Straight, Bent & Barbara Vine - Garry Disher
A few years ago I made a promise to myself to catch up on some of the back catalogue lurking around in darkened corners in this place.
Some months I get that right - other months I make a real hash of it and that's to my own detriment.
Although in an odd way, taking SOOO long to get to this collection of Disher short stories actually worked for me, as many of them are obviously the starting point of some of my favourite of the later novels. That made for a fascinating insight into the way an idea starts, and can be expanded.
But as a collection of short stories in their own right, this is a great book. Divided up into the sections outlined on the blurb, this is really enjoyable collection overall. As is the way with all these collections, there will be some stories that appeal more than others, there are some that are tight, and interesting, and they just work really well at telling a story, building an atmosphere and getting to the point quickly and succinctly. There are some that aren't quite as well-rounded, but there are absolutely none that don't work on some level.
If you're a fan of Disher's novels and you can track down a copy of this collection, it's well worth the bother of finding.
"Straight...an insurance investigator recalled to his childhood uncovers a body and ghosts from his past. "Bent...an unseen stranger confuses a crime writer with the characters who stalk the pages of his books. "Barbara Vine...a conservator restoring a flood-damaged Venice crypt suspects that he's been implicated in a murder. "Twelve dazzling stories by an award-winning author writing at the peak of his ability, introduced by an elegant testament to the writing process itself."