Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Short Story Wednesday — Silver Bullets: The 25th Anniversary of Crippen & Landru Publishers


From the back of my edition of Silver Bullets, published by Crippen & Landru in 2019:

Twenty-five years of the best mystery short fiction from Crippen & Landru.

In 1994, publisher Douglas Greene opened the doors of Crippen & Landru Publishers with the release of a John Dickson Carr radio play, Speak of the Devil. In the subsequent two-and-one-half decades, Crippen & Landru has produced more than 100 single-author mystery short story collections by some of the most recognized current practitioners as well as some of the most beloved writers in the history of the mystery genre.

This book opens with an Introduction by Douglas Greene, which describes how he started his publishing house, Crippen & Landru. Fourteen short stories follow, plus an Afterword by Jeffrey Marks, who assumed the role of Publisher in 2018.

Each story has a brief introduction; some of those include the author's personal experiences with Douglas Greene and Crippen & Landru.

The authors who have stories in this book are: Kathy Lynn Emerson, Liza Cody, Brendan DuBois, Amy Myers, Jon Breen, Edward Hoch, Edward Marston, Terrence Faherty, Peter Lovesey, Bill Pronzini & Marcia Muller, HRF Keating, Carolyn Wheat, Jeremiah Healy and Michael Z. Lewin.

I read the first three stories in the book and all three were good reads. I look forward to reading the rest of the stories. All of the stories are new to me as are some of the authors.

"Mistress Threadneedle's Quest" by Kathy Lynn Emerson

This is a story set in London, 1562. Mistress Threadneedle's neighbor has been killed by a lightning strike, while standing at his window during a storm. No one else questions whether this was natural death, but our narrator (Mistress Threadneedle) does. The outcome was a total surprise to me.

"Mr. Bo" by Liza Cody

This story is set at Christmas and I have a soft spot for Christmas stories. A mother and her nine year old son reunite with her sister several days before Christmas. The story is mostly sad but the ending is more upbeat. 

"A Battlefield Reunion" by Brendan DuBois

A private detective story set in Boston. This story was not what I expected based on the title, but the story I did get was very good. Another historical fiction story, this time set nine months after the end of World War II. Both the private detective and his clients are veterans and have bad memories of their experiences in the war. The client wants to find a newspaperman who was a war correspondent attached to his company during the fighting. The results of the investigation are unexpected.


Todd Mason said...

I'm on at least one dicussion list with Doug, and this nonetheless slipped right past me. I'm partial to these kinds of celebratory anthologies, the writers cited for the most part, and C&L, so thanks for the pointer!

pattinase (abbott) said...

I had forgotten Liz Cody, who I used to read back in the day.

col2910 said...

I want to read some of the authors mentioned that I haven't gotten to yet - Cody and Lovesey in particular. Probably their novels though. I've enjoyed Bill Pronzini and a couple of the others mentioned before. I can probably pass on this collection. I don't doubt the quality of the stories and writing but maybe the historical nature of them holds less appeal and I'm not hurting for reading material - long or short. I'm glad you're enjoying them, Tracy.

Margot Kinberg said...

What a great collection, Tracy! I really respect Greene and his work, and the stories do sound good. I'll be interested in what you think of the rest of the stories as you read them.

TracyK said...

It is a good anthology, Todd, or at least as far as I have gotten. There are a good number of authors here that I haven't read so that will be good for me. Of the three authors I have read so far, only Kathy Lynn Emerson was new to me.

TracyK said...

Patti, I have only read one book by Liza Cody but I really liked it and plan to read more. Her books are not so easy to find now.

TracyK said...

True, Col, neither you or I need more books. We are in competition for the largest TBR piles ever. I have only read one book by Cody but I loved it. Peter Lovesey's Peter Diamond series is really good, although I have only read the first three in the series. I have read some of his earlier books that I liked too.

TracyK said...

Margot, I did not know the story of how Greene started Crippen & Landru or why, so the introduction to the book was really interesting, and I am glad Jeffrey Marks was willing and able to take over when Greene wanted to retire.

Cath said...

I have to say, those all sound excellent. I'm also currently reading a short story collection, but vintage horror yarns rather than crime.

TracyK said...

Cath, that sounds like something Glen might like. He bought another ebook of Victorian ghost stories today.

I was surprised that two of the stories I chose to read were historical fiction, but they were both very good. I used to only like historical fiction set in the 1900s but lately I am enjoying books from the 1400s and 1500s too.

CLM said...

A nice collection of authors. Jeremiah Healy was a close friend of my parents, and I got to know him myself by going to a book-signing of his on a rainy day long ago. No one turned up except me (every author and bookseller and publisher's fear!) and I had to stay an hour to entertain Jerry, the bookseller (a mystery bookstore in Greenwich Village which closed years ago) and the publisher's rep. I am sorry to say Jerry died under sad circumstances. He was a very kind and funny guy; a huge hockey fan which is how he got so friendly with my parents. They read every book loyally.

TracyK said...

Constance, it is very interesting that your parents were friends with Jeremiah Healy and got to be friends via an interest in hockey. I imagine that was a nightmare for him to have a book signing with no one attending. I must have read about his death when it happened, although I had forgotten. I have only read one of his books, the first one, Blunt Darts. I read it over 10 years ago so I don't remember much about it but I would not mind reading more in that series.