Unlikely pairs join forces to crack a slew of intriguing cases in an anthology edited by New York Times bestselling author Anne Perry, featuring original stories by Jacqueline Winspear, Jeffery Deaver, Allison Brennan, Charles Todd, and many more, including Perry herself.
Throughout the annals of fiction, there have been many celebrated detective teams: Sherlock Holmes and John Watson. Nick and Nora Charles. Hercule Poirot and Arthur Hastings. Thomas and Charlotte Pitt. That last pair is the creation of beloved mystery writer Anne Perry, who, as the editor of Odd Partners and in conjunction with Mystery Writers of America, has enlisted some of today’s best mystery writers to craft all-new stories about unlikely duos who join forces—sometimes unwillingly—to solve beguiling whodunits.
From Perry’s own entry, in which an English sergeant and his German counterpart set out to find a missing soldier during World War I, to a psychological tale of an airplane passenger who wakes up unsure of who he is and must enlist his fellow passengers to help him remember, to a historical mystery about a misguided witch-hunt and the unlikely couple that brings it down, each story deals in the wonderful complexities of human interactions. And not just human interactions: Honey bees avenge the death of their beekeeper, a wandering cat brings home clues to a murder, and a gray wolf and a fly fisherman in the Minnesota woods try to protect their land from a brash billionaire.
Featuring work by New York Times bestselling authors, Edgar Award winners, and up-and-coming members of the Mystery Writers of America, these tales of friends, enemies, and pairs who lie somewhere in the middle will satisfy every type of mystery reader. With each author’s signature brand of suspense, these stories give new meaning to the word “teamwork.”
Featuring stories by:
Ace Atkins • Allison Brennan • Shelley Costa • Jeffery Deaver • Robert Dugoni • William Frank • Georgia Jeffries • Lou Kemp • William Kent Krueger • Joe R. Lansdale • Lisa Morton • Claire Ortalda • Anne Perry • Adele Polomski • Stephen Ross • Mark Thielman • Charles Todd • Jacqueline Winspear • Amanda Witt
|Publisher:||Random House Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.40(d)|
About the Author
Mystery Writers of America is the premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime-writing field, aspiring crime writers, and those who are devoted to the genre. MWA is dedicated to promoting higher regard for crime writing and recognition and respect for those who write within the genre, and it presents the prestigious Edgar Awards to the best mystery and thriller books each year.
Anne Perry is the bestselling author of two acclaimed series set in Victorian England: the William Monk novels, including Dark Tide Rising and An Echo of Murder, and the Charlotte and Thomas Pitt novels, including Murder on the Serpentine and Treachery at Lancaster Gate. She is also the author of Twenty-one Days and Triple Jeopardy, the first two novels in a new series featuring Charlotte and Thomas Pitt’s son, Daniel; as well as a series of five World War I novels, sixteen holiday novels (most recently A Christmas Revelation), and a historical novel, The Sheen on the Silk, set in the Ottoman Empire. Anne Perry lives in Los Angeles.
Hometown:Portmahomack, Ross-shire, U.K
Date of Birth:October 28, 1938
Place of Birth:Blackheath, London England
Read an Excerpt
Jack had to find Private Richards before he did something stupid, and irrevocable. Damn the men who had tormented the new recruit with what they had said was his cowardice. They might have thought they were teasing him, teaching him to stand up for himself, but Richards was barely seventeen. It was too soon—only a couple of months ago he had been a school boy! Now he was a soldier in the Flanders trenches, with a rifle in his hands.
Jack rounded the bend in the trench, keeping his head low. But Richards was nowhere in sight along this stretch. He was not among the men sitting on the duckboards, smoking their Woodbines, reading letters from home, making bad jokes. They knew how to hide their fear. Richards didn’t, not yet. He was frightened out of his wits, deafened by the noise of gunfire, sick with the smell of death clogging his senses, and above all trying to do the right thing, trying to belong.
Jack Barrick was a veteran; he was twenty-three and had been here since the beginning, two years ago, at the end of that blazing hot summer of 1914. Home by Christmas, they had said. Over a million casualties later, it looked as if they would be here forever. Some of them really would be, God help them. Buried in the Flanders clay. What is forever when you are seventeen and the average life expectancy is a matter of weeks?
But Jack was not going to lose Richards because some irresponsible idiot had made him think he was a coward and not fit to be one of them.
Everything was quiet now, Jerry must be taking a nap! Jack’s feet rattled on the duckboards. Think! Where would Richards go? Where would he feel safe? Double back to the supply trench. Jack went down the connecting trench, still keeping low. A careless hand—or worse, head—could still attract a sniper’s bullet.
Jack asked everyone he passed if they had seen Richards. No one had. But then he encountered a worried-looking sergeant far too concerned with his own problems to listen to anyone else’s.
“Ah! Captain Barrick,” said the man as he grabbed Jack’s arm. “You seen anyone come this way carrying a gas canister? Probably had it wrapped up in something. Could look like anything—clothes.”
“You missing one?” Jack caught his alarm. Gas was everyone’s nightmare. Ever since it had first been used at Ypres last year, the thick, poisonous fumes haunted them all, worse than drowning in the mud, or being caught on the barbed wire, riddled with bullets. Equal, maybe, to the sapper’s fear of being trapped in the endless tunnels beneath no-man’s-land in a flood or a cave-in, slowly crushed, unable to breathe. Jack knew that fear personally. He was a sapper himself.
“Yes,” the sergeant admitted. “Saw a young soldier hanging around, you can always tell the latest lot. The fear in their eyes that isn’t quite the thousand-yard stare, but you know that if they live, it will be. He could have taken it; stupid little sod might not realize what it is.”
Jack felt a knot tighten in his chest. “About my height, fair hair? Seventeen?”
There was no relief in the sergeant’s face. “Yes. That’s him.”
Jack wanted to doubt, but the sick certainty inside him left no room. “Which way did he go?” he asked, although he knew already.
“Toward the front.” The sergeant indicated the front line, and no-man’s-land and the German lines beyond. “Do you know him? Where’s he gone?”
“Just lost, I hope,” Jack said fervently. “Please God—”
The sergeant still had hold of Jack’s arm. His grip tightened. “Lost? You want the poor little devil lost? What’s wrong with you, man?” He was almost shouting.
Jack freed his arm. “I’m hoping he’s wandering around trying to think what to do. Or better still, how to get the gas back without anyone knowing.”
“But I’m afraid I know where he’s going—”
“Where? God in heaven!” The sergeant’s face was white now. “He’s not going to gas those stupid gits who were teasing him, is he?”
“No . . . I think he’s hoping to prove his courage by going into the tunnels and letting the gas out . . . on the other side.” Jack remembered the taunts he’d heard and some hare-brained idea that gas in the German lines would decimate them the same way they had decimated us. Only nobody had the guts to take it there. It was just stupid talk.
But Richards had heard it. He had even asked where the entrances to the tunnels were from this side. No one had answered him. It was a carefully guarded secret. Only the sappers went down there, new men, and the remnants of those who had dug them. Sappers’ casualty rates were high. It was something Jack knew but refused to think of.
The sergeant was staring at him. “What do you want me to do?”
“Keep quiet for the moment.”
“You going after him?”
“Would it . . . would it be so bad if he put a gas canister in their trenches for a change?”
Jack closed his eyes to conceal his fury. “It would be very bad indeed, Sergeant,” he answered quietly. “Our trenches are a little lower than theirs. Slope of the land. And we dug a bit deeper. It gives us an advantage in some ways. The friable topsoil where they are tends to collapse more easily. Ours is more clay, thicker, less likely to give way. And wetter, of course. Water finds its own level—”
“I know all that,” the sergeant interrupted.
Jack opened his eyes. “Do you also know that the gas is heavier than air? That it finds the lowest level it can? It will start off in their tunnels and then seep into ours—”
“Through the earth?” The sergeant’s disbelief was thick in his voice—doubt, mockery.
“No,” Jack said patiently. “Through the places where the tunnels come close to one another. Through the walls that are so thin in places, we can hear them talking to one another as if there were just a piece of plaster board between us and them. Sometimes we accidentally break into one of their tunnels, or they do into one of ours. If he lets the gas go in one of theirs, you can bet your last penny it will end up in ours, too. Would you like to be trapped underground in a dark, narrow tunnel where you have to stoop to miss hitting the roof and carry a lantern to see where you are going—there’s no light underground, Sergeant. Absolutely none at all. Then smell gas? Would you?”
“Oh, sweet Jesus.” The sergeant crossed himself, his face pasty white.
“So which way did he go?” Jack repeated.
“You’re not . . . going down there after him? You can’t!”
“No, I’m just going to let it happen,” Jack snapped. He could not bear to think about it and then do it. He could do it only if he thought about something else.
The sergeant grunted without saying anything else.
Jack went straight to the camouflaged entrance of the nearest tunnel. To his mind, it seemed the most likely one for Richards to have found. Although the thought that the boy had stumbled across it so quickly was worrying. It was obviously not as well hidden as he had believed. Something to pay attention to another time.
He pulled back the sacking over the entrance and went in, letting it fall back into place after him, concealing it again. He shone his lantern ahead of him. The corridor was long and low, rising at the end until the way forward became invisible. His eyes would get used to it. He breathed in slowly. Even now, the smell of wet earth almost suffocated him. It brought back too many memories, going far into his childhood and time spent with his father down the coal mines of Durham County, in the mining village where Jack was born. He could remember the huge, ragged wind-torn skies, the endless views from the moors, and place names that haunted you, like Pity Me. Mining country.
Table of Contents
Introduction Anne Perry vii
"Reconciliation" Anne Perry 3
"The Nature of the Beast" William Kent Krueger 21
"Sad Onions: A Hap and Leonard Story" Joe R. Lansdale 35
"The Wagatha Labsy Secret Dogtective Alliance: A Dog Noir Story" Jacqueline Winspear 54
"Glock, Paper, Scissors" Shelley Costa 78
"Blood Money: An Inspector Rutledge Story" Charles Todd 86
"The Violins Played Before Junshan" Lou Kemp 101
"What Ever Happened to Lorna Winters?" Lisa Morton 120
"Oglethorpe's Camera" Claire Ortalda 137
"The Last Game" Robert Dugoni 154
"No 11 Squatter" Adele Polomski 169
"A Cold Spell" Mark Thielman 181
"What Would Nora Do?" Georgia Jeffries 201
"Hector's Bees" Amanda Witt 214
"Georgia in the Wind" William Frank 233
"From Four till Late: A Nick Travers Story" Ace Atkins 250
"Bite Out of Crime" Allison Brennan 267
"Songbird Blues" Stephen Ross 297
"Security" Jeffery Deaver 317
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
As with any collection, some struck me a stronger than others. But overall, it is excellent collection of reading material.
Odd Partners is a collection of mystery stories that is edited by one of my favorite authors, Anne Perry. The conceit for this anthology is a pairing in each story of odd partners; they are odd for many reasons as ably discussed in the editor's introduction. Authors include Anne Perry, Jacqueline Winspear, Charles Todd, Jeffrey Deaver, Ace Atkins, Allison Brennan and others. Admittedly, I often shy away from short stories preferring the depth of novels with their capacity to allow the reader to know characters more deeply. That having been said, I truly enjoyed this book. To give two examples: In Anne Perry's story, she conjures the atmosphere of WWI and the trenches, especially what it is like to be a sapper and to be a recruit who feels fear. I felt like I was there, uncomfortable, scared and eager for safety. All this within a short story. The odd partners are a German and an Englishman. Jacqueline Winspear is known for her Maisie Dobbs novels. They are an excellent series of books which began during WWI and are now taking place in WWII. Does the author write a war story here? NO, she most emphatically does not. Here the odd partners are dogs and their humans. There is much to enjoy in these stories. Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for allowing me to read and review them. All opinions are my own.
My Rating: 4.5 Stars Odd Partners is a very well-done anthology that comprises of very short stories by 19 prominent authors. This read was edited by Anne Perry. The list of authors were culled from the Mystery Writers of America. Listed in alphabetical order, they are: Ace Atkins • Allison Brennan • Shelley Costa • Jeffery Deaver • Robert Dugoni • William Frank • Georgia Jeffries • Lou Kemp • William Kent Krueger • Joe R. Lansdale • Lisa Morton • Claire Ortalda • Anne Perry • Adele Polomski • Stephen Ross • Mark Thielman • Charles Todd • Jacqueline Winspear • Amanda Witt. I thoroughly enjoyed the stories. It took only a moment to accept the quick revolution of each one as it was told. Having only read Anne Perry previously, although some of the other names are certainly well-known, it was a wonderful way to be introduced to authors that I definitely want to put on my TBR. As the description shows, each of these titles are new. One title that was quite intriguing to me was Robert Dugoni’s The Last Game, about a man who was an airplane passenger getting help from his fellow passengers. It was done with precise accuracy and definitely grabbed my interest. Then the was the short story, Oglethorpe’s Camera, by Claire Ortalda. This was about a woman and her cat, but, it was far, far more. There were a couple of very touching stories and then a rather odd story. This review would indeed be very long if I were to recount other favorites, never mind each entry. Many thanks to Ballantine Books and to NetGalley for this ARC to review in exchange for my honest opinion.
A collection of 19 short stories by assorted authors, the bulk rather well known. While most were enjoyable, there were a couple jewels....and one or two duds. All in all though, an enjoyable read. Copy of book through Netgalley.