What better way to expose yourself to other writers than to read anthologies? Anthology Review is an effort to read the anthologies in my personal library while also reading snippets of new-to-me authors’ writing.
This month’s topic: Middle Grade
Mystery & Mayhem edited by Katherine Woodfine
Publisher: Egmont UK
Published: May 2016
Genre: middle grade, mystery
Twelve mysteries. Twelve authors. One challenge: can YOU solve the crimes before the heroes of the stories?
These are twelve brand-new short stories from twelve of the best children’s crime writers writing today.
These creepy, hilarious, brain-boggling, heart-pounding mysteries feature daring, brilliant young detectives, and this anthology is a must for fans of crime fiction and detection.
Read 7/12 stories, with six of those receiving 3 stars or more. DNF’d 5/12 stories.
Previously Read Authors: Robin Stevens, Katherine Woodfine, and Frances Hardinge
Frances Hardinge’s poison mystery was very Dickensian in nature, featuring a grimy, foggy London, the street urchins lingering near the docks, and the death of a sketch artist/painter. She writes Victorian England so well, you could easily imagine yourself reading a novel written by a Victorian author, not a modern one! She’s a classic, and so is her short story.
Katherine Woodfine shared a mystery from the point of view of one of her primary characters in the Clockwork Sparrow series, and it was such jolly good fun (*wink*) to go on a quick adventure with them. My familiarity with her characters certainly assisted in my enjoyment of the short story.
Robin Stevens surprised me — in a good way! — but not taking this opportunity to share a mystery from one of her primary characters in the Murder Most Unladylike series. Instead, she wrote from a new character’s perspective and masterfully dropped little clues here and there, ones that are barely discernable unless you’re a natural observer and perfect young detective in the making. I liked seeing her use her skills with different characters and settings.
New-to-Me Authors I Should Read More: Elen Caldecott, Harriet Whitehorn, Susie Day
Elen Caldecott’s characters came from her Marsh Road series, and I’m convinced I’ll like that series just from this little glimpse of the characters. Though the mystery felt like an afterthought, the characters were fun and I loved the atmosphere!
Harriet Whitehorn’s story felt a little rushed (expected for a short story!), but I thoroughly enjoyed how Christie-like it felt. I’m eager to read more by her and see how she develops her stories to a novel-length format.
I really enjoyed Susie Day’s voice, and how observant the main character was. Though I think I needed to know a bit of French to catch on to the clues, it was such a quick, enjoyable read I nearly devoured it. More from Day, please!
Have you read this anthology? Have you read another anthology in this genre or category that you’d recommend?
*ratings are based on the average rating per rated short story