by H.R.F. Keating, published by Crippen & Landru, 1997 – hardcover, drawings by Gwen Mandley, mystery short story collection
this is the 38th in my series of forgotten books
Keating is a fine writer who has been at his craft for a long time. This is a collection of ten stories written by Keating between 1972 and 1996, three of them expressly for this book, the remainder from magazines or other collections. All take place in or on the fringe of Kensington Gardens. Each story has a very nice line drawing by Gwen Mandley illustrating the part of the park central to the story. These drawings are reminiscent of the work of Ernest Shepard, illustrator of books by A.A. Milne and others.
Those who insist on placing genre labels on these stories will call them cozies. However I prefer not classify these as any particular genre or sub-genre because they are literature. These are stories I might expect to find in The New Yorker magazine; well written entertaining small tales about everyday people who stroll, walk, jog through Kensington Gardens out of habit, for exercise, to walk the dog, to meet someone, or perhaps with some special purpose in mind. These stories have a kind of innocence about them. There is a gentle feel, a lightness in spite of the crime to be found in many of them. Insightful characterization is a key element of each story. Light, entertaining, recommended.
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