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What the Critics Said




A Murder Coming's stories are "finely crafted and immensely entertaining, full of satisfying twists, ironic endings and laugh-out-loud humour...a welcome introduction to this talented writer." RB in Quill and Quire, December, 1990

"In a collection with one gem after another, it's tough to pick a favorite, but I found 'The Altdorf Syndrome' and 'The Gobineau Necklace' especially notable combinations of hilarity and virtuoso plotting." From a five star review by Jon L. Breen in Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine, January, 1991.

"If short stories are your particular pleasure and you've been mourning that nobody writes them the way they used to, weep no more. There's a Canadian writer who does: his name is James Powell and there's a whole bunch of his outrageous puzzlers in A Murder Coming. They are wild, they are woolly, they are great exercise for the mind, the funny bone and the English language...If you can read 'The Oubliette Cypher' and not blink twice when done, I give up on you." Marilis Hornidge in The Courier-Gazette (Rockland, Maine), April 23, 1991.

"...the short stories of Toronto-born Powell...might be likened to the tales of H. H. Munro (Saki) or John Collier. Powell's carefully worked prose displays not only these masters' mixture of horror and humour, in which a surprise ending is often illuminated by a flash of surreal fantasy, but also a Hitchcockian relish for the tongue-in-cheek laced with venom." Richard Perry in Books in Canada, December, 1990

"...a gem of a mystery...an absolutely delightful collection of short suspense stories by Toronto-born James Powell...who deserves to be far better known than he is in Canadian mystery circles...the book is a perfect stocking stuffer. Readers will be fascinated by 'The Friends of Hector Jouvet,' titillated by the icily comic 'Have You heard the Latest?' and mesmerized by the foggy, spooky title story." In The Christmas Book Parade, Rod Currie, CP Arts writer, October 10, 1990.

"James Powell...is one of the most accomplished short-story authors around. His crime stories have a distinctive wry wit and self-depreciating style that makes them stand out from the more gory crowd in most mystery magazines. This graceful style allows Powell to write for a whole rang of mainstream magazines as well as the better-known crime rags. He's regularly anthologized in the 'best short-story' collections, and he has accumulated a host of literary prizes in a long career.

Given all this, it's ridiculous that A Murder Coming is the first collection of Powell's stories to appear, and it's to editor Peter Sellers' credit that he managed to get this collection into print.

Powell has written hundreds of stories, and so Sellers had no shortage of lucid and clever tales. What he has done is take selections from Powell's early career, including his first story, 'The Friends of Hector Jouvet,' published in 1966. Full of romantic imagery and with a tricky ending worthy of Hitchcock, Powell's pocket gem about a dentist's son from Drumheller, Alta.' Who loses his shirt and his pride in a European casino is a textbook study in good short-story construction. The rest of the collection, chosen to show how Powell's talent and interests evolved, goes from strength to strength. This is a worthy effort to explain his works. Those who haven't yet had the pleasure of discovering this highly accomplished author will appreciate a collection of stories by a true master." Margaret Cannon, The Globe and Mail (Toronto) October 13, 1990.

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