From Publishers Weekly
British author James (Wolves of Memories) creates such memorable characters in his full-length mystery novels about Det. Chief Constable Colin Harpur and his immediate superior, Asst. Chief Constable Desmond Iles, who work in an unnamed British city north of London, that they quickly come alive even in short stories. This collection contains three new Harpur & Iles tales, plus a couple of previously published adaptations from novels, reprints of several stories about other characters, even a short, tone-setting poem. All are literate, often jaunty, always interesting examples of the work of a first-rate author. Fans will enjoy reading the more delicious passages aloud. (Nov.)
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James' reputation as a mystery writer with a notably dark sense of humor derives mainly from his Harpur and Iles series. In these 15 short stories, he shows that he needs neither his familiar heroes nor the novel's length to deliver quality crime fiction. There are three new Harpur and Iles tales here, but in the other dozen entries, James' versatility is on display. Perhaps the funniest of the lot is "Elsewhere," in which a ringing telephone plays a pivotal role in a lonely man's sexual success. "Emergency Services" features a bright, young policewoman who is as cynical as, say, Michael Connelly's Harry Bosch. James' sinister side is on display in "War Crimes," in which a World War II love triangle leads to brutal murder. An outstanding collection for anyone who values the crime short story. Emily Melton
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