cover image Guilty Parties: A Crime Writers’ Association Anthology

Guilty Parties: A Crime Writers’ Association Anthology

Edited by Martin Edwards. Severn, $28.95 (256p) ISBN 978-0-7278-8387-2

The short story is alive and well in England, judging by this Crime Writers’ Association anthology assembled by Edwards (Deadly Pleasures). A few of the 23 selections are exceptional, notably Paul Freeman’s “The Franklin’s Second Tale,” a brief Chaucerian fable in verse that’s fun to read. Also outstanding are Peter Lovesey’s quietly engrossing “Reader, I Buried Them,” set in a contemporary London monastery, and Christine Poulson’s “What’s the Time, Mr. Wolf?,” which focuses on women who take the law into their own hands. Bernie Crosthwaite’s “The Death of Spiders” is creepy in a way that has nothing to do with how many legs a creature may have. Phil Lovesey’s absorbing “The Last Guilty Party” looks at an old man and his lifetime of despair, while Kate Rhodes’s “The Wide Open Sky” packs an emotional wallop in a mere five pages. Other contributors include Christopher Fowler, John Harvey, and Frances Brody. (Aug.)