The Golden Book of World’s Greatest Mysteries

The Golden Book of World’s Greatest Mysteries ISBN: 9788075832634, Musaicum Books in e-book by multiple authors.

This book, sub-titled 60+ Whodunit Tales & Detective Stories is a compilation of stories by the “World’s Greatest Authors” and is referred to as “The Ultimate Anthology”. Among the authors included are Edgar Allen Poe, A Conan Doyle, Nathaniel Hawthorn, Mark Twain and others perhaps lesser known to American readers such as Guy de Maupassant, Théopile Gautier, Helena Balavatsky and some lesser known stories of among other authors, Jack London and Anton Chekhov. The book is divided into five sections. The first is “Detective Stories” starting with Poe’s better known ‘The Purloined Letter’. The second is “Suspense Stories” with the opening tale ‘The Birth Mark’ by Hawthorne. The third, “Ghost Stories” with the first ‘Thrawn Janet’ by Robert Louis Stevenson. The fourth, “Paranormal Psychic Stories” opening with ‘When the World was Young’ by Jack London. The fifth, “Humorous Mystery Stories” is the shortest with nine selections leading off with ‘The Secret of Goresthorpe Grange’ by A. Conan Doyle followed by Mark Twain, de Maupassant, Théopile Gautier and others.

Discussion: This is a most interesting group of stories for several reasons. First, they all are interesting, occasionally for an unusual reason. Second, they all are well written. Third, many offer a selection or more from an author lesser known to many American readers and/or a tale from a well-known writer that most readers probably just have not read because it seems a little removed from the books for which the author is most well recognized. The writing style and verbalization frequently are dated, but somehow lends charm to the presentation. William Melmoth and Julian Hawthorne are the translators and have done well with their contributions.

Summary: A group of short stories that allow the busy person to ‘take a break’ from his/her abundant activities when needed and indulge in an enjoyable few minutes of reading.

5* Enjoyable book especially for the individual who is stressed for time.

The Acorn Stories

The Acorn Stories, an e-book written and copyright by Duane Simolke. (If the title or content of this book seem vaguely familiar to the prospective reader, the book reportedly was first published as an e-book by White Knight Publishing in 1998, in paperback by iUniverse in 1999 with a second edition in paper and hardcover and “This Kindle version with only minor revisions” was published in 2007.)

The book presents the reader with a parade of vignette-like tales from the lives of dwellers in and near the fictional town of Acorn, Texas, USA, POP: 21,000. These slices depict the lives of this West Texas town’s ‘owning’ families, and some ‘other’ individuals all set forth in 15 chapters, with the last somewhat melting the divergent characters into a somewhat dysfunctional/functional whole. The dialogue is credible, as are the characters as the action swings from an opening about two who never can reach a level of compatibility, another as he ruminates about his parental problems while swimming laps in a pool, and then goes on to describe the problems faced by a deaf, gay teacher for special children who now is teaching English in this small ‘backwoods’ town, a couple of black citizens, an advanced Alzheimer sufferer, a despicable mayor, his wife, a young woman with prominent Attention Deficit Disorder, and more.

Discussion: The author has provided a group of characters to populate this little western town who either are native born and wishing to escape or are persons wishing to escape from the world. Some are pathetic, some humorous, some irritating, some are easier to equate with than others, and all are somewhat unusual as their often self-generated problems and actions are set forth. The author demonstrates a healthy understanding of human nature.

4* Empathetic presentation of an unusual group of small-town residents.