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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The FIRST Detective Story....
I must have read Neil Gaiman's short story Murder Mysteries four or five times since I originally encountered it; It's been featured, and rightfully so, in many short story collections. It's one of Gaiman's best, most thought-provoking works, and since Gaiman is one of the best storytellers around, that's really saying something. P. Craig Russell is one of the masters of...
Published on November 25, 2002 by Daniel V. Reilly

versus
8 of 13 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Decent story concept that needed better execution.
This was my first Neil Gaiman comic. It. could debatably by my last. While I do like Neil Gaiman in general this was trash in my opinion. There is one thing about the thing I liked. That's it. Just one (which I will share down the line). And let me also start off with informing readers-this is NOT for kids!

Let's get the ugly out of the way, shall we? First...
Published 7 months ago by J. Rivera


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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The FIRST Detective Story...., November 25, 2002
By 
Daniel V. Reilly (Upstate New York, United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Murder Mysteries (Hardcover)
I must have read Neil Gaiman's short story Murder Mysteries four or five times since I originally encountered it; It's been featured, and rightfully so, in many short story collections. It's one of Gaiman's best, most thought-provoking works, and since Gaiman is one of the best storytellers around, that's really saying something. P. Craig Russell is one of the masters of the comic book art form, and he especially excels at adaptations of fantasy, having previously done Wagner's Ring Cycle, Michael Moorcock's Elric, and numerous Oscar Wilde stories. Gaiman and Russell collaborated on what many consider to be the best issue of Gaiman's DC/Vertigo Sandman book, and Russell has adapted a few other Gaiman short stories (One Life, Furnished In Early Moorcock, and Only The End Of The World Again). Murder Mysteries stands as a high-water mark, in my opinion.
The story-within-a-story, told by a homeless man to a visiting Englishman in L.A., tells of the first murder ever: An Angel killed in "The Shining City"; Our homeless storyteller is in reality the Angel Raguel, the vengeance of "The Name" (God). Raguel becomes, in effect, the first Detective, attempting to discover a motive that can lead to bringing the killer to justice.
Gaiman's story works on many levels, and I have to say that as much as I loved the prose short story, the ending has always left me vaguely puzzled; It's a very involved and thought-provoking piece, and I often find myself thinking about the ending. Russell's adaptation went a long way towards making that ambiguous ending more clear. It turns out I was on the right track, but Russell's visuals make the ending more visceral and powerful.
Murder Mysteries is presented in a gorgeous hardcover format, much the same as Dark Horse's previous Gaiman/ John Bolton book, Harlequin Valentine. This is a must read for all fans of Horror/Fantasy, as well as lovers of beautiful art. It deserves as wide an audience as possible. Give it a try, and spread the word.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Painfully exquisite, February 17, 2004
This review is from: Murder Mysteries (Hardcover)
Combine Colderidge's "Rime of the Ancient Mariner" with Raymond Chandler and all the mystery and promise in the spaces between the words, "The world was without form and void," and you have Murder Mystery. An old man tells a story to a younger stranger in Los Angeles. The investigator of heaven is called to the scene of the very first murder, one in heaven long before Cain & Abel.
The story is divinely erotic and eloquently woven with a master's hand. The illustrations complement perfectly and entrance with their powerful delicacy. This is a must have for anyone interested in a theological or simply intriguing graphic novel.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Story, and a Fascinating View into How a Graphic Novel is Designed, March 1, 2014
By 
Pop Bop "Pause and Reflect" (Denver, Colorado, United States) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
First, some housekeeping. This is the graphic novel version of Neil Gaiman's short story "Murder Mysteries". As of this writing, the Amazon site mixes up a number of different versions. One version is a "Play for Voices", published in 2011 and illustrated by George Walker; (cover is a skeleton on a black background). Another version was illustrated by P. Craig Russell, but it came out in 1998 and is not the new expanded version; (cover is white feathers on a blue background). All reviews up to now relate to this edition.

The edition you will want is to be released May 27, 2014, and is also illustrated and basically written, (from Gaiman's story and with Gaiman's complete collaboration), by P. Craig Russell; (cover is yellowish, with a Victorian/Maxfield Parrish vibe). Apart from being sharp and complete, this edition has an extended interview with Russell in which he explains his creative process and points out and illustrates many details regarding the design decisions he made while laying out and drawing the book. Even if you have only a passing interest in graphic novels this extended interview is rich, detailed, bullcrap free, and fascinating, and will leave you with a heightened appreciation of what illustrators do and how they do it.

As to the story, the reviews of the older editions pretty much say it all, and are so insightful and helpful they are worth a quick view. This is one of Gaiman's tightest and yet most complex stories, and it is rendered marvelously well here. If you want some Gaiman that's located in the middle ground between his straight mainstream prose works and his "Sandman" style works, this is a great place to start.

A very happy and satisfying find for Gaiman fans or newbies, and a wonderful intro to the world of graphic novels.

Please note that I received a free advance ecopy of the new 2014 edition of this book in exchange for a candid review. Apart from that I have no connection at all to either the author or the publisher of this book.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Neil Gamian Classic, January 27, 2004
By 
Jose Mari D. Cortes (Antipolo, Rizal Philippines) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Murder Mysteries (Hardcover)
This book blew me away. It had all the elements of a great story and the art was spectacular. It gets me thinking, and responding to the characters, even after I put the book down.
Great work!
By the way, Neil is not the illustrator.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An incredible illumination of a Great Short Story, October 13, 2002
By 
Jack Baur (Eugene, OR United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Murder Mysteries (Hardcover)
Mever before have I encountered a work in which a transfer to a different medium has so enriched it (except perhaps the book Fight Club to the movie Fight Club). This has always been one of my favorite Neil Gaiman short stories, I have read and re-read it many times in the seven or eight years since I first read it, I have made innumerable other people read it and I have discussed it repeatedly. However, Russell's illustrations brought out and made evident an entirely new facet of the story that I have never realized, what is in fact the true Murder Mystery of the title! This story has been blown wide open for me, on what must have been the dozenth or so read, and I have since forced others to revisit it and make the same revelation. This translation, this new revelation, makes further testament to Gaiman's gift as a storyteller. Russell is not, in my mind, the ideal person to have done this project, I would have gone with somebody with a darker style. Still, this is a terriffic read, even if, and especially if, like me, you have known the story for a long time. I promise, it will change the way you see it.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stark, beautiful graphic novel, January 19, 2003
By 
G. Young (Jamaica Plain, MA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Murder Mysteries (Hardcover)
Once again, Neil Gaiman has reinvented the thinking man's comic book. Murder Mysteries is the tale of the world's first crime of passion. Gaiman's intelligent prose and keen eye for conversation is perfectly woven with P. Craig Russell's fabulous visual art. This story is simple enough for high school students to read, but compelling (and short) enough to steal an hour of anybody's day.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A mystery not solved, but resolved, October 3, 2007
This review is from: Murder Mysteries (Hardcover)
Two of the best things that can happen to a comic are to have Gaiman write it and Russell illustrate it. The combination emerges as a wonderful, haunting story. It imagines Lucifer's fall from heaven - a baffling rebellion, unless some specific needs to be rebelled against. And, with an all-powerful god, even Lucifer's rejection of heaven must itself have been divinely ordained. This story posits wholly sufficient reason, a real theological thorn that irritates many mere mortals, and a Macchiavellian orchestration of Lucifer's departure.

This isn't bible-thumping, though. It's story-telling, the kind where elegant images set off a thoughtful, thought-provoking myth. Along the way, it reminds us that the age of myths isn't over. Our own age needs to understand itself through fiction as much as any other ever did, and Gaiman and Russell contribute to that understanding.

-- wiredweird
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great adaptation of classic Neil Gaiman short story, July 10, 2002
By 
L. Dimen "ldimen" (Pasadena, CA United States) - See all my reviews
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Murder Mysteries (Hardcover)
This is a graphic adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Murder Mysteries by P. Craig Russell. First of all, you can't go wrong with the story which is an investigation of the first murder(not Earth, the universe). Terrific art by Russell who also collaborated with Gaiman in a Sandman/Morpheus story. I recommend this to everyone, especially to the Sandman fans out there.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love and death and guilt and debts owed . . ., October 19, 2005
This review is from: Murder Mysteries (Hardcover)
Well, the artwork in this graphic novel isn't much, but you can depend on Gaiman for a first-rate, thoughtful, intriguing story. The narrator (presumably Gaiman) was in Los Angeles a decade ago, still young, less innocent than now, when he got together very briefly with a woman named Tinkerbell whom he had met in London. After they part, he meets an old man, a semi-bum, on the street who cadges a smoke and pays him back by telling a story, . . . about the Creation and angels and the murder of one of them, and the investigation into the case by Raguel (who is the old man, of course). But it's not as simple as that. If God made everything and controls everything, then He was ultimately responsible for the victim's death, right? And why? The recursive nature of the story is fascinating and the ending is just vague enough to make you rethink the first part of the story. A terrific piece of work.
(10/18/05)
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4.0 out of 5 stars Mysterious ways, September 27, 2010
This review is from: Murder Mysteries (Hardcover)
At the beginning of Creation, an angel is murdered and Raguel, the Vengeance of the Lord, is sent to discover the culprit. Meanwhile Lucifer, his presence at the crime scene unaccounted for, walks in the shadows as he contemplates Creation and God's ultimate purpose.

I loved the way Gaiman wrote the character of Lucifer. Here he seems much more compelling and interesting a character with the way he tries to understand God's designs and uses his head, rather than the pure evil version many Christians choose to believe in.

The misdirection as to the murderer's identity is a nice addition to the story and a nod to the genre it is written in. It keeps the reader guessing until the reveal at the end. Even then though, the murder mystery solved, the real mystery - God's plans - remain obscured. It's this that is the true mystery. Why would God create evil? Why would God not destroy Lucifer since he has the power to? We never find out.

The framing device is clever and adds another twist to the ending. It makes you appreciate what an accomplished writer Gaiman is that he never lets up with an ending. Just when you feel that he can stop, that he's tied up the loose ends, he keeps going and takes the story to a different place where you're completely surprised again.

Despite this being one of Gaiman's best short stories, it's translated very well into comics form by the masterful P. Craig Russell. His beautiful artwork brings the angels to life and gives you breathtaking visions of Creation. He also does a wonderful job of drawing Death. No, not the skeleton in a black cowl with a scythe, but the concept of Death. Very imaginative, Russell's drawing abilities matches Gaiman's writing and imagination perfectly.

One of the finest of this series of Gaiman adapted comic books, and a brilliant standalone comic book for those who are put off by ordinary prose, "Murder Mysteries" is a fantastic read and will hold your attention from the first page to the last.
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Murder Mysteries (2nd edition)
Murder Mysteries (2nd edition) by Neil Gaiman (Hardcover - May 20, 2014)
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