OxCrimes Anthology 2014 - Part 1










The Case of Death and Honey by Neil Gaiman

It was a mystery in those parts for years what had happened to the old white ghost man, the barbarian with his huge shoulder-bag. There were some who supposed him to have been murdered, and, later, they dug up the floor of Old Gao’s little shack high on the hillside, looking for treasure, but they found nothing but ash and fire-blackened tin trays.

This was after Old Gao himself had vanished, you understand, and before his son came back from Lijiang to take over the beehives on the hill.







Face Value by Stella Duffy

I was dressed up, made up, designed-up, covered-up to look exactly like all of the the girls. The girls who directed you to the entrance, who offered you a drink, who handed you the catalogue, who scuttled back and forth along the street, up the stairs, to the walls where they placed those lovely lovely red dots. I looked just like one of them.


See? I told you it was not about me.







observations: On Tuesday night, the new OxCrimes Anthology was launched in London, at Henry Sotheran, a rare-book-dealers near Piccadilly. A party in a bookshop! What could be nicer, especially as the shop is so beautiful and perfect it looks like a stageset. I was lucky enough to score an invite, went along, and had a great time. I even took some photos.

The anthology is a dreamteam of fabulous writers: you can find more details on the Oxfam website here and at Profile, the publishers, here.The 27 authors include Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, Alexander McCall Smith, Fred Vargas, Adrian McKinty and George Pelecanos. All genres covered, and all great stories, nearly all of them specially written for the book.

So: basically, try and buy it if you can. Great stories, and I promise you that the money raised for Oxfam could not be going to a better cause, it will be used for the very best purposes.  You can buy it in all the usual places, you can get it for Kindle, and it is available for Kindle in the USA. If you buy the paperback from your local Oxfam shop in the UK, more of the money goes to Oxfam...


It’s hard to pick favourites when the book is so good, but I did love Neil Gaiman’s story of Sherlock Holmes and bees, perfection. And Stella Duffy’s creepy story about an installation artist was another winner – making you think about all kinds of artists and their work. I’ll do another entry on more of the stories in a few days’ time.



This picture gives a good impression of the lovely shop, and features authors such as Christopher Fowler, Maxim Jakubowski and Anne Zouroudi, and also Sian Williams, who translates Fred Vargas (amongst others).

Sherlock Holmes might easily be looking at bees in the top picture, by the classic Holmes illustrator Sidney Paget. The second one is an American sculptor, Brenda Putnam, from the Smithsonian.

Holmes appeared in this entry with Irene Adler, and a photo of Sidney Paget himself appeared in the entry for this Holmes pastiche. More worrying artists in Claire Messud’s book, The Woman Upstairs.

Comments

  1. Sounds a great book and event and its something I'll consider buying when I cross paths with it. From the author names on the cover - I have read and enjoyed over half of them.

    I'm conflicted when I think of large charities and the amount they pay their executives though. But there is the balancing argument that paying those types of salaries attracts administrators of a certain calibre that ultimately proves successful for the charity operating efficiently and raising more money.
    (Lifted from an article in the Telegraph......In a statement, Oxfam said Lady Stocking was due to paid £119,560 in 2012/13 - which means that her pay increased by 19 per cent from £100,008 in 2009/10 "which is in the lower quartile of what other large charities paid for their chief executives".)

    Maybe I'm feeling grumpy today.

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    1. I understand your point, but then also Oxfam is a world-stage, huge organization and needs good leadership, and the people who work there have families and houses and bills like the rest of us - I am glad they are paid properly! I adopted Oxfam a long time ago, after checking out their financial details as far as possible, and have faith in them. The percentage of money that goes on admin is tiny....

      And you'll definitely like some of the stories in the book!

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    2. Ok, I have cheered up now, so excuse the rant earlier<

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    3. From the Oxfam website:
      "This suggests our chief executive could expect to earn at least £75,000 more for a comparable job in the private sector."
      Col it is enough to make anyone grumpy. ;-)

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    4. Uriah - I think you're trying to get me in a bad mood again, just in time for the weekend!

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    5. I can tell that secretly you are both full of goodwill to all....

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  2. Moira - I'm so excited for the release of this anthology! And it is for a very good cause of course. I'm planning to savour every word of it so I'm happy that the glimpses you've offered are so tempting.

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    1. It's so nice to think that reading some great stories is going to contribute to a good cause, isn't it?

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  3. It will be available here in February of next year. Since I am not a great fan of short stories, I can wait that long. Many interesting authors there that I would like to sample, and I have been planning to read more short stories bit by bit.

    That does look like a wonderful shop, but almost any bookstore is attractive to me.

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    1. I'm not a big fan of short stories, but it was a great chance to try out some authors I hadn't read before, before deciding to chance a full-length book.

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  4. In the words of Oscar Levant, a great night for envy! Well done Moira, sounds great.

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    1. Thanks Sergio, it was a great night out.

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  5. I agree with the sentiment about not being a fan of short stories, but this anthology will introduce us to new-to-us writers.

    Also, if buying the book helps this worthy cause, another plus. I wish groups like this in the States would offer new mystery anthologies!

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    1. Exactly my sentiments Kathy - I like the idea of trying out new writers without having to commit to a whole book, and contributing to a good cause too.

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  6. I just read the Neil Gaiman story in this book and loved it. Of course I have little experience with Sherlock (one Conan Doyle short story, one Laurie King book, two tv series, and a few movies) but I did like that short story a lot.

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    1. Yes me too. I've read a fair bit of Holmes, but not to compare with the real fanatics! And Gaiman to me always means the children's book Coraline, which I found terrifying - my children,of course, loved it.

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