Sunday, April 30, 2017

The London Stories (Emily Castles Mysteries), by Helen Smith

Tyger Books, ISBN 9780956517098, November 2014

This collection includes the stories "Three Sisters," "Showstoppers," and "Real Elves." Each of them presents Emily Castles with a puzzle to solve.

Each is centered around her neighbors and coworkers.

Two of them involve murders.

They all feature Emily Castles, a young woman living in London

These stories all seem intended to be funny. Unfortunately, most of Emily's neighbors and coworkers are portrayed as shallow idiots. Emily herself comes off slightly better in both character and intelligence, but mainly in comparison to the friends and neighbors. Dr. Muriel, a professor of, I believe, ethics, who lives across the street from Emily, seems to be the only one with both sense and intelligence, but she is, alas, not the viewpoint character. These are about Emily, not Dr. Muriel.

The third story, "Real Elves," is the only one that doesn't include a death, and where the tone is, to me, not jarringly inconsistent with the subject matter. This one involves a store setting up a "Santa's village" type event for Christmas, and wanting to test it out on a real child to be sure they haven't overlooked some problem that will only present itself when real children start going through it. "Real Elves" shows some real promise, and is the main reason I'd look at more stories in this series.

Not recommended.

I received a free electronic galley of this book, and I am reviewing it voluntarily.