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Cold Comforts: Tales of Murder, Mystery, and Mayhem .
by Peter Crowther.
SIGNED First Printing, ARCHIVED and SEALED in an acid-free protective book cover upon receipt here and then sealed in plastic for complete archival protection.
OVERVIEW: You know, you think you know someone and then . . . kablooey! Something comes walking along, right up to you, and then punches you in the nose. It's like that with Peter Crowther.
After reading Peter's previous collection for Cemetery Dance, the poignantly dark The Longest Single Note back in 1999, you'd think you have his measure — after all, it echoes the nostalgia and gore served up in Escardy Gap, his epic collaboration with James Lovegrove. But then he sideswipes you with the science fictional tales of Songs of Leaving and you think, ah, okay . . . got him now (particularly as you've read the Forever Twilight novellas)! But then comes The Spaces Between The Lines, as bleak a gathering of horror yarns as you're ever likely to find (and if you don't believe us, read 'Bedfordshire') . . . which neatly ties into his take on witches, By Wizard Oak.
So, at that point, you're certain you have it. How could you not. It's easy, right? He's a soft-centered, spookmeister with an eye for wonder and the far reaches of space. Fine. But whooahhh hold on there! Along comes this baby . . . a bona fide set of crime and mystery stories, no less. And so, dear reader, it kind of looks like you know Jack.
Cats figure strongly in this book (though Peter Crowther has never owned one) and private eyes (well, one anyways) . . . and there are no mean streets in England, though one or two of them can get a little grumpy. Unnatural death also figures strongly here, though Peter hasn't killed anybody (not as far as we know). He hasn't smuggled drugs either (as in 'Boxing Day'), hasn't shot craps with dice that can foretell the future (the Runyonesque 'Tomorrow Eyes'), doesn't play trumpet (though, like Cal Williston in 'The Musician of Bremen, GA,' he does love the Chet Baker and Gerry Mulligan version of 'Moonlight in Vermont'), hasn't tried to poison anyone ('The Allotment'), and as far as he knows Sherlock Holmes and the good Doctor Watson never did make it to the genteel Yorkshire town of Harrogate ('The Adventure of the Touch of God').
Eighteen stories from the fertile and frisky mind of one of England's most accomplished genre wordsmiths. And now we all know exactly what makes Peter tick. At least until next time.
Peter Crowther is best known in the UK as an ambitious and larger-than-life publisher, the man behind a series of deluxe editions of genre work. But there is another string to his bow: he is a highly accomplished writer, as this collection of new and inventive tales proves. The range of these pieces is extraordinary, but hardly surprising, given the polyglot influences which have forged the author’s curious literary sensibility. The entertaining introduction namechecks several of these elements, and (largely speaking) whatever filigrees on existing crime fiction notions Crowther attempts to create, he is both entertaining and successful when so doing. This is the sixth collection of his work, and demonstrates that perhaps his métier lies in the fantasy/horror stories for which he is best known. But the descriptions of various criminous activities on display here do the business with skill. Of late, the short story form has been under siege, and publishers these days tend to keep quiet about the fact that new collections are what they are; short story anthologies are often presented as if they were novels. Crowther is having none of that, and his chutzpah is to be applauded — along with his continuing commitment to (and expertise in) the crime fiction field.— Crime Time
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