Friday, October 19, 2018

The Cambodian Curse & Other Stories - A Review


By Gigi Pandian

THE CAMBODIAN CURSE & OTHER STORIES is an anthology of locked room mysteries featuring the main characters of the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery series and their friends. Each is an ingenious morsel, fully contained within itself, yet leaving readers wanting to read more about the intriguing characters found within. The first story in the book, The Cambodian Curse, is the only brand new story while the others have been featured previously in various anthologies.

As a fan of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction I really enjoyed, not only the stories included here, but the introduction by Laurie R. King and the forward by Douglas Greene as well. Both are articulate, informative, and plain fun to read!
Each story in THE CAMBODIAN CURSE & OTHER STORIES features at least one of the methods defined by Golden Age Detective Fiction writer John Dickson Carr's character Dr. Fell. By doing so, not only does the author give a nod to that great age, but she provides a wide range of means as well as motives to these impossible crimes.

Most of these stories are new to me, but featuring characters I know and love from the Jaya Jones Treasure Hunt Mystery series. I have read THE LIBRARY GHOST OF TANGLEWOOD INN and you can check out my review of that specific story here.

My favorite piece in this collection is the bonus novella, Fool's Gold. Short stories are required to have a single focus and I admit to enjoying more details, more subplots, and, well, more...which the novella delivers! That being said, each short story was a perfect puzzle. A small perfectly contained bite.

The Haunted Room is my favorite short story here. Atmospheric detail, history, and ghosts combine for a delightfully spooky tale. Not only does Nadia tell a great story, I found the method here absolutely ingenious. A Dark and Stormy Night brought plenty of smiles, reminding me of my first mystery conference. The Cambodian Curse was also a delight, especially as it brought Henry North back on the scene.

If you're looking for a series of short puzzling reads, this is the perfect book for you!