- first published in Great Britain by Hodder & Stoughton 2009
- ISBN 978-0-340-91951-4
- subtitled Eleven Ways to Pay With Your Life
- 338 pages
- Author website
This collection of short stories includes, as the centrepiece, a new Banks novella called “Like a Virgin.” The other stories in the book, two of them also featuring Banks, are “Cornelius Jubb,” “The Magic of Your Touch,” “The Eastvale Ladies’ Poker Circle,” “The Ferryman’s Beautiful Daughter,” “Walking the Dog,” “Blue Christmas,” “Shadows on the Water,” “The Cherub Affair,” “The Price of Love” and “Birthday Dance.”
I read mainly crime fiction novels but occasionally a short story anthology is brought to my attention by a fellow reader. Short stories often give the reader a different view of a writer's talents. Among my favourite writers who have also produced short stories are Ian Rankin and Ruth Rendell. I cut my teeth on the short stories of Somerset Maugham and Charles Dickens.
These eleven stories first appeared in the first decade of the 21st century. Only three of them, one of them a longish novella, feature Robinson's detective Alan Banks. The author says that most of them "were written at the request of one editor or another" and at the end of the anthology he gives detail about what led to the writing of each one. He says that he thinks of the stories as challenges, a chance to explore something he hadn't explored before. He says that he finds short stories difficult to write, and that they often take him into uncharted territory.
The story I liked best The Price of Love, the one that gives the anthology its name. Tommy Burford, whose police constable father was recently killed in the line of duty, has discovered something quite strange in the room of Uncle Arthur, his mother's new boyfriend.
It is worth it after you finish each story to take a moment to reflect, to ask who in this story, as the subtitle says, paid with his or her life.
My rating: 4.4
I have also read
FRIEND OF THE DEVIL (2007)
4.6, ALL THE COLOURS OF DARKNESS (2008)
4.6, BAD BOY (2010)
4.9. BEFORE THE POISON
4.7, WATCHING THE DARK (2013)
4.3, CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION
4.8, ABATTOIR BLUES