Anything for a Quiet Life and Other New Mystery Stories

Michael Francis Gilbert, Author Carroll & Graf Publishers $17.95 (222p) ISBN 978-0-88184-581-5
These whimsical short stories, first seen in the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine , center around London solicitor Jonas Pickett, who sets up a modest practice in the small resort town of Shackleton-on-Sea so as not to rusticate in retirement. The sleepy village, not at all what he expects, abounds in crime--some of it lighthearted, some serious--and Jonas is soon in the middle of it. With shrewdness and humor, he deals with the eccentrics, such as Farmer Maggs with his prize bull in ``Black Bob'' and the fortune-telling Gypsy Queen and her band whose caravans, parked legally on council land, spoil the view from the manor house in ``Vivat Regina.'' In ``The Admiral,'' an old naval officer gets involved with a circus and a devilish set of twins, while the reclusive Dr. Rainey dies mysteriously in his locked house in ``The Bird of Dawning.'' Though the characters may be two-dimensional and the stories of uneven quality, this collection, overall, delights by virtue of Gilbert's fanciful plotting. (Apr.)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1990
Release date: 01/01/1990
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