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OxCrimes by Peter Florence


by Peter Florence (Editor), Mark Ellingham (Editor)

Other authors: Mark Billingham (Contributor), Ann Cleeves (Contributor), John Connolly (Contributor), Stella Duffy (Contributor), Christopher Fowler (Contributor)24 more, Neil Gaiman (Contributor), Mark Goldring (Afterword), John Harvey (Contributor), Anthony Horowitz (Contributor), Maxim Jakubowski (Contributor), Peter James (Contributor), Simon Lewis (Contributor), Alexander McCall Smith (Contributor), Val McDermid (Contributor), Adrian McKinty (Contributor), Denise Mina (Contributor), Walter Mosley (Contributor), Stuart Neville (Contributor), George Pelecanos (Contributor), Ian Rankin (Contributor), Ian Rankin (Introduction), Phil Rickman (Contributor), Peter Robinson (Contributor), James Sallis (Contributor), Fred Vargas (Contributor), Martyn Waites (Contributor), Louise Welsh (Contributor), Yrsa Sigurðardóttir., (Contributor), Anne Zouroudi (Contributor)

Series: Ox-Tales

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Showing 1-5 of 6 (next | show all)
Reading 27 short crime stories at once is a little surreal and it's the odd ones that then stand out. Fred Vargas's tale of a man with sponges to sell, Yrsa Sigurdardottir's moon based tale I'll let tem all percolate, re-read another time and see whch ones are just novel and which have ideas and writing that stands the test of time. ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
Proportion of good:bad very high, I thought. Predominantly British in setting, a few humorous, some very short, none over-long. Only one unreadable. Good value. ( )
  jtck121166 | May 1, 2016 |
Warning: this review contains spoilers -- well, maybe not, but I do discuss the content of the stories, and because some are very short, they are at greater risk of being accidentally spoilered.

Ian Rankin introduces this collection of 27 short stories from a wide range of highly regarded crime fiction writers. Some stories feature the authors' well-known series characters, others are early efforts, some are stand-alones, and others explore different genres such as sci-fi and horror. I would recommend this collection if you like one of the writers featured in it or want to try something by a name you've heard of but don't want to commit to a whole novel. Of the authors new to me here, I most want to try novels by Anne Zouroudi and Yrsa Sigurdadottir.

Most of these stories I at least "liked", and of the two that I was really indifferent to, they at least had the benefit of being short. Below is a brief assessment of each story.

The Dead Their Eyes Implore Us (Pelecanos): This story was a first-person narration by a Greek immigrant to New York City in the 1930s. It had a good distinctive voice (3/5)

The Case of Death and Honey (Gaiman): This was a Sherlock Holmes story, which should have been fun, but the viewpoints jumped around a bit too much for my tastes. Also, it gave me nightmares about bees. (2.5/5)

Buy and Bust (Lewis): Decent plot, decent suspense. My rating is a positive 3 instead of a "meh" one. (3/5)

I've Seen That Movie Too (McDermid) -- Excellent! The story told us only what we needed to know about the protagonist, and what information we learned was provided in a natural way. And most importantly, the story ended at exactly the right spot. This was my favourite story in the collection. (5/5)

Caught Short (Horowitz): I laughed out loud in places where I probably should not have, but it was more of a "Haha, that is BRILLIANT" laugh. Very good description, maybe almost TOO good in places. (4.5/5)

The Sin of Dreams (Mosley) -- Cool premise. The ending was a bit weird, but I was feeling charitable and the originality of the premise bumped it up past some of the 3.5 stories. (4/5)

Five Francs Each (Vargas) -- Normally I prefer to read Vargas in French, because I get distracted trying to back-translate her books in English, but this story was interesting. (4/5)

An Afternoon (Rankin) -- A very early Ian Rankin story. I like the use of the football ground and the glimmer of the cop that might have become Rebus. Rankin also includes a little afterword. (3.5/5)

Juror 8 (Neville) -- A really good riff on what I presume is 12 Angry Men. You might get more out of it if you've seen the movie, but I don't think it's crucial to know more than the basic idea. (4/5)

Face Value (Duffy) -- Nice! Creepy twist at the end. (4/5)

Not Tommy Johnson (Harvey) -- I suppose it was OK. Nothing special, at least not for me, and at least not in comparison to some of the other stories in this collection. (3/5)

You'll Never Forget My Face (James) -- Definitely creepy, but it felt like something I've heard before. (3/5)

The Calm Before (Mina) -- Really good! An interesting way to tell the story and provide some foreshadowing. (4/5)

The Ladder (McKinty) -- Clever plot, much better than the Sean Duffy book I read. The punctuation was a bit sloppy, though. Too many commas and run-on sentences. (3.5/5)

Venice Is Sinking into the Sea (Sallis) -- Meh. (2/5)

My Life as a Killer (Jakubowski) -- Not bad. Met my expectations. (3/5)

The Caterpillar Flag (Fowler) -- A charming little story from the author of the Bryant and May series, but sadly not featuring either Bryant or May. (3/5)

Reflections in Unna (Welsh) -- Not much I can say about it. It held my interest and is better than some of the other 3-star ones, so I bumped it up to 3.5. (3.5/5)

People Just Don't Listen (Robinson) -- Short and punchy. I predicted the ending but was still grossed out. (4/5)

The Honey Trap (Zouroudi) -- Very clever! Might have to try one of her Greek detective mysteries. And now I want honey. (4/5)

The Spinster (Cleeves) -- I liked the description of the knitting and spinning, and the story was good. However, there was a bit of "quit while you're ahead" going on. One too many sordid secrets to be believable. (3.5/5)

Diagnosis Murder (Waites) -- Probably predictable, but I really liked it. (4/5)

Trouble at the Institute for the Study of Forgiveness (McCall Smith) -- Normally I find McCall Smith's writing a bit too cosy and charming, but this story was manageable. I would however have liked a name for the protagonist. Am I supposed to know him from one of his other series, or is this just a stand-alone guy? (3/5)

The House of Susan Lulham (Rickman) -- Decidedly creepy at the end. Wouldn't go back to the series, but it's tolerable in short form. (3.5/5)

Underneath the Mistletoe Last Night (Billingham) - Very good. Yay, Thorne! Only downside is I now have "I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus" stuck in my head. Thanks a lot, Mark Billingham. (4/5)

The Children of Dr Lyall (Connolly) -- Weird. I liked the WW2 setting and the concept, and the eerieness and length were just right. (3.5/5)

Black Sky (Sigurdadottir) -- Holy smokes this was a good story. It might help that I have been on a space kick lately. (5/5) ( )
  rabbitprincess | Aug 22, 2015 |
OXCRIMES, from Profile books is a fundraising book of short crime stories with contributions from a strong group of authors - some of whom will be favourites, many of whom will be new to readers.

Said it before, will say it again, the best thing about short story collections is a chance to find "new to you" authors. In this collection the option of comparing them, up close, with more favourite writers is a bonus. Particularly as the list of contributors is so stellar, and the standard of the stories here really high.

For my money, I've had Stuart Neville on the "long list" for ages now, but have promoted him to "the ridiculously long List of Books that I have to read before I die", along with Anne Zouroudi. I've also bumped Mark Billingham, Denise Mina, Fred Vargas, Yrsa Sigurdardottir and John Harvey up on "the List" on the basis that I'm behind with their books. On the other hand, Adrian McKinty and Louise Welsh are on the top of "the List" as soon as there is a sniff of a new book (I've got a new one from McKinty here at the moment and I'm starting to develop a twitch whilst I do some "must be read" reading first). I'm also really pleased to see something from Stella Duffy - been a while.

But that's not to dismiss any of the other stories in OXCRIMES, and there's guaranteed to be something here for everyone. And it's for a good cause to boot.

http://www.austcrimefiction.org/review/review-oxcrimes-ian-rankin ( )
  austcrimefiction | Sep 22, 2014 |
This book was compiled for a very good cause and included contributions from some excellent authors but it principally served to remind me why I so rarely read short stories. There were a couple of excellent examples, including Neil Gaiman's story about an aging Sherlock Holmes learning bee-keeping lore in the foothills of Tibet and Anthony Horowitz's cautionary tale about the perils of superloos, but most of the rest were merely serviceable. ( )
  Eyejaybee | Aug 23, 2014 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Florence, PeterEditorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Ellingham, MarkEditormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Billingham, MarkContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Cleeves, AnnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Connolly, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Duffy, StellaContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Fowler, ChristopherContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Gaiman, NeilContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Goldring, MarkAfterwordsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Harvey, JohnContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Horowitz, AnthonyContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Jakubowski, MaximContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
James, PeterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Lewis, SimonContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McCall Smith, AlexanderContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McDermid, ValContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
McKinty, AdrianContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mina, DeniseContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Mosley, WalterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Neville, StuartContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Pelecanos, GeorgeContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rankin, IanContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rankin, IanIntroductionsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Rickman, PhilContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Robinson, PeterContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Sallis, JamesContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Vargas, FredContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Waites, MartynContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Welsh, LouiseContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Yrsa Sigurðardóttir.,Contributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Zouroudi, AnneContributorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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For 2014, Oxfam and Profile have turned to crime in order to raise a further GBP200,000 for Oxfam's work. OxCrimes is introduced by Ian Rankin and has been curated by Peter Florence, director of Hay Festival, where it will be launched in May. The stellar cast of contributors will include Mark Billingham, Alexander McCall Smith, Anthony Horowitz, Val McDermid, Peter James, Adrian McKinty, Denise Mina, Louise Welsh and a host of other compelling suspects. Profile have raised more than a quarter of a million pounds for Oxfam by publishing OxTales (2009)and OxTravels (9781846684968) (2011).… (more)

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