Fans of Edgar-winner Jan Burke will be happy to know that her excellent 2002 collection of short fiction, originally published in a limited trade edition, is now available in audio format.
Included among the 18 stories are: “Unharmed,” winner of both the Macavity and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Readers Awards; “The Man in the Civil Suit,” an Agatha Award recipient; “The Abbey Ghosts,” an Edgar nominee; “Devotion,” an Agatha nominee; and “A Fine Set of Teeth,” a tale featuring Burke’s beloved series heroine Irene Kelly.
The first-mentioned, told by a would-be murderer who’s looking for a way to get rid of his overbearing housemate, is given a nice, nasty rendition by Peter Berkrot, who also narrates “The Muse,” a clever mystery-romance in which a knowledge of Hitchcock movies plays a key role, and “Devotion” a sort of sequel to the author’s Edgar-winning novel, Bones, featuring Irene Kelly’s husband, Frank, and Ben Sheridan and his cadaver dog Bingle.
The New Delhi-born, British-accented Ralph Lister handles several stiff-upper-lip historicals, “A Man of My Stature” and “An Unsuspected Condition of the Heart,” as well as “The Haunting of Carrick Hollow,” a vampire story co-written with Paul Sledzik. Among Amy McFadden’s vocal contributions are “The Mouse,” a non-mystery that nonetheless does feature a unique funeral, the witty “White Trash,” in which an imaginative homeowner finds a way to take care of next-door neighbors from hell, and the previously mentioned Irene story.
As satisfactory as McFadden’s rendition of “Teeth” is, it’s a pity we’re not given the opportunity of hearing the audio version mentioned in Edward D. Hoch’s introduction. Burke read that one herself, backed by her musician husband, Tim.