Don't be put off by the bland cover of Best Detective Stories by Cyril Hare. There are treasures within. Thirty delicious tales of mistaken identity (and murder), legal shenanigans (and murder), slow-burning revenge (and murder), trickery (and murder), robbery (and murder). Oh, and did I mention murder?
How could I not love a book by an author with the name Cyril Hare? Actually, that is a pseudonym for British judge and crime writer Alfred Alexander Gordon Clark. He was born in 1900 and died just shy of his 58th birthday. He published nine mystery novels, one children's book, almost 40 short stories, a radio play, and two stage plays. Quite an output.
Many of his short mysteries appeared in the 1950s in London's Evening Standard. We are fortunate to have so many of them collected here.
Joan at Planet Joan put Cyril Hare on my radar. My library doesn't have a single one of his books, but I discovered a few Kindle editions on Amazon. This book of short mysteries was only 99 cents. In case you are interested, there are three of his crime novels available as ebooks as well. Two of those will run you a whopping $1.99 each. For some reason, his most famous book, Tragedy at Law, is $2.09. Still, it's a bargain.
I plan on trying one or two of his full-length mysteries. I am sure they are as entertaining as his short crime tales.
These stories are all written with a light touch. After reading the first few you know there is going to be a twist, but darned if you will be able to figure it out beforehand. Some are written in the first person and some are told by a third-person narrator. No matter who is telling the story, there is always a touch of wry humor.
These are the perfect mysteries to read at night before turning out the light.