cover image Daggers Drawn

Daggers Drawn

Edited by Maxim Jakubowski. Titan, $24.95 (384p) ISBN 978-1-789097-98-6

Jakubowski (Venice Noir) has gathered some of the most notable winners of the Crime Writers’ Association Short Story Dagger Award for this strong anthology. The best of the 19 selections come with a sting in the tail that undermines readers’ expectations, as in Danuta Reah’s “The Dummies’ Guide to Serial Killing,” which features a would-be murderer’s step-by-step plan, including his search for a memorable nickname, to launch a career as a serial killer. Phil Lovesey’s “Homework” presents the unexpected impact on a high school student of learning Shakespeare through viewing Mel Gibson’s movie version of Hamlet, which spawns a devious plan for revenge. His father, Peter Lovesey, also impresses, with “Needle Match,” focused on a baffling murder committed before thousands of witnesses during a 1981 tennis match at Wimbledon that claims the life of a participant. Martin Edwards, himself a prolific anthologist, weighs in with the memorable “The Bookbinder’s Apprentice,” in which a British tourist who comes to Venice is offered the opportunity to learn a real trade, instead of desperately scratching out a living doing puppet shows and posing as a living statue of Charlie Chaplin. Fans of literate crime fiction will hope for a follow-up volume. (Sept.)