Saturday, 15 June 2013

BOOK PREVIEW

A Moment on the Edge: 100 Years of Crime Stories by Women edited by Elizabeth George (2005)

The only books I’m tempted to buy are books that are out of print or hard to find. I usually buy them in secondhand bookshops and on the footpaths of Bombay (now Mumbai). I rarely purchase new books from new bookstores though I have bought a few ebooks from Amazon. I think the last two new books I bought were The Complete Prose of Woody Allen and Flint by Louis L'Amour.

Woody Allen is one of the finest humour writers I've read. I equate his sardonic wit with that of Groucho Marx and Kurt Vonnegut. I discovered Woody Allen the writer after I read his brilliant short story ‘The Kugelmass Episode’ in Present Laughter: An Anthology of Modern Comic Fiction edited by English author Malcolm Bradbury. I purchased this hardback for Rs.100 (a little over $2) from a used bookstore.

Flint is one of my favourite western novels by Louis L'Amour. I always wanted to own a brand new copy of this book.

Last week, I visited a new bookstore and nearly bought A Moment on the Edge: 100 Years of Crime Stories by Women by American writer Elizabeth George. The 560-page book published by HarperCollins in 2005 is a collection of stories by some of the best-known women writers, past and present. I’m familiar with most of the 26 authors though I haven't read every one of them. There are stories by Dorothy L. Sayers, Ngaio Marsh, Shirley Jackson, Dorothy Salisbury Davis, Margery Allingham, Nadine Gordimer, Ruth Rendell, and Joyce Carol Oates.

The publisher has put out the following description for the book:

“New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth George serves up a century's worth of superb crime fiction penned by women. This veritable all-star team delivers tales of dark deeds that will keep you reading long into the night… A Moment on the Edge is a rare treat not only for fans of crime fiction but also for anyone who appreciates a skillfully written, deftly told story.”

I read a part of the introduction by Elizabeth George. It’s a superb piece of writing on crime literature and its domination by women writers.

Although I was tempted to buy this book, I did not because it would have been criminal to do so at a time when I have more than fifty used books to read. This is not counting the dozens of copyright-free ebooks, fiction and nonfiction, I have downloaded. And then there are the vintage comics and comic strips.

Multiplicity, I wish.

6 comments:

  1. Flint is an awesome story, one my favorite L'Amour's too. Haven't read anything by Woody Allen. I don't often watch his films.

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    1. Charles, I'm glad FLINT is one of your favourite L'Amour books too, though HONDO and TO TAME A LAND top the vote count. I don't usually watch Allen's films either, on account of too much dialogue, but I think I have read pretty much everything by him. On the other hand, I haven't read all the writings of humour writer S.J. Perelman who influenced Allen.

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  2. Never heard of this one before. Looks great. Love Woody Allen stories. Or I did. Haven't read one in years.

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    1. Patti, I'm sure it's a great book. I was hooked to Elizabeth George's introduction, even the little I read of it. I like Woody Allen's writing, it's ludicrous to begin with. "The Kugelmas Episode" had me in splits. It has become somewhat of a cult story.

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  3. I would have found it difficult to pass by anything connected even with Elizabeth George!

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    1. Mystica, I know I shouldn't have passed it up. But then, I'm just being practical here. Had I bought the book now, it would have occupied shelf space. I'll probably buy it eventually. I think you have reviewed some of her books on your blog.

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