Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Who Knew There Could Be So Many MOTIVES FOR MURDER?

MOTIVES FOR MURDER: A Celebration of Peter Lovesey on His 80th Birthday by Members of the Detection Club.
Edited and Introduction by Martin Edwards (born 1955). Foreword by Len Deighton (born 1929). Afterword by Peter Lovesey (born 1936).
317 pages. Short story anthology (19 stories + 1 poem, all original).
For sale (HERE).
Popular crime fiction writer Peter Lovesey recently turned eighty, a notable achievement in itself, and twenty of his friends at the Detection Club got together to produce this Festschrift in his honor. Editor Martin Edwards's choice of selections is worthy of commendation, while Douglas Greene at Crippen & Landru has done his usual fine job assembling it all into a coherent whole.

Some of the resulting stories knowingly reflect the milieus and characters that Lovesey 
has developed and explored over the years, the town of Bath and his historical mysteries especially so. Other tales by established authors, however, feature their own characters 
and settings, with sub-types running the gamut from domestic suspense to pure detection.

As varied as the stories are, though, there isn't a clunker in the bunch. As instances we 
can point to Catherine Aird's "The Walrus and the Spy," which involves espionage and the solution of a knotty cipher; L. C. Tyler's "The Trials of Margaret" is a black comedy pure and simple; Martin Edwards's "Murder and Its Motives" centers on bibliographical criminality; Michael Jecks's "Alive or Dead" plays with narrative time; John Malcolm's "The Marquis Wellington Jug" explores Lovejoy territory while Michael Ridpath's "The Super Recogniser 
of Vik" wanders poleward into Nordic Noir; Susan Moody's "A Village Affair" echoes Miss Marple, just as Kate Charles's "A Question of Identity" reflects Hitchcock.

For devotees of the Sage of Baker Street there's David Stuart Davies's featherweight "The Adventure of the Marie Antoinette Necklace: A Case for Sherlock Holmes"; while for fans 
of Peter Lovesey's Sergeant Cribb and Constable Thackeray there are David Roberts's inconclusive "Unfinished Business" and, better still, Kate Ellis's "The Mole Catcher's Daughter," with Thackeray's nephew performing some simple but effective sleuthing; and finally our favorite, Andrew Taylor's unpredictable "The False Inspector Lovesey," with its delightfully spunky narrator leading us down the garden path.
   "Introduction" by Martin Edwards
   "Foreword" by Len Deighton

   (1) "The Reckoning of Sins" by Alison Joseph:
       "It must have taken a minute, to grab her wrists, a struggle, a push. And she was gone."

   (2) "The False Inspector Lovesey" by Andrew Taylor:
       "I didn't bother to count the money. I just sat there, looking at the banknotes, enjoying them, and feeling the happiness rise up inside me like a warm, pink cloud."

   (3) "Dreaming of Rain and Peter Lovesey" by Ann Cleeves:
       "All this bloody fuss about a bit of rain."

   (4) "The Walrus and the Spy" by Catherine Aird:
       "What's the walrus got to do with it?"

   (5) "Unfinished Business" by David Roberts:
       "Blade on the feather, shade off the trees. Swing, swing together, with your bodies between your knees."

   (6) "The Adventure of the Marie Antoinette Necklace: A Case for Sherlock Holmes" by David Stuart Davies:
       "It seems I have been outwitted by the old fox."

   (7) "An End in Bath" by Janet Laurence:
       "I'm sure Rod wouldn't have harmed him. It was probably a fox."

   (8) "The Marquis Wellington Jug" by John Malcolm:
       "There'll be a dented car with forensics locked away somewhere."

   (9) "A Question of Identity" by Kate Charles:
       "But I would be . . . free. Free as a bird."

   (10) "The Mole Catcher's Daughter" by Kate Ellis:
        "Something strange is going on."

   (11) "The Trials of Margaret" by L. C. Tyler:
        "There were clearly things that she hadn't thought through as well as she might, including what to do with the body."

   (12) "Ghost Station" by Liza Cody:
        "The scarlet essence of a victim had slid, unresisting, into a gutter outside a bookshop in a tourist town where nothing happened."

   (13) "The Suffragette's Tale" by Marjorie Eccles:
        "You have a good aim, Miss Daventry, and good eyesight, I dare say, but not that good."

   (14) "Murder and Its Motives" by Martin Edwards:
        "If I were to save him, I needed to be more subtle. I would try to understand something about murder, and the psychology of people who committed it."

   (15) "Alive or Dead" by Michael Jecks:
        "The excitement, the adrenalin, they could make him miss his mark and screw up. No chance he could do that today. This must be absolutely perfect."

   (16) "The Right Thing" by Michael Z. Lewin:
        "I've spent far too much of my school career trying to live my family down. I'm going to embrace my inner detective."

   (17) "The Super Recognizer of Vik" by Michael Ridpath:
        "He needed to be taught a lesson, if we could only find him."

   (18) "Digging Deep" by Ruth Dudley Edwards:
        "It was what he would have wanted."

   (19) "A Sonnet for Peter Lovesey" by Simon Brett:
        "Praise? Praise for Peter Lovesey's always due."

   (20) "A Village Affair" by Susan Moody:
        "Why would you think one of your closest friends might be a murderer, for goodness sake?"

AFTERWORD: "Spies, Superheroes and Stolen Goods: Peter Lovesey's Memories of the Detection Club in the 1970s":
   "Despite the potential for discord, Detection Club evenings were friendly to a fault, even at the more formal dinners when we couldn't choose who we sat with."


- Another Detection Club anthology published by Crippen & Landru, this one edited by the birthday boy himself, is The Verdict of Us All (2006), in honor of H. R. F. Keating (1926-2011); go (HERE) for more.
- Martin Edwards's entertaining history of the Detection Club, The Golden Age of Murder (2015), is available in hardcover, paperback, or Kindle (HERE).

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