Cover Image: Vintage Crime

Vintage Crime

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Member Reviews

Thank you to Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

As a true-crime writer who loves everything crime-related. I really enjoyed this book. All the stories are well-written and memorable. Highly recommended.
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A little different than what I usually read but I enjoyed it. I would recommend it to others. It was a quick read.
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I read this collection more than a month ago and spent all that time postponing my review. I wanted to talk about the individual stories in the book for two reasons. My reactions to many varied and making sure all the separate author names are catalogued for my own reference in the future.
First off, I should mention the title is a bit of a misnomer. The stories begin way back in time but end up in our own generation. Although those stories were equally good, they were mildly jarring. I only intend to write a line or two per story, and since there are quite a few of them, it might seem to be a tedious post. One way of enjoying/reading it could be to look out for author names familiar to you.

Money is Honey by Michael Gilbert – 1956
I have read and liked a full work by this author previously
Short tale with not much of a mystery but entertaining characters and an ominous atmosphere
Family feud with feigned illnesses and real deaths
I was not satisfied with the ending
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Strolling in the Square one day by Julian Symons
Unexpected direction of the narrative
Once again I was not sure of the ending
Begins and ends with a discussion around a photo and the implications surrounding it
⭐⭐⭐
Rating: 3 out of 5.
The service flat by Bill Knox – 1966
The plot is simple, we are faced with an empty flat and possible intruders
I thought I was following the breadcrumbs right but never saw the final twist coming
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Footprint in the sky by John Dickson Carr – 1968
I have read a few other works by the author
The ominous atmosphere is set from the very beginning.
The problem itself was simple ( it felt like the most obvious suspect) but the odd clue was a little surprising
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Rating: 4 out of 5.
The Woman who had everything by Celia Fremlin – 1984
With every story of hers I encounter I realise how much I like the women the author writes, they are so real
Here also we have a desperate woman who has a lot of shades to her
Well written and I never saw the ending/twist(s) coming.
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Rating: 5 out of 5.
The nuggy bar by Simon Brett 1985
This is a sad story with an untrustworthy narrator
There are funny bits to how things turned out for the aforementioned narrator during the planning stage
Well written but I was annoyed by the final outcome.
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Inspector Ghote and the Noted British Author –1985
I found certain quirks in the narration entertaining but on the whole it was an okay read
The plot did not lend itself to be self deduced since information was only revealed in bits
I found it really odd that the author had never visited the country he based his series in till almost the very end!
⭐⭐⭐
Rating: 3 out of 5.
The Perfect Alibi by Paula Gosling – 1991
A superior officer is entertaining his colleague with reminisces about a diamond robbery
I can see the shift in narrative styles and the twist caught me off guard!
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Cuckoo in the wood by Lesley Grant- Adamson – 1992
This is a sad story which was well written
I did not like where the narrative led and the images it left behind
⭐⭐
Rating: 2 out of 5.
In those Days by Lisa Cody
The setup and the writing was well done
I think I understood what the implied solution was but I want to talk to someone who has read it and can point out the revelation moment to me.
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Turning Point by Anthea Fisher – 1993
The twist was the saving grace of the story. I never saw it coming.
A lonely housewife decides to take a vacation and ends up having to think on her feet
⭐⭐⭐
Rating: 3 out of 5.
The hand that feeds me by Michael Z. Lewin
Did not realise who the narrator was till a few paragraphs in, this being the unique part of the story
It is not a mystery per se, and therefore, I was not so caught up in it
⭐⭐
Rating: 2 out of 5.
Cold and Deep by Frances Fyfield – 1994
The atmosphere was set well but the flow of the story seemed obvious.
The writing was well done.
⭐⭐⭐
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Moving On by Susan Moody – 1996
Convoluted situation with two friends and their spouses’ lives intertwining to disastrous consequences
Well done but sad and it left the possibilities mildly ambiguous.
⭐⭐
Rating: 2 out of 5.
The woman who loved Elizabeth David by Andrew Taylor – 1998
Yet another sad story about a wronged woman that did not have me very excited
The twist saved some of it but overall not one of my favourites
⭐⭐
Rating: 2 out of 5.
Nowhere to be found by Mat Coward – 1999
Ending was left hanging and made me jus plain sad for the turn of events
⭐⭐
Rating: 2 out of 5.
Interior, With Corpse by Peter Lovesey – 2000
Pretty unique setup ( at least of the ones I have read)
Never saw the end coming when the narrative begins with a scarily accurate painting of a corpse
⭐⭐⭐⭐
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Egyptian Garden by Marjorie Ecks – 2002
Although there is death in it, it is not a mystery
The stifling atmosphere added some feeling but it was all about family dynamics
⭐⭐
Rating: 2 out of 5.
Melusine by Martin Edward – 2003
Not my kind of story
I did not see the twist coming but did not help me like the story either
We have another couple of friends who weigh in the others’ lives
⭐⭐
Rating: 2 out of 5.
Top Deck by Kate Ellis – 2005
Simple story that did not go the way I thought it would, given that it begins with a man who suspects that we witnessed a murder
Interesting in its own way
⭐⭐⭐
Rating: 3 out of 5.
Sins of Scarlet by Robert Barnard – 2005
I found this a little weird and was not very drawn in by the possibilities
⭐⭐
Rating: 2 out of 5.
All she wrote by Mick Herron – 2006
Once again I get the feeling that I do not ‘get’ the current thriller/mystery genre
Did not enjoy the turn of events, it seemed a very obvious progression
⭐⭐
Rating: 2 out of 5.
Since I liked the older ones more than the newer ones, my total tally does come to be 3 stars on the whole.
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This anthology highlights the many authors who have written for the Crime Writers Association since its inception. The book shows the wide range of the contributing authors with stories by Michael Gilbert, Julian Symons, Simon Brett, Paula Gosling, Liza Cody, Peter lovesey, Kte Ellis and more. Spend time reading a story by a writer you enjoy or make some new discoveries. Either way this anthology offers a great read.
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Vintage Crime is a CWA anthology with a difference, celebrating members’ work over the years. The book gathers stories from the mid-1950s until the twenty-first century by great names of the past, great names of the present together with a few hidden treasures by less familiar writers. The first CWA anthology, Butcher’s Dozen, appeared in 1956, and was co-edited by Julian Symons, Michael Gilbert, and Josephine Bell. The anthology has been edited by Martin Edwards since 1996, and has yielded many award-winning and nominated stories in the UK and overseas.

If you’re a lover of crime but only have a short window of time for reading, then this is book for you. Containing 22 short stories of vintage crime, this book will keep you on your toes with stories of suspense and thriller.

Each story is uniquely written and is a welcome distraction from the modern crime that I normally read. It was fascinating reading the various ways of solving crimes without the aid of modern technology. This is the first time that I’ve read anything by the authors featured in the book and found ‘Strolling in the Square One Day’ and ‘The Perfect Alibi’ to be particularly interesting.

With a variation of crime, gore and suspense, ‘Vintage Crime is a remarkable collection of short stories, that caters for all fans of crime fiction.

You can buy ‘The Crime Writers’ Association Vintage Crime’ from Amazon
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I love a mystery story anthology! So many different stories -- different authors -- varied characters! Vintage Crime caught my eye at first because I absolutely LOVE the front cover! And then I peeked at the story list....a variety of who-dunnits from the 1950s to present written by some familiar names and several new-to-me authors! I knew a CWA anthology would be filled with outstanding writing! 

And I wasn't disappointed! 

Because Covid19 has absolutely kicked my job (social services) into high gear, my reading time is precious at the moment. Normally, I savor mystery anthologies -- I read one story at a time, think over my opinions, look up the author for a bit of research, add other books/stories from the author to my TBR list....and then move on to the next. But because I was reading a review copy, I felt a bit rushed. I loved each story but didn't have the time to really savor and research. I solved this problem by ordering a lovely hardback copy all my own just before I started writing this review....MINE!! And I can read it as slowly as I choose the second time.....Can't wait! 

I thought and thought and tried to pick a favorite story. Impossible. I enjoyed them all! And I'm not saying one word about what they were about...best to read mystery stories with no prior information. But I can say this -- I liked every author in this collection. Once I get my own copy, I have the feeling I'm going to be adding a lot of other books and stories to my already ponderous TBR list. I love how this collection spans several decades. It really brought home how mystery writing has evolved and changed since the 1950s! 

Lovely, lovely collection! Definitely has a home on my keeper shelf! 

**I read a review copy of this story collection from Flame Tree Press. All opinions expressed are entirely my own. I will say this -- I review many books for Flame Tree Press and have never been disappointed. Not one time! That opinion is also 100% my own!**
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I read this for a blog tour. 

This was an excellent collection of crime stories spanning the 1950s until close to the present day.

Short stories are often where crime writers' talents shine, so many of crime fiction's greats wrote short stories, which pack the crime, the solving and the solution in neat, clever parcels. Perfect for dipping in and out of.

And the joy of all that genius is contained in the this volume. The stories are clever, cunning and shrewd, much like the detectives solving them.

I've read several of the authors included, and it's interesting to see the differences and similarities between their short stories and longform work. The stories included are all very enjoyable and easily read as standalone works. 

The CWA does a lot of work to not only promote living writers but ensure that older stories are not lost and can be enjoyed by readers long after they were first published.
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Each story is a hidden gem and edited by Martin Edwards.  Some are vintage others are more contemporary but they will stay in your bookshelf because good works of writing always do. I discovered new Authors, and others I had read, but the stories were new to me. I had a hard time putting this down but you will love the variety. Highly recommended...five stars...
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Vintage Crime is an eclectic collection of 22 short stories celebrating some of the most illustrious names in crime fiction who were members of the Crime Writers Association from the 1950s until the twenty-first century. A collection that spans decades and that beautifully illustrates the genre’s range and variety, there is something for everyone to enjoy in Vintage Crime.

From stories about domestic strife to tales of dark desire and grief and despair, Vintage Crime features writers from the last century who were immensely popular, but who fell out of favour due to changing reading fashions and new trends, such as Michael Gilbert, John Dickson Carr and Julian Symons. Reading their stories clearly showed just how the genre has changed and how they set the groundwork for many of the conventions and rules that have become so synonymous with the crime genre.

However, for me, my favourite stories were the ones by modern writers. I’ve long enjoyed Simon Brett’s traditional British mysteries, such as the Charles Paris series and the Fethering Mysteries. When I found out that he was a contributor to this collection, I found myself turning to his story The Nuggy Bar first and absolutely loving it. It had all the humour, red herrings, surprises and wit which are perennially present in his most popular series. I also really enjoyed Martin Edwards’ unsettling and intriguing Melusine and will be looking out for more titles by Andrew Taylor after being totally gripped by his contribution, The Woman Who Loved Elizabeth David.

Vintage Crime is a brilliant collection that is perfect for crime fiction fans who want to discover new favourites, revisit old luminaries of the genre and see how the genre has evolved through the years while continuing to remain truthful to its established traditions. But be warned: you will be so gripped by some of these stories that you will find yourself adding more authors to your ever-growing auto-buy list.
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This is a collection of short stories by members of The Crime Writers Association, past and present.

Each of the tales are unique, but all have a vintage feel. (Some are vintage!).

This is a great book to be able to dip in and out of, when you have a spare half hour or so.

Lots of murders, mysteries and general mayhem, very entertaining throughout. Anyone who enjoys classic and vintage crime stories will love this.

Thank you to the publishers and NetGalley for an eARC of Vintage Crime. This is my honest and unbiased review.
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Crime Fiction is a genre where short stories work well, and this anthology of classic vintage style stories is proof. The book features a range of crime stories, some genuinely vintage others written by contemporary writers. It's a book you can dip in and out of which is lovely.

Setting and characters are important in short stories, and there are some great examples of both in these stories. Some stories are atmospheric with a hint of menace, whilst others have strange endings.

The varied plots mean this book will appeal to many readers who enjoy classic crime and mystery fiction. The one's I enjoyed most used sensory imagery well and made imagining the events easy.

I received a copy of this book from Flame Tree Press via NetGalley in return for an honest review.
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Fantastic collection of short stories - old and new. 
I cannot pick a favourite as most of the stories are equally good (and mysterious). 
Highly recommended to Mystery lovers.
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I always loved anthologies edited by Martin Edwards and this one was no exception.
If you are a fan of classic British mystery this is a must read. I loved almost all the stories, my favourite was the one by Simon Brett, and discovered some new to me very interesting authors.
A must read for traditional mystery lovers, highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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I have mixed feelings about this anthology. First, the good stuff. This is quite a broad and diverse collection, which features stories set between 1950’s until now. A wide range of subjects feature in the stories and the characters are just as wide-ranging. If old-fashioned mysteries are you’re thing, then this collection has plenty to offer. Like a lot of anthologies, this is a mixed bag, some stories work a lot better than others. I preferred the more recent stories to be honest. Then we have the not so good. The stories are very British and nice. If that’s your thing then you’ll love this anthology. I don’t mind this but not so many times in succession. I would have liked a bit of variety. I do like darker fiction and this collection lacked these type of stories. Still, I did enjoy the stories just not quite as much as I hoped.
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As soon as I saw Andrew Taylor's name on the list I just knew I had to read this anthology. His short story The Woman Who Loved Elizabeth David is as good as I would expect from one of my favourite all time writers. Because he is quite local to me I get all excited when he mentions Cheltenham and The Everyman Theatre!

However my favourite story has to be The Nuggy Bar by Simon Brett. I love the pedantry of the main character as he plots to kill his step-daughter in order to claim her inheritance after her mum dies. He treats her murder like managing and marketing a new product at work, but with added dark humour and repetition eg GLISS HANDY MOPPITS (IDEAL FOR THE KITCHEN, NURSERY OR HANDBAG) which is repeated in full over and over.  It reminds me of a short story I wrote about 10 years ago called Double Bill (I'm not boasting here though it is available on Kindle!!) - it just uses the same device of repeating things for effect. I kept thinking 'did I write this?' Ha ha I wish.

Some of the stories such as Inspector Ghote and the Noted British Author by HRF Keating are quite strange. It was written in 1985. I would have guessed it was much earlier. But I do like the one about the painting of a murder - Interior with Corpse by Peter Lovesey - and the references to Walter Sickert who was once thought to be Jack the Ripper as he painted exact scenes from the gory murders of prostitutes. I also loved Top Deck by Kate Ellis in which budding policeman Keith thinks he sees a murder from the top deck of the bus. Cold and Deep by Frances Fyfield is very sinister, while Melusine by Martin Edwards gripped me to the end, but was also very unnerving and the descriptions of the foot and mouth incident brought back horrible memories and scenes of burning dead cows on TV.

These are just a few of the 22 stories. They are not necessarily the best. Just my own personal favourites (or not in the case of Inspector Ghote ...). Many are very different from the murder mysteries and psychological thrillers we are so obsessed with today and move at a slower pace. No instant gratification in the fifties and sixties. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. Sleep well and don't have nightmares!

Many thanks to @annecater for letting me be part of #RandomThingsTours and to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Edited by the long-experienced and gifted anthologist Martin Edwards,  this collection features 22 stories from members of the distinguished Crime Writers Association. Some of these authors are deceased, although others are relatively newer. All are accomplished.  Perhaps it is trite to say, "something here for everyone, " but it is nonetheless applicable.
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The Crime Writers Association is a venerable society founded in 1953 to support, promote and celebrate the overarching crime genre. While based in the UK, it also has many members from other nations. It is perhaps best known nowadays for awarding the prestigious CWA Dagger awards, honoring the year’s best crime writing.

Since 1956, the CWA has published anthologies of its members’ writings, with Martin Edwards taking over editing duties in 1996. This year’s anthology is meant to be a retrospective collecting previously anthologized short stories representative of the history of the genre, from Michael Gilbert’s 1956 classic case of British detection Money Is Honey to Mick Herron’s 2008 story of a spy’s last mission in All She Wrote. With twenty-two tales altogether, this is a rich overview of the way crime stories have evolved over the decades, reflecting changes in the attitudes of both readers and writers with the times.

Though not placed at the beginning of the anthology, John Dickson Carr’s Footprint In The Sky (1940) is the oldest story here, and one of the few early pieces to feature a police detective instead of a civilian sleuth. Cops only figure as crime-solvers in six of these entries, nowhere more delightfully than in Paula Gosling’s retro police procedural The Perfect Alibi (1991) or poignantly than in Kate Ellis’ Dagger-nominated Top Deck (2005). Perhaps the most unusual “detective” here is the canine protagonist of Michael Z Lewin’s The Hand That Feeds Me (1994) which was one of my favorite stories as well as a terrific example of the comparatively small animal sleuth subgenre.

Arguably the most popular crime subgenre today, the psychological thriller is first represented in these pages by Celia Fremlin’s The Woman Who Had Everything (1975). A curiously sexist entry from one of the pioneers of the domestic thriller, it tells the tale of a career-minded diplomat’s unhappy young wife, who will go to great lengths to get his attention: 

QUOTE
Had she indeed mysterious powers inside her -- an untested courage of which, in ordinary life, she knew nothing?

The courage, maybe, actually to commit suicide? Or even, just possibly, the courage to face the consequences of loving an ambitious, highly strung man stretched almost beyond his limits by responsibilities and pressures such as he had never known?
END QUOTE

Contrast this with the dissatisfied housewife of Anthea Fraser’s The Turning Point (1993) who might not be the greatest life partner but is certainly a far more interesting protagonist. That both stories deal with women accidentally stumbling across espionage plots only serves to underscore how far society has come in its valuation of a married woman’s agency.

Another cringe-worthy product of its time is 1985’s Inspector Ghote and the Noted British Author by HRF Keating. While this at least has the benefit of being the first story here set outside of the Anglo-Saxon fastnesses of Great Britain and America, it was also written by a white man who’d published eight novels about the native Indian police force before ever setting foot in the country. Compare this attitude with Marjorie Eccles’ The Egyptian Garden, published a scant 17 years later, with its far more respectful treatment of native peoples and mores, as well as its critical gaze on both colonialism and chauvinism:

QUOTE
[Mrs Palmer had been] utterly dismayed at the tarmac road that now ran towards the once remote, silent and awesome Valley of the Kings, at the noisome phalanxes of waiting coaches with their engines kept running for the air-conditioning, the throngs of people from the cruise ships queuing up for tickets to visit the tombs of the Pharoahs, which were lit by electric light. Before the war, when her husband had taken her to view the antiquities, they had sailed across the Nile in a felucca from Luxor, and traversed the rocky descent and on to the Valley of the Queens and the Temple of Hatshepsut by donkey, accompanied only by a dragoman. The silence had been complete. Now, they might just as well be visiting a theme park, she said tartly.

“They’re a poor people. The tourist industry’s important to them, Ursula,” Moira reminded her gently.
END QUOTE

Changing attitudes towards sexuality are also well-represented here, with far more homophobes being buried than gays. Villains abound as viewpoint characters from Simon Brett’s The Nuggy Bar (1982) onwards, though they don’t always get away with murder. There is only one outright historical mystery here, The Egyptian Garden’s 1940s references notwithstanding: the clever if entirely fictional Sins Of Scarlet by Robert Barnard (2006). For the most part, the stories here could have been set at nearly any time in the 20th century after World War I and before the advent of the technology that made the cellphone ubiquitous -- there are, in fact, rather hilarious references to early mobile phones in Frances Fyfield’s Cold And Deep (1994). Technology does not otherwise play a crucial role in the proceedings, lending this collection a decidedly vintage air.

Mr Edwards has done a good job of selecting short stories that truly cover the breadth and depth of CWA writing in and about the 20th century, showing how times have changed without papering over the flaws of previous decades. While these stories have all appeared in other collections, none of them have been anthologized to death, resulting in a book that should provide hours of entertainment and discovery for fans of mysteries and especially those with British roots and overtones.
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Many Hugely Enjoyable, Some Clear Gems......
A wonderful anthology brought to us by the Crime Writers’ Association and edited by Martin Edwards. A celebration of members’ work, compiled from the 1950’s onwards. As an avid reader of crime fiction from the Golden Age this immediately appealed and I love the concept  - there are many hugely enjoyable tales here, some clear gems and some impressive names. As one would expect, a mixed bag, mostly wholly entertaining.
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I am a big fan of the golden age of mystery novels, so I jumped at the chance to read a collection of short stories reminding me of that time. ‘Vintage Crime’, edited by Martin Edwards, let me wallow in the genre for a few hours. The short story is perfect for tales of crime and mystery and I was impressed by the selection chosen for this book. The stories captured the feel of the times and there’s something to be said for going back to an era when the mystery story was at its pinnacle.  I particularly liked ‘The Service Flat’ by Bill Knox and ‘Footprint in the Sky’ by John Dickson Carr. An enjoyable read.

I was given this ARC for review.
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I confess, I wasn’t very careful, reading the synopsis for Vintage Crime. It does state “The book brings together stories from the mid-1950s until the twenty-first century by great names of the past, great names of the present” but I didn’t really assimilate the words. I just assumed, from the name, that it was a collection of old short stories, perhaps stretching as far as the 1960s. My mistake!

However, I am delighted that I made the mistake. I would probably have said “I don’t read modern crime fiction because there’s so much material from the Golden Age that I haven’t read yet.” And I would have missed the opportunity to read some cracking stories. The anthology is edited by the excellent Martin Edwards (no relation to me, as far as I know) and includes a brilliant story of his: Melusine. 

There is humour: Money is Honey by Michael Gilbert opens the book and grabbed my attention on the first page when the lawyer is going up his client’s drive and sees a fox looking at him from the undergrowth. “The fox grinned, crossed the drive, and disappeared silently.” 

There are only a few stories by authors that I have read before: apart from Edwards and Gilbert, I’ve read Julian Symons, John Dickson Carr, HRF Keating, Simon Brett and Frances Fyfield. However, the more recent stories are emphatically the equal of any Golden Age stories and my philosophy of only reading pre-1970 books was silly and prejudiced. Melusine may have been published in 2003, but it wouldn’t have been out of place sixty years earlier. Almost all the stories have a twist and, although some of them are foreseeable, many are not – and they are all beautifully done. The stories are timeless and I commend them to anyone with an interest in crime or detective fiction.

#VintageCrime #NetGalley
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