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The Mammoth Book of Historical Crime Fiction (Mammoth Books)

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Our dark past brought to life by leading contemporary crime writers. A new generation of crime writers has broadened the genre of crime fiction, creating more human stories of historical realism, with a stronger emphasis on character and the psychology of crime. This superb anthology of 12 novellas encompasses over 4,000 years of our dark, criminal past, from Bronze Age Br Our dark past brought to life by leading contemporary crime writers. A new generation of crime writers has broadened the genre of crime fiction, creating more human stories of historical realism, with a stronger emphasis on character and the psychology of crime. This superb anthology of 12 novellas encompasses over 4,000 years of our dark, criminal past, from Bronze Age Britain to the eve of the Second World War, with stories set in ancient Greece, Rome, the Byzantine Empire, medieval Venice, seventh-century Ireland and 1930s' New York. A Byzantine icon painter, suddenly out of work when icons are banned, becomes embroiled in a case of deception; Charles Babbage and the young Ada Byron try to crack a coded message and stop a master criminal; and, New York detectives are on the lookout for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It includes: Deirdre Counihan, Tom Holt, Dorothy Lumley, Richard A. Lupoff, Maan Meyers, Ian Morson, Anne Perry, Tony Pollard, Mary Reed and Eric Mayer, Steven Saylor, Charles Todd, Peter Tremayne


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Our dark past brought to life by leading contemporary crime writers. A new generation of crime writers has broadened the genre of crime fiction, creating more human stories of historical realism, with a stronger emphasis on character and the psychology of crime. This superb anthology of 12 novellas encompasses over 4,000 years of our dark, criminal past, from Bronze Age Br Our dark past brought to life by leading contemporary crime writers. A new generation of crime writers has broadened the genre of crime fiction, creating more human stories of historical realism, with a stronger emphasis on character and the psychology of crime. This superb anthology of 12 novellas encompasses over 4,000 years of our dark, criminal past, from Bronze Age Britain to the eve of the Second World War, with stories set in ancient Greece, Rome, the Byzantine Empire, medieval Venice, seventh-century Ireland and 1930s' New York. A Byzantine icon painter, suddenly out of work when icons are banned, becomes embroiled in a case of deception; Charles Babbage and the young Ada Byron try to crack a coded message and stop a master criminal; and, New York detectives are on the lookout for Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. It includes: Deirdre Counihan, Tom Holt, Dorothy Lumley, Richard A. Lupoff, Maan Meyers, Ian Morson, Anne Perry, Tony Pollard, Mary Reed and Eric Mayer, Steven Saylor, Charles Todd, Peter Tremayne

56 review for The Mammoth Book of Historical Crime Fiction (Mammoth Books)

  1. 4 out of 5

    Deanne

    A mixed bag of good and bad stories.

  2. 4 out of 5

    F. P.

    Taking this story by story: 1. Archimedes: entertaining, but easily solved mystery... There is a suspect, of sorts, we are encouraged to overlook. Too obvious. 2. Something to Do With Diana: again, obvious, easily solved. Sense of time, place relatively well maintained; slow-paced, lot of build-up establishing setting, period 3. Eyes of the Icon: Fairly-well paced; setting fairly well established; outcome predictable 4. Night of the Snow Wolf: best to that point; setting, period reasonably well asse Taking this story by story: 1. Archimedes: entertaining, but easily solved mystery... There is a suspect, of sorts, we are encouraged to overlook. Too obvious. 2. Something to Do With Diana: again, obvious, easily solved. Sense of time, place relatively well maintained; slow-paced, lot of build-up establishing setting, period 3. Eyes of the Icon: Fairly-well paced; setting fairly well established; outcome predictable 4. Night of the Snow Wolf: best to that point; setting, period reasonably well asserted; outcome predictable, but entertaining 5. Jettisoned: confusing, boring; period not well-established; characters' modern language, expressions, behavior make them anachronistic; they don't feel at all part of the period; annoying things, too, like author's occasional use of one word when she means another, over-using trite adjectives like 'sun-kissed' and inventing silly ones like 'bee-hummingly.' She is a dreadful writer. The period here seems immaterial. 6. A Fiery Death: better. The characters seem a bit more at home in the period (a bit). The period is nort paricularly well-established, though. Nothing concrete or especially evocative. The mystery, as such, has a rather obvious outcome. 7. Hide and Seek: the best to this point;period more strongly developed; characters at home, less anachronistic than others; no mystery, but an engaging story 8: The Fourth Quadrant: This one had me do a quick brush-up on Byron, his ex-wife and their daughter. Not bad overall, though an odd amount of attention paid to Ada's wardrobe. Overwritten at points, but characters seemed to fit their time and the period was relatively well evoked. 9: Miss Brodie and the Regrettable Incident: Ugh. Reads like a child's adventure story. Insipid, silly plot that to some degreee remains unresolved. 10. Forty Morgan Silver Dollars: Too many changes of POV makes this one really hard to get into and hard to stay in when you're jolted out of it every couple pages; constantly changing POV characters is an extremely annoying device; obvious outcome,too, no surprise 11. Trafalgar: a traditional who-dunnit; the who is rather obvious, but a fun read with characters that fit the piece; ending a bit melodramatic 12. Dead of Winter:a pastiche is one thing, but boy... Read the real thing and pick up Rex Stout and Nero Wolfe. Major flaws in most of these stories are poorly realized periods, characters who are simply too modern,out of the proper time and place. Most characters seem as though they have travelled through time rather than actually living in and inhabiting the alleged period. Weak, transparent plots. Hovered between two and three stars, but have landed on two...

  3. 4 out of 5

    Malachi Antal

    having Hiero of Syracuse (Siracusa) and Archimedes in the same short story is awesome. interesting premise only doubtworthy the Romans might've sent investigative consuls on a murder of a Roman in conquered Sicilian-Greek town . reminiscent of Tarento episode when three Greeks over three days got roaring drunk . then the house felt like rocking to their inebriated senses. So, the Greeks tossed out belongings, furniture, lyres, outside window (since they were a maritime people) , a passing Roman having Hiero of Syracuse (Siracusa) and Archimedes in the same short story is awesome. interesting premise only doubtworthy the Romans might've sent investigative consuls on a murder of a Roman in conquered Sicilian-Greek town . reminiscent of Tarento episode when three Greeks over three days got roaring drunk . then the house felt like rocking to their inebriated senses. So, the Greeks tossed out belongings, furniture, lyres, outside window (since they were a maritime people) , a passing Roman consul pelted with refuse . when Roman protested the youths produced their own skubala and tossed into the Roman's face . this started a war in the ancient world . short story Something to do with Diana utilized the first-person point of view for tale set in Ephesus the same where enraged idol-makers roused crowds to shout "Great is Diana of the Ephesians," in the New Testament. Mithridates of Pontus the poison king is mentioned as a counter foil to the expansionist Romans gobbling the Greek city-states. character of worldly coquette evidenced by Amestris mocking, "Venus? Ah, yes, that's the name you Romans give to Aphrodite. And when did you put on your manly toga?" "A year ago. When I turned seventeen." "I see. Then I suppose you must be due to experience the pleasures of Venus any day now." 'I didn't know what to say. Was she making fun of me?' Night of the Snow Wolf is one of the better mysteries written in this mammoth book of historical crime fiction. Jettisoned sets stage of moment in-between stone age Britain transitioning into Bronze Age Britain with the father of the lad a classic Phœnician prototype. A Fiery Death has plenty of twists in the short story set in Venetian lagoons and islets of Venice aft Marco Polo's adventures in Kublai Khan's Yuan Dynasty. The setup of conspirators in rival doges is accurate from the historical byzantine diplomacy of Venice internal and, external . this makes tale plausible. details wordsmithery like, 'the Tartar bow .. it had not been strung for more than thirty years, and he had been afraid the horn would crack if he tested it too far. He now dropped the bow on the floor, and pulled an arrow from the quiver at his side. It was a three-foot long arrow with a tip that had been plunged in salt water when red-hot, to render it armour-piercing. He twirled it in his fingers, ..' 'A large black stone lay on the rickety table. Sharp and angular, the old man had seen others like it being set fire to and burning with a fierce flame. He could not remember which part of Cathay he had got it from, and had always refrained from setting light to it himself.' reminiscent of grenado early Knights Templar gunpowder explosive found in Acre (Acco) Israel. short story Hide and Seek by Tony Pollard is classic one set in religious animosity betwixt Catholic versus Protestant in the buccaneering 1600s akin to violence betwixt Sunni versus Shi'ite of the present. The Gunpowder Plot of 1605 is the setting of this thriller: 'Like dogs pursuing a fox's scent, they knew where best to look inside a house and how to recognize the tell-tale signs that a priest was hiding behind what to the uninitiated appeared to be a wall devoid of aperture, or a fireplace with nothing more than a fire in the grate.' keeps readership guessing who(m) is the expendable monkey's paw to pull chestnuts from the fire . short story The Fourth Quadrant is fascinating with the notorious Rookeries and the class (caste) system in England. early example of the filth busting up unionists in the united kingdom . authors even threw in Lady Ada Byron a relation of Lord Byron credited with development of computer, if, Greek industry from classical antiquity is forgotten. madeira wine is a good choice in the swashbuckling 1800s a favorite of Napoleon Bonaparte and, colonial British America and the recently independent United States of America. Hieroglyphs cipher is a good monkey wrench tossed into story. Brodie and the Regrettable Incident is nice change of pace since the heroine and hero are servants. Forty Morgan Silver Dollars favourite short story since the era close enough to be in modern era even if transitioning from horsecarriages to locomotives. has the notorious Pinkertons detective agency wrote their own ticket ; names Dutch and Butch Cassidy are distinctive enough even, if, rhyme. 'Pinky had several equalizers: a wooden box on which stood when behind the bar; a shillelagh — his weapon of choice at any time during the course of an evening in the tavern and elsewhere — when and where needed.' reminiscent of Norm's pub on Turtle Mountain Amerindian reservation where heavy wooden club kept under mahogany bar for situations barkeeps create themselves. having Butch Cassidy, & the Sundance Kid in short story with Etta Place is excellent historical background. Trafalgar ; Dead of Winter, each have their own charms.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Zoe Radley

    I have given this collection of short stories 3/5 because though the first few were brilliantly written and well thought out the later especially Dorothy Lumley’s fourth quadrant and the last dead of winter by Richard A Lupoff were tedious horrendous in its plot and completely absurd in its detectives. So 3/5 for me

  5. 5 out of 5

    Filip

    As it is with all anthologies: some were good, some were decent, some were average, some were really poor. I knew few of the authors and I liked a couple of stories enough to search for their authors and add them to my to-read list. So there's that. I think I need a break from historical fiction for a moment. As it is with all anthologies: some were good, some were decent, some were average, some were really poor. I knew few of the authors and I liked a couple of stories enough to search for their authors and add them to my to-read list. So there's that. I think I need a break from historical fiction for a moment.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Xandi

    This was an okay read. Honestly I skipped though a couple of the stories that didn't hold my interest after several pages, but there were some that I really enjoyed. A good way to get exposed to mystery writers I'm not already familiar with. This was an okay read. Honestly I skipped though a couple of the stories that didn't hold my interest after several pages, but there were some that I really enjoyed. A good way to get exposed to mystery writers I'm not already familiar with.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Miranda

    A few decent stories, but mostly bad ones unfortunately. My favourite was The Fourth Quadrant.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Alison C

    The Mammoth Book of Historical Crime Fiction, edited by Mike Ashley, is a 2011 collection of 12 novellas set in varying historical and even prehistorical periods, ranging from Bronze-Age Britain ("Jettisoned," by Deirdre Counihan) to 1930s New York City (Richard A. Lupoff's Nero Wolfe pastiche, "Dead of Winter") with many stops in time and place along the way. All but one of these was written specifically for this anthology; Anne Perry's "Brodie and the Regrettable Incident" is the only one not The Mammoth Book of Historical Crime Fiction, edited by Mike Ashley, is a 2011 collection of 12 novellas set in varying historical and even prehistorical periods, ranging from Bronze-Age Britain ("Jettisoned," by Deirdre Counihan) to 1930s New York City (Richard A. Lupoff's Nero Wolfe pastiche, "Dead of Winter") with many stops in time and place along the way. All but one of these was written specifically for this anthology; Anne Perry's "Brodie and the Regrettable Incident" is the only one not in that category, having been published in another anthology in 1998, and as it happens is one of my favourites in this collection. Some stories feature characters well-known from other books, such as the young Gordianus the Finder in Steven Saylor's "Something to do with Diana," Peter Tremayne's 7th Century Irish lawyer-equivalent Fidelma in "Night of the Snow Wolf," or Inspector Rutledge of Scotland Yard, a veteran of the Great War complete with shell shock and the voice of a ghost, in Charles Todd's "Trafalgar." Other authors include Tom Holt, Mary Reed and Eric Mayer, Ian Morson, Tony Pollard, Dorothy Lumley and Maan Meyers. As ever with anthologies, some stories work better for me than others, but only the Meyers one ("Forty Morgan Silver Dollars"), set in New York City in approximately 1900 and featuring Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, didn't work for me at all; the rest were all quite enjoyable and, in the case of the Lupoff, quite funny too; plus I could also wish for more of Brodie from Anne Perry, thank you very much! If you like historical mysteries, this is an excellent sampler of some of the best practitioners working in the field today; recommended.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Lois Hecksel

    The Mammoth Book of Historical Crime Fiction, edited by Mike Ashley, contains 12 novellas covering time from the British Bronze Age to WWII and set in a variety of countries. As expected, the quality of the story varied from author to author. One's interest in a given time period or place of mystery would also affect a reader's rating. Some of the best practitioners working in the field today are represented, while others were unknown to me. Worth a read - if a story is disliked, a reader can me The Mammoth Book of Historical Crime Fiction, edited by Mike Ashley, contains 12 novellas covering time from the British Bronze Age to WWII and set in a variety of countries. As expected, the quality of the story varied from author to author. One's interest in a given time period or place of mystery would also affect a reader's rating. Some of the best practitioners working in the field today are represented, while others were unknown to me. Worth a read - if a story is disliked, a reader can merely skip to the next novella.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Heather Gold

    This took me 4 months to read which is not normal for me, but I can't not finish a book. 3 1/2 months was getting through the first 3 stories. After that a little quicker and then the last 5 stories I flew through This took me 4 months to read which is not normal for me, but I can't not finish a book. 3 1/2 months was getting through the first 3 stories. After that a little quicker and then the last 5 stories I flew through

  11. 5 out of 5

    D

    Some stories better than others. Wasn't really fond of the Bronze Age one, but really liked the Anne Perry one. Some stories better than others. Wasn't really fond of the Bronze Age one, but really liked the Anne Perry one.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Jim McIntosh

    Nice collection of historical crime fiction spanning from the Bronze Age to the recent past.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dide Ciyiltepe

  14. 5 out of 5

    Kenny

  15. 4 out of 5

    T. Hester

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kathy

  17. 5 out of 5

    Rachael Holter

  18. 5 out of 5

    Keith Currie

  19. 5 out of 5

    Kirsty

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emilia Brusin

  21. 4 out of 5

    Hebah

  22. 5 out of 5

    Carys Lester

  23. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany Dawn

  24. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  25. 4 out of 5

    John Mead

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cyber

  27. 5 out of 5

    T.E.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Anna

  29. 5 out of 5

    Nikolay

  30. 4 out of 5

    Diana

  31. 4 out of 5

    Joe

  32. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

  33. 5 out of 5

    Midu Hadi

  34. 4 out of 5

    PurplyCookie

  35. 5 out of 5

    Griselda

  36. 5 out of 5

    Jillian

  37. 4 out of 5

    Matt

  38. 5 out of 5

    Shaelt

  39. 4 out of 5

    Antica

  40. 4 out of 5

    Lychee

  41. 5 out of 5

    Dorian

  42. 5 out of 5

    Caro

  43. 5 out of 5

    Carol

  44. 4 out of 5

    Gmoney.gold

  45. 4 out of 5

    Michel

  46. 4 out of 5

    Cayla

  47. 4 out of 5

    K

  48. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

  49. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie

  50. 5 out of 5

    Diane

  51. 5 out of 5

    Deepak Kumar

  52. 4 out of 5

    Marc-Andre

  53. 5 out of 5

    Paige

  54. 4 out of 5

    Bretton

  55. 5 out of 5

    Katie V

  56. 5 out of 5

    Bev

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