Category Archives: detective fiction

Dropped Dead

Creeping Siamese by Dashiell Hammett (1926)

Tuesday’s Detective Tale   May 24, 2022

A man stumbles into the Continental Detective Agency. He drops dead on the floor.  Stabbed in the left breast, the man’s wound is staunched with red silk—which seems to be a sarong.

If you love crime stories with ace detectives, then you must be a fan of Dashiell Hammett. This story is a cool little plot puzzle with imaginative clues. Good one!

“Hammett did over and over again what only the best writers can ever do at all. He wrote scenes that seemed never to have been written before.”  Raymond Chandler.

 

Read the short story here:

Click to access Hammett_Creeping_Siamese.pdf

Listen to other short stories by Dashiell Hammett (Creeping Siamese is not available in audio).

We like to remember Dashiell Hammett as the inventor of hardboiled detective fiction with brutal realism and wry humor. Hammett worked for the Pinkerton Detective Agency for eight years before he began writing his stories.  His first short story was published by The Black Mask in 1923.

 

Don’t forget to view the INDEX OF AUTHORS’ TALES above for more free reading at Reading Fiction Blog. This is a compendium of over 250 short stories by more than 150 famous storytellers of mystery, suspense, supernatural, ghost stories, crime, sci-fi, romance, ‘quiet horror,’ and mainstream fiction.

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Author of the Week, Mark Z. Danielewski, May 9

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   May 9

 

Mark Z. Danielewski

(Supernatural, Ghosts, Horror, Thriller, Contemporary Fiction)

 

“My interest is in how meaning is communicated via language, and I believe the shape, positioning, even the colour of the language has an effect on meaning.”

“Write what you love. Love will hold you through the hard times and hold the world during the good times.”

“We all create stories to protect ourselves.”

 

Mark Z. Danielewski  (born  1966) is an American fiction author.  He studied English Literature at Yale. He is known for his debut novel House of Leaves, which won the New York Public Library’s Young Lions Fiction Award. His second novel, Only Revolutions, was nominated for the National Book Award. He wrote the novella The Fifty Year Sword.  Danielewski’s work is characterized by experimental choices in form, such as intricate and multi-layered narratives and typographical variation.

Read The Guardian’s interview with Mark “House of Leaves changed My Life.”

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2020/apr/02/house-of-leaves-changed-my-life-the-cult-novel-at-20

 

Watch a chat with Mark, Los Angeles Times:

 

 

 

Visit Mark’s website: https://www.markzdanielewski.com/

Browse the “Index of Authors’ Tales” tab above to find over 250 free short stories by over 150 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary or classic authors. Audios too. Please follow me or stop in.

Comment or click LIKE!

 

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Author of the Week, Charles L. Grant, April 11

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK  April 11

Charles L. Grant

American Author and Editor

(Short Stories and Novels: Quiet Horror and Dark Fantasy)

 

 

Grant was esteemed for building foreboding atmosphere, a slow burn of dramatic tension in his plots, settings, and characterization. His trademark is a story steeped in palpable dread with high suspense, yet without descriptive bloodshed or graphic violence. Thus, the beauty of  quiet horror. Grant wrote 70 novels, 150 short stories, and edited two dozen anthologies. A master in this subgenre that is still popular.

Grant is revered by Stephen King as an “autumnal writer” because the reader closes his book with far more than a scare. We read his stories and receive a deep sense of  awe, intelligence, and the imaginary that rises far above most other writers in the genre.

Charlie Grant will give you a story so memorable, you’ll want more.

 

“I like to set up as real a situation as possible, then twist it just enough and bring in whatever I want to bring in. It is more startling and entertaining to use real people with real-world problems.”

“The goal is not to scare people, just make them uncomfortable. I work to make you really, really nervous, so that it will take you a long time to get over it. I want to make you see shadows where there is no light to cast them.”

“If all the world’s a stage and all the people players, who in bloody hell hired the director?”

When asked why horror is so popular, he replied “It is a safe way of looking at death.”

Charles L. Grant (1942 – 2006)  received the British Fantasy Society’s Special Award in 1987 for life achievement; and he was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Horror Writers Association, Nebula Awards and three World Fantasy Awards.

The Shadow Series is ten anthologies, including short stories by Stephen King, Ramsey Campbell, Robert Bloch, and many others. The first five novels he wrote didn’t sell but he went on to achieve great success and admiration. In cinematic terms, Grant is thought to have more likeness with the horror film classics of Val Lewton and Roman Polanski—Grant’s work strong on hinting at madness and violence, a writer certainly gifted at suggestion and subtleties. He and his wife, editor and novelist Kathryn Ptacek, had lived in a 100-year-old haunted Victorian house in Sussex County, New Jersey.

SlipofthePen.com

 

Podcast about Charles L. Grant at LovecraftEzine.com

https://lovecraftezine.libsyn.com/charles-grants-quiet-horror-chet-williamsons-sequel-to-psycho-and-more

[Personal Note: Because almost all my published fiction is quiet horror, and I read so much of it, I have a special place for Charlie. I did a blog on him in September 2013, link below. Another favorite quiet horror author is Shirley Jackson The Haunting of Hill House. And I can add Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black.]

Quiet Horror, Still the Darling of the Horror Genre

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Charlie’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Charles-Grant/e/B000AQ1O8G

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays once a month at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 250 free short stories by over 150 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary or classic authors. Audios too.

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Author of the Week, Algernon Blackwood, March 14

Author of the Week,  March 14,  Monday

Algernon Blackwood

(Short Story Writer and English Novelist of Mysteries and Supernatural)

 

“Certain houses, like certain persons, manage somehow to proclaim at once their character for evil.”

“But the wicked passions of men’s hearts alone seem strong enough to leave pictures that persist; the good are ever too lukewarm.”

“Ritual is the passage way of the soul into the Infinite.”

 

 

Algernon Blackwood (1869 to 1951) was one of the most prolific writers of ghost stories in the history of the genre. His two best known stories are The Willows and The Wendigo. His first book of short stories, The Empty House (1906) was when he became a full-time fiction writer. Later collections include John Silence (1908), stories about a detective sensitive to extrasensory phenomena, and Tales of the Uncanny and Supernatural (1949), 22 stories selected from his nine other books of short stories.

Today is Blackwood’s anniversary of his birth, March 14, 1869.  As fiction readers we love to pay tribute to authors on the birth or death dates as a memoriam by reading their work.  Blackwood’s mysterious tales and atmospheric ghostly stories  bring our imaginations into other worlds. He is a master at going deep into the psychological elements of ghosts and the element of human fear and desire. His stories are a treat into vintage fiction!

On this blog, I have featured seven of Blackwood’s stories (In the Index of Authors’ Tales above). He is a worthy favorite of mine. You won’t be disappointed.

Interview with Andrew McQuade about Blackwood’s Fiction: http://satanicpandemonium.blogspot.com/2012/12/algernon-blackwood-interview-with.html

 

Audio of Algernon Blackwood Reading Pistol Against a Ghost. A quick story that will make you smile! (7 minutes):

 

 

And here is audio of The Wood of the Dead (35 minutes):

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Algernon Blackwood’s Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.com/Algernon-Blackwood/e/B001IO9NQO 

There are a number of Blackwood’s stories free on Kindle.

 

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays once a month at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 250 free short stories by over 150 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary or classic authors. Audios too. 

Comments and Likes are welcome!

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Author of the Week, Susan Hill, February 7

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   February 7   Monday

Susan Hill

(Novels/Short Stories, Mystery and Ghost Fiction)

 

“Ghost stories … tell us about things that lie hidden within all of us, and which lurk outside all around us.”

“I wrote ghost stories because I’d always enjoyed reading them, and they seemed to be fizzling out… I don’t take them terribly seriously. It’s like a cake, with ingredients.”

“Though they don’t always have to be set in fog, weather is incredibly important in ghost stories. As is suspense: you’ve got to turn the screw very, very slowly.”

“I have only read very classic traditional English ghost stories, other than Henry James, who wrote some magnificent short ones as well as the longer ‘Turn of the Screw.’ He, Dickens, and M.R. James are my influences.”

 

 

Dame Susan Hill, Lady Wells, DBE is an English author of fiction and non-fiction works. Her novels include The Woman in Black, The Mist in the Mirror, and I’m the King of the Castle, for which she received the Somerset Maugham Award in 1971. Other awards include Whitbread Novel Award for The Bird of Night (1972); and the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize for The Albatross (1971), a collection of short stories.

Her Simon Serrailler Crime Mysteries are popular novels, beginning with the first in the series The Various Haunts of Men.

Reviews:

“A gripping whodunnit and a subtle study of the mind of a psychopath”  Daily Mail 

“I loved this book. Masterly and satisfying” Ruth Rendell 

“This book must be judged as a potential successor to the great sequences of detective writing by PD James and Ruth Rendell…excellent” Daily Telegraph 

“She has the priceless ability to construct a solidly-researched narrative that keeps the reader turning the pages”  Independent  

Interview with Susan Hill speaking about wickedness, her dark new novella – and why she would never read the latest Man Booker winner.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/oct/25/susan-hill-books-interview

Interview about ghost stories:

 

Here is the trailer for The Small Hand, a short story by Susan Hill

Visit Susan Hill’s Amazon Book Page: https://www.amazon.com/Susan-Hill/e/B096X8W23Z

 

 

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author

on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over

200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors, audios too.

 

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Author of the Week, Dan Simmons, August 9

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   August 9

Dan Simmons

(Short Stories and novels in Suspense, Noir Crime, Supernatural, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Horror, Historical and Mainstream Fiction)

 

“I knew that I wanted to be a writer even before I knew exactly what being a writer entailed.”

“There’s a unique bond of trust between readers and authors that I don’t believe exists in any other art form; as a reader, I trust a novelist to give me his or her best effort, however flawed.”

“I find that I write more slowly and carefully, even as the deadlines come more frequently. I’ve never been satisfied with the final form of any of my work, but the dissatisfaction may be deeper now — even as some of the quality goes up — because I know I have fewer years ahead of me in which to improve and make-up for my shortcomings.”

 

Dan Simmons (Born 1948)  is a multi-award winning American author.  His first novel, Song of Kali, won the World Fantasy Award; his first science fiction novel, Hyperion, won the Hugo Award. Most readers know him for winning four Bram Stoker Awards, among many other fiction prizes. One of his favorite authors is Charles Dickens (Drood). His short story The River Styx Runs Upstream was awarded first prize in Twilight Zone Magazine story competition. The Terror and The Abominable are his historical fiction novels.  Stephen King had significant praise for Simmons novels:  “Simmons writes like a hot-rodding angel.”

See all Simmons’ literary awards here, 35+  https://www.sfadb.com/Dan_Simmons

Dan Simmons Interview – Geek’s Guide to the Galaxy Podcast #96 (Discusses horror)

 

Steven Silver interviews Simmons on ScienceFiction.com:

https://www.sfsite.com/09b/ds160.htm 

 

The Crook Factory is about Ernest Hemingway while living in Cuba in the 1940s. Simmons states in the afterward that 95% of the novel is true. The story is a thrilling plot about an FBI agent and Hemingway’s amateur spy ring called Crook Factory in Cuba at the beginning of WW II. “Simmons spins, the zesty characters it entangles and its intricate cross-weave of fact and fiction .” Publishers Weekly

 

In A Winter Haunting, college professor and novelist, Dale Stewart,  has been followed to this house of shadows by private demons who are now twisting his reality into horrifying new forms. And a thick, blanketing early snow is starting to fall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Visit Dan Simmons Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Dan-Simmons/e/B000APQZD6/

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author

on Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

Comments and LIKES Welcomed!

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Author of the Week, Jeff VanderMeer, July 19

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   July 19

 

Jeff  VanderMeer

(Fantasy, Science Fiction, and Weird Fiction, Novels and Short Stories, Literary Critic, Editor, Publisher)

 

“Imbuing fiction with a life that extends beyond the last word is in some ways the goal: the ending that goes beyond the ending in the reader’s mind, so invested are they in the story.”

“A dream inspiring a story is different than placing a description of a dream in a story. When you describe a character’s dream, it has to be sharper than reality in some way, and more meaningful. It has to somehow speak to plot, character, and all the rest. If you’re writing something fantastical, it can be a really deadly choice because your story already has elements that can seem dreamlike.”

“Trust your imagination. Don’t be afraid to fail. Write. Revise. Revise. Revise.”

“It is the nature of the writer to question the validity of his world and yet rely on his senses to describe it. From what other tension can great literature be born?”

“Fiction is in constant conversation with itself.”

Jeff  VanderMeer (born  1968) is an American author, NYT bestselling writer, called “the weird Thoreau” by the New Yorker for his engagement with ecological issues. Initially associated with the New Weird literary genre, VanderMeer crossed over into mainstream success with his bestselling Southern Reach trilogy. He also wrote the world’s first fully illustrated creative-writing guide, Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction.  Among VanderMeer’s  novels are Shriek: An Afterword and Borne. He has also edited with his wife Ann VanderMeer such influential and award-winning anthologies as The New Weird, The Weird, and The Big Book of Science Fiction. His nonfiction appears in the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, the Guardian, and the Atlantic.com.

Interview with Jeff VanderMeeer (7 minutes):

 

 

The Fictive Imagination in the Dusk of the Anthropocene. Sonic Arts Festival:

 

 

Detective John Finch is about to come face-to-face with a series of mysteries that will change him and Ambergris forever. Why does one of the victims most resemble a man thought to have been dead for a hundred years? What is the murders’ connection to an attempted genocide nearly six hundred years ago? And just what is the secret purpose of the occupiers’ tower? A three-book series.

Visit VanderMeer’s Amazon page: https://www.amazon.com/Jeff-VanderMeer/e/B000APJW4U

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on

Mondays at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

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Author of the Week, Anthony Horowitz, July 5

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   July 5

Anthony Horowitz

(Mystery, Suspense, Crime Novelist, Screenwriter, and Television Series Author)

“My writing has always been what you call ‘narrative fiction’ in the sense that it’s got very strong plots and twists at the end.”

“Throughout history, story-telling was at the very beginning of life.”

“I fear dying in the middle of a book. It would be so annoying to write 80,000 words and not get to the end. I’m phobic about it. So when I’m writing a book I leave messages all over the house for people to know how the story ends, and then someone can finish it for me.”

“I had three brilliant English teachers at secondary school. They found the writer in me.”

 

 

Anthony Horowitz (born 1955),  English novelist, screenwriter, and children’s novelist, has written more than 50 books including The Magpie Murders,  The Power of Five series, the Alex Rider series, The Diamond Brothers series, and has adapted many of Agatha Christie’s Hercule Poirot novels for TV.  He is the creator and writer of  Foyle’s WarMidsomer MurdersCollision, and Injustice.  Also the Hawthorne and Horowitz Mysteries: The Word is Murder; The Sentence is Death; A Line to Kill. In October 2014, the Ian Fleming estate commissioned Horowitz to write a James Bond novel, Trigger Mortis, and Forever and A Day. A third Bond novel is expected to be released sometime in 2022. An underachiever at school, Horowitz started writing at the age of 8 or 9 and he instantly “knew” he would be a professional writer.

 

Interview with Anthony Horowitz about Magpie Murders, film to be released in 2022:

 

Quickfire interview with Horowitz:

https://www.anthonyhorowitz.com/journalism/article/quickfire-interview-anthony-horowitz

 

 

 

 

View his profile page on Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/Anthony-Horowitz/e/B000AP7TDG

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author on Mondays at

Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors. Once a month I feature a

FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

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Author of the Week, David Baldacci, May 10

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK   May 10

David Baldacci

(Fiction: Thrillers, Mysteries, Crime, Adventure)

“If I worried too much about publishers’ expectations, I’d probably paralyze myself and not be able to write anything.”

“What I do in my thrillers is to try and tell a story with characters you care about. A thriller can’t be just plot or just characters, it has to be a combination of both. I could concoct a really great plot but if I put in characters readers don’t really care about, they are not going to finish the book.”

“Why waste time trying to discover the truth, when you can so easily create it?”

Writing Tip: “Don’t know the ending before you start.”

 

David Baldacci (born August 1960) published his first novel, ABSOLUTE POWER, in 1996. A feature film followed, with Clint Eastwood as its director and star. In total, David has published 41 novels for adults; all have been national and international bestsellers and several have been adapted for film and television. His works of fiction include  The Camel Club, and The Innocent. Baldacci has also published six novels for younger readers.

 

David Baldacci Speaking at Book Event (20 minutes):

Baldacci’s Amazon’s page:

https://www.amazon.com/David-Baldacci/e/B000AQ0STC

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author every week at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

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Author of the Week, Martha Grimes, May 3

AUTHOR OF THE WEEK    May 3

Martha Grimes

(Novels and Detective Mysteries: Richard Jury Series, Emma Graham Series)

 

“I enjoy these characters a lot. I really like thinking about them, watching them, seeing what they’re going to do. I write about these people, and I get really connected to them and I just cannot let them go.”

“The plot is not there in advance. It’s just not there.”

“You’re not really a writer unless you’re actually writing. So that’s why I continue to do it: because I want to continue to think of myself as a writer.”

 

Martha Grimes (born May 2, 1931) is an American writer of detective fiction, author of more than thirty books. She is the bestselling author of twenty-one Richard Jury novels (Scotland Yard inspector), as well as the novels Dakota and Foul Matter. Her character-driven mysteries fall into the subgenre of  cozy mysteries.  She is also the author of Double Double, a dual memoir of alcoholism written with her son. The winner of the 2012 Mystery Writers of America Grandmaster Award, Grimes lives in Bethesda, Maryland.  Newsweek named her “one of the established masters of the genre.”

Interview with Martha Grimes at AuthorMagazine.org

 

 

 

Visit Grimes’ Amazon.com page:

https://www.amazon.com/Martha-Grimes/e/B000APFU50

 

Please join me in my reading nook and discover an author every week at Reading Fiction Blog!

Browse the Index of Authors’ Tales above to find over 200 free short stories by over 100 famous authors.

Once a month I feature a FREE short story by contemporary and classic authors.

3 Comments

Filed under Author of the Week, crime stories, crime thrillers, detective fiction, fiction, fiction bloggers, free short stories, free short stories online, literature, Reading Fiction, READING FICTION BLOG Paula Cappa, short stories, short stories online, short story blogs