WINTER'S CRIMES 13 by George--Ed. Hardinge


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A middling entry in this highly erratic series from Britain--with no thoroughgoing winners among the eleven new stories here. James McClure's ""Privacy for Bernadette"" is the undeniable standout: a ghastly, if not quite credible, tale of mercy-killing from the victim's viewpoint--a victim, in this case, who has homicidal urges of her own despite near-total paralysis. H. R. F. Keating's Mrs. Craggs, that cleaning-lady supreme (cf. John Creasey's Crime Collection, 1981, p. 1430), finds employment--and a lovely dab of comedy--at the London Times' obit department. And a few others, though less fresh, are certainly sturdy: a neat Elizabeth (E. X.) Ferrars blend of blackmail, murder, coverup, and double-cross; adulterous murder-triangles from Lionel Davidson and John Wainwright; and a Brother Cadfael tale from Ellis Peters. But nearly half of these stories are below Winter's Crimes par: Colin Dexter (of the fine Inspector Morse series) attempts a tough-talking-American style--which US readers will find laughable/painful; Desmond Lowden, conversely, makes a weird tale more obscure with heavy UK dialect; Miles Tripp goes limply occult with a dog ghost; and both Jennie Melville and Margaret Yorke indulge in crude psychopathology. AH in all, then, a so-so group--passable or skippable, depending on one's fondness for crime stories, British-style.

Pub Date: March 30th, 1982
Publisher: St. Martin's