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Love, Murder, Etc.

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Kathleen Valentine's stories are like scrimshaw pieces, encompassing a wealth of detail within a small space. We learn everything about her characters in tales whose compact composition never diminishes their vividness, depth and sensitivity. From the first few lines of "Sailor's Valentine," the reader is drawn into an intriguing and moving story of two loners, one with a Kathleen Valentine's stories are like scrimshaw pieces, encompassing a wealth of detail within a small space. We learn everything about her characters in tales whose compact composition never diminishes their vividness, depth and sensitivity. From the first few lines of "Sailor's Valentine," the reader is drawn into an intriguing and moving story of two loners, one with a dark secret, and into the world of the fishermen of Port St. Magnus, with all its strong smells, sights and sounds. "The Mermaid Shawl" weaves romance with the realities and hopes of Great Lakes island life, reminding us that knitting is not just a hobby or a job, but an act of love. "Arthur's Story" surprises us with a change of scene, to turn of the century New York, in a quietly wonderful story of a lost boy that brought tears to my eyes. "Mardi Gras Was Over" shows how our own maturity can take us by surprise. Darker surprises are in store in the "Murder" section, where the intimacy of first-person narrative reveals the dangerous tensions brewing in seemingly placid places, a small town diner, a needlework club, a lighthouse. Overall, this is a superbly written collection of stories and very much worth having.


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Kathleen Valentine's stories are like scrimshaw pieces, encompassing a wealth of detail within a small space. We learn everything about her characters in tales whose compact composition never diminishes their vividness, depth and sensitivity. From the first few lines of "Sailor's Valentine," the reader is drawn into an intriguing and moving story of two loners, one with a Kathleen Valentine's stories are like scrimshaw pieces, encompassing a wealth of detail within a small space. We learn everything about her characters in tales whose compact composition never diminishes their vividness, depth and sensitivity. From the first few lines of "Sailor's Valentine," the reader is drawn into an intriguing and moving story of two loners, one with a dark secret, and into the world of the fishermen of Port St. Magnus, with all its strong smells, sights and sounds. "The Mermaid Shawl" weaves romance with the realities and hopes of Great Lakes island life, reminding us that knitting is not just a hobby or a job, but an act of love. "Arthur's Story" surprises us with a change of scene, to turn of the century New York, in a quietly wonderful story of a lost boy that brought tears to my eyes. "Mardi Gras Was Over" shows how our own maturity can take us by surprise. Darker surprises are in store in the "Murder" section, where the intimacy of first-person narrative reveals the dangerous tensions brewing in seemingly placid places, a small town diner, a needlework club, a lighthouse. Overall, this is a superbly written collection of stories and very much worth having.

21 review for Love, Murder, Etc.

  1. 5 out of 5

    Gerd

    A though collection to rate fair. In all honesty I thought all the stories to be lacking in one direction or other, there’s not one among them I could pick out and call great as short stories go. The opening story, Sailor’s Valentine, for example is all over the place, trying to tick as many Romance trope boxes in as short an amount of time as possible, or so it felt to me. Love, passion, murder- it has everything but focus. The next following Mermaid’s Shawl has a wonderful romantic core idea bu A though collection to rate fair. In all honesty I thought all the stories to be lacking in one direction or other, there’s not one among them I could pick out and call great as short stories go. The opening story, Sailor’s Valentine, for example is all over the place, trying to tick as many Romance trope boxes in as short an amount of time as possible, or so it felt to me. Love, passion, murder- it has everything but focus. The next following Mermaid’s Shawl has a wonderful romantic core idea but almost ruins it by over running its length to add too perfect an ending to it all. The second half of the collection, the Murder part, is more focused than the Love part, but even there we can sense that Kathleen Valentine is no short story writer by trade, it’s not her forte to write within the boundaries of this format. And yet, in spite of the above cited flaws, there’s something to her writing. She writes in an natural, often realistic tone of voice and still manages to infuse her love stories with a truly romantic sensuality, and she can breath life into the varied characters that populate her stories within the space of only a few sentences. Mardi Gras was over, a fun little slice of life vignette about the common madness of having to teach your children rules you didn’t heed yourself, probably plays off her strength best here. And it’s because of these qualities that Mermaid’s Shawl would be my personal favoured of the collection, what I said earlier about it notwithstanding.

  2. 4 out of 5

    MBenzz

    Having read a couple of Ms. Valentine's other short stories, I knew what to expect when starting this. Still though, some of the stories are VERY short. A few of these can be purchased by themselves for ninety nine cents a piece, but I recommend just getting this collection. Some of the stories are maybe 10-15 pages long (Kindle pages...which are MUCH shorter), so I'd be annoyed to have spent a dollar for so few pages. The story I expected to like the least turned out to be my favorite; Authur's Having read a couple of Ms. Valentine's other short stories, I knew what to expect when starting this. Still though, some of the stories are VERY short. A few of these can be purchased by themselves for ninety nine cents a piece, but I recommend just getting this collection. Some of the stories are maybe 10-15 pages long (Kindle pages...which are MUCH shorter), so I'd be annoyed to have spent a dollar for so few pages. The story I expected to like the least turned out to be my favorite; Authur's Story. It's the longest of the bunch, so maybe that's why I liked it so much...it's the most developed, and the sweetest. Some of these were so short that when I finished reading the book, I'd forgotten about them completely till I came here to review this and saw the story list. 'Mardi Gras Was Over' was just a handful of pages, as was 'Homemade Pie & Sausage', both of which were pretty unremarkable (the latter was actually kinda nasty). 'Killing Julie Morris' and 'An Old Fashioned Murder' were also short, but interesting...I liked those. Overall, I absolutely recommend this. Is it a great work of literature? Of course not, but it is a decent way to kill a few hours. For someone who doesn't normally read mysteries, I'm kinda surprised by how much Ms. Valentine has grown on me. I'm glad to have come across her stuff!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Naomi

    Kathleen Valentine’s book Love, Murder, Etc. is a perfect example of why I am not a fan of short stories. I have read both of Ms. Valentine’s other books, Each Angel Burns and The Old Mermaid’s Tale and was sucked into both stories from page one! This book was no exception. The only problem with this book is that the stories moved to quickly to savor the full breadth of each of the character’s development, which is Ms. Valentine’s forte. Although, I wouldn’t not recommend reading this book, I wo Kathleen Valentine’s book Love, Murder, Etc. is a perfect example of why I am not a fan of short stories. I have read both of Ms. Valentine’s other books, Each Angel Burns and The Old Mermaid’s Tale and was sucked into both stories from page one! This book was no exception. The only problem with this book is that the stories moved to quickly to savor the full breadth of each of the character’s development, which is Ms. Valentine’s forte. Although, I wouldn’t not recommend reading this book, I would encourage readers to follow it up with the author’s other two works, which are superb 5 star reads!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Wendy T

    I have a hard time reading short stories, because it seems that they are just starting to get interesting and they are done. I enjoyed these short stories.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Brittany Farrell

  6. 4 out of 5

    Frana Schulte

  7. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

  8. 4 out of 5

    Rick-Founder JM CM BOOK CLUB

  9. 4 out of 5

    Scoozer

  10. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kme_17

  12. 5 out of 5

    Vicki

  13. 4 out of 5

    Linda Boyd

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jan

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Wardrip

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mary C

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sandi

  18. 4 out of 5

    Christine Hatfield

  19. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Schultheisz

  20. 4 out of 5

    Aimée O'Brien

  21. 5 out of 5

    Annee

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