Capital Crimes – London Mysteries: Martin Edwards

I fancied some fiction that I could dip in and out of with relative ease. I’ve always been a fan of crime fiction and shows such as Midsomer Murders (call me an old fogey) so this book, edited by Martin Edwards, jumped out at me as it was advertised as a ‘British Library Crime Classics’. The premise of the book is that of a collection of short stories using the setting of London as a backdrop for various crime stories. The book features contributions from writers such Arthur Conan Doyle, Anthony Berkeley and Margery Allingham.

Martin Edwards, an award winning author of various crime novelists, compiled this book with the ambition of rediscovering classic crime authors whilst also bringing to light less famous authors. I found ‘The Silver Mask’ by Hugh Walpole a particularly chilling tale, mainly because the story itself could quite easily happen, and the fate of the central character comes about through no fault of her own due to her trusting nature. However, most of the stories were relatively tame so there was nothing too horrifying. They stretched the brain though, as Edwards has included a couple of good who-dunnits.

This is a good book to pick up now and again. I read most of it on a plane, so that I was able to alternate between reading, sleeping and listening to music. I’ll be honest, there’s nothing massively gripping about this book. This may be more due to my lack of experience with short stories. The selling point for me when picking up Capital Crimes was its London-centric nature. The city itself has always fascinated me,  maybe it is something to do with having grown up in the countryside. London becomes an excellent backdrop for crime, especially as most have used the nineteenth century period.


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