Buffet for Unwelcome Guests: The Best Short Mystery Stories of Christianna Brand

Open Road Media
1
Free sample

This collection of short crime stories offers five courses of delectable depravity from mystery’s master chef. Playing Othello is hard on any actor, but for the great James Dragon, the role is toxic. During the play’s run, he must reenact the horrible crime that took his own wife’s life. Every person in the audience thinks that Dragon killed his real-life wife, and when the curtain rises they wonder if tonight will be the night when Othello finally cracks. “After the Event” is just the first in a round of Cockrill cocktails—bracing short fiction starring Christianna Brand’s famed Scotland Yard inspector. From there we proceed to bloody entrees, chilling desserts, and a cup of black coffee that will shock you wide awake. Brand’s short fiction is more than a sample—it is an all-night banquet that leaves the reader terrified and satisfied as only a good mystery can.  
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About the author

Christianna Brand (1907–1988) was one of the most popular authors of the Golden Age of British mystery writing. Born in Malaya and raised in India, Brand used her experience as a salesgirl as inspiration for her first novel, Death in High Heels (1941), which she based on a fantasy of murdering an irritating coworker. The same year, she debuted her most famous character, Inspector Cockrill, whose adventures she followed until 1957. The film version of the second Cockrill mystery, Green for Danger, is considered one of the best-ever screen adaptations of a classic English mystery.  Brand also found success writing children’s fiction. Her Nurse Matilda series, about a grotesque nanny who tames ill-behaved children, was adapted for the screen in 2005 as Nanny McPhee. Brand received Edgar Award nominations for the short stories “Twist for Twist” and “Poison in the Cup,” as well as a nomination for her nonfiction work Heaven Knows Who.   
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Mar 5, 2013
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Pages
290
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ISBN
9781453290491
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Cozy / General
Fiction / Mystery & Detective / Traditional
Fiction / Thrillers / Suspense
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Read Aloud
Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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As her myriad of fans can attest, USA Today bestselling author Mary Daheim creates wonderful mysteries peopled with marvelous characters as quirky as they are endearing. The Seattle Times says Daheim is “one of the brightest stars in our city’s literary constellation”—and the popularity of her irresistible Pacific Northwest crime series has swept across the nation.

For a small town newspaper like The Alpine Advocate, a new play at the local community college is big news. Editor and publisher Emma Lord is duty-bound to attend opening night, but expects the amateur enterprise will serve only as a cure for insomnia. The play is dubbed “a black comedy,” but the only laughs Emma gets are from the bad acting and the wretched script. And while the turgid production makes Wagner’s Ring cycle seem like a vignette, the real drama begins just before the final curtain.

Hans Berenger, dean of students, wasn’t well known or well liked around Alpine, but the audience found his death scene genuinely convincing—until they realized he wasn’t acting. No one can say how or when the blanks in the prop gun were replaced with the real bullets that killed Berenger, but the list of suspects reads like a playbill of the cast and crew. They all had opportunity, access, and their own axes to grind with the thespically challenged dean.

Seeking the assistance of Vida Runkel, the Advocate’s redoubtable House and Home editor, Emma Lord vows to unravel a mystery that spirals out into unexpected places. As Emma sets the stage for the most likely suspect, she finds herself in a two-character scene whose next cue could make the resolute editor take a final—and permanent—bow.
A young Italian woman travels to eighteenth-century England to wage war on polite society in this sweeping historical saga of mystery, scandal, and romance.

Sophia Devigne is a child of Venice, as much a part of the wonderful island city as the canals themselves. If it were up to her, she would never leave, but her family has other ideas. For the sake of her British father’s honor, she’s being sent to London to make her societal debut. Her father hopes she’ll attract a wealthy husband and retire to a life of polite boredom in the English countryside, but beneath Sophia’s genteel exterior lurks the wild spirit of Venice, which will thrust her headlong into the scandal of the century.
 
When Sophia wins the hand of the dashing Lord Weyburn, she believes her troubles are over. But his elegant Cotswold estate, Starrbelow, is just another gilded cage. Desperate to be free, she escapes to town—and embarks on a wild debauch that shocks all London. Never again will she call herself Sophia. Now she’s Sapphire, and she’ll bow to no man. But when her wild indulgences embroil her in a suspicious death, Sapphire is accused of murder, and faces the merciless judgment of the court of public opinion. On trial by society, she will live or die as she always has: unbroken and standing tall.
 
This stirring recreation of eighteenth-century English society combines adventure, murder, and timeless romance. Christianna Brand was one of the masters of classic British mystery fiction, and Starrbelow is one of her greatest works.
From #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephen King, the most riveting and unforgettable story of kids confronting evil since It—publishing just as the second part of It, the movie, lands in theaters.

In the middle of the night, in a house on a quiet street in suburban Minneapolis, intruders silently murder Luke Ellis’s parents and load him into a black SUV. The operation takes less than two minutes. Luke will wake up at The Institute, in a room that looks just like his own, except there’s no window. And outside his door are other doors, behind which are other kids with special talents—telekinesis and telepathy—who got to this place the same way Luke did: Kalisha, Nick, George, Iris, and ten-year-old Avery Dixon. They are all in Front Half. Others, Luke learns, graduated to Back Half, “like the roach motel,” Kalisha says. “You check in, but you don’t check out.”

In this most sinister of institutions, the director, Mrs. Sigsby, and her staff are ruthlessly dedicated to extracting from these children the force of their extranormal gifts. There are no scruples here. If you go along, you get tokens for the vending machines. If you don’t, punishment is brutal. As each new victim disappears to Back Half, Luke becomes more and more desperate to get out and get help. But no one has ever escaped from the Institute.

As psychically terrifying as Firestarter, and with the spectacular kid power of It, The Institute is Stephen King’s gut-wrenchingly dramatic story of good vs. evil in a world where the good guys don’t always win.
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