FOGGY MOUNTAIN BREAKDOWN by Sharyn McCrumb

FOGGY MOUNTAIN BREAKDOWN

and Other Stories

KIRKUS REVIEW

 Not many mystery writers use story collections as crossover books, but McCrumb's versatility in novels as different as Zombies of the Gene Pool (1992) and The Rosewood Casket (1996) makes the transition here seem inevitable. Though most of the 24 tales take some form easily recognizable to McCrumb's large following--the elegiac southern memoir, the astringently ironic anecdote, the updated folktale--the forms themselves are whimsically diverse. The common thread certainly isn't mystery: There's only one orthodox whodunit (``Happiness Is a Dead Poet,'' a delicious tale of literary politics) and one coming-of-age story featuring McCrumb's regular sleuth, Elizabeth MacPherson- -but a sad sense of past oppression and injustice that, in the most characteristic stories (``The Luncheon,'' ``Gentle Reader,'' ``Not All Brides Are Beautiful''), curdles to civilized rage. No particular standouts--McCrumb really needs the novel length to shine--but a revealing sketchbook of two dozen tales exploring the quicksilver border between mystery and magic.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-345-41493-4
Page count: 336pp
Publisher: Ballantine
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 1997




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