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Tuesday 29 March 2022

‘Mystery in the Making’ by Ann Granger

Published by Headline,
9 December 2021.
ISBN: 978-1-4722-9018-2 (HB)

Despite the thousands of books I have read over the years I admit to never having read a book of short stories. This was no deliberate action on my part, in fact until I received a copy of Mystery in the Making, I wasn’t even aware of this deficiency in my reading life.  But having read and enjoyed all the many books I have read written by Ann Granger I decided to dip in.

In her introduction Ann explains the tricky business of creating a short story. As I read on, I realised that in fact the short story is very much for me, I am not one for masses of description, and have been known to skip pages when the author starts waxing lyrical about the surroundings – no room for that in the short story.

As the eighteen stories in Murder in the Making, span Ann’s thirty-plus years as a writer they range not only in period but also in style, in that some of the stories were originally written to be magazine serials which she says presented a few different challenges.  

This book is a gem, it offers the reader everything one could want in one volume of crime fiction tales in that of the eighteen stories four of them would class as novellas in that they are each around ninety plus pages.  Three of them feature the writer Emma Durrant, and each of these are split into five parts, clearly those that were written for magazine serials, with each part ending on a cliff-hanger.  Gosh! I would have been on the newsagent’s doorstep first thing every week to be sure of getting that next instalment.  But interestingly enough my favourite story was one of the shortest ones.

The stories take us from Cornwall to Scotland and from the Victorian era to the present day. One or two even have a ghostly element thrown in.  In short, there is something to delight every crime fiction reader, as in every story there is an intriguing mystery, and that delicious element of surprise that all crime fiction readers love. As it says on the inside cover of the book ‘this is a collection to treasure’. I totally agree with that sentiment. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Lizzie Sirett

Ann Granger was born in Portsmouth where she was a pupil at the then Northern Grammar School for Girls and went from there to London University where she achieved a BA in Modern Languages (French with German). After a period spent first teaching English in France and then working in the Visa Section of British Embassies around the world. She met her husband, who was also working for the British Embassy, in Prague, and together they received postings to places as far apart as Munich and Lusaka. She is the author of the Mitchell and Markby Mysteries, the Fran Varady series and more recently the Lizzie Martin mystery series. She lives in Bicester, near Oxford.

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