STRANGE TALES OF THE CURIOUSLY UNCOMMON by Andrew Bliss (2012, Vacancy Books)
These short stories by Andrew Bliss are worth the afternoon it takes to read them. Dark and amusing, they are all set in present day London. Which ties then to a specific locale, but can make reading them difficult for the *ahem* Thames challenged. Also illustrated with some wicked photographs.
The collection begins with “An Honest Mistake”. A working class couple are having a family argument. The husband is a lout and his wife forgetful. It all ends rather dramatically. Oh, yes: a mouse is involved.
“A Familiar Face” has two women meeting at tea shop. One has just lost her husband of many years. But she’s more horrified at what was found hidden away.
“A Slip of the Tongue” will be familiar to anyone who’s ever had to deal with sexual harassment. A secretary at a law firm has to ward off her lustful superior. He hasn’t made any overt advances, but he does have a way with words. All of which will lead to his undoing.
“An Embarrassing Odour” details the encounter between a thief and a widow. One day she finds her home invaded by a local burglar, but the widow has a few tricks ready for him. An amusing conclusion, which I almost figured out in advance.
Finally, there’s “A Stunning Confession”. Another married couple are having a quiet evening at home. Secrets are told. It’s all quite funny how they are revealed, but I’m not sure I got the point of the story. Maybe this is what the author intended.
A good little collection and sample of Mr. Bliss’ work.