The collection is varied, with all sorts of mysteries which all have one thing in common – they are seemingly impossible to solve. The book opens with a gem from Conan Doyle ‘The Lost Special’ which was probably the best story of the whole book. Other highlights included ‘Diary of Death’ and ‘Death at 8.30’ by relatively unknown authors.
Impossible Crimes are perfect for mystery lovers because of the challenge they offer and the intelligence and wit that goes into them. Think Benedict Cumberbatch’s Sherlock and it is easy to understand why these stories are popular.
This mix of authors, some of who were lesser known, and their different styles was refreshing. The stories were fun, with some that were completely impossible and others which you could have a good stab at working out. This is the perfect combination, as you don’t want to have to be working things out constantly as you go, so it allows you to sit back and relax and just enjoy the novels too.
My favourite stories were the ones that built up more context and scenario around the crime, allowing me to get a little more caught up in the action, for example like in ‘Too Clever by Half’. I also enjoyed having a bit of background about the writers as this helped me learn a bit more about them, or even recognise them from characters that I am culturally aware of.
The thing that did grate on me slightly was that despite the effort to include a few female writers in what is clearly a white male dominated genre – none of the ‘detectives’ whether officially in the role of detective or not, was female. I felt like there surely could be a good Miss Marple or other witty female out there solving impossible murders, however as they were classic short stories they are drawn from a time period where such stories were in short supply.
Overall I did really enjoy this book, and it is absolutely perfect for when you want a quick crime to solve with a cuppa and some cake – because that is the only way you should read these stories.
I received this book as an advanced reader copy from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review; all opinions are my own.
Image from Amazon.