September 17, 2007

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