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Manhattan Mayhem, edited by Mary Higgins Clark, is a collection of seventeen short stories that meet two requirements—they’re set in New York and are chock-full of mystery.

I know many people who won’t go near a short story collection; they pick up a book, flip through, and recoil as they realize their mistake.  I’ve never been sure why this is.  Maybe we want more of a commitment; maybe short stories remind us too much of the literature we were forced to read again and again in high school.  Whatever the reason, short stories actually have more of a place in our fast-paced culture than ever before.  On a lunch break?  Read a story.  Stuck in the doctor’s waiting room?  Read another.

The setting in Manhattan Mayhem is intriguing enough; it’s one of the most famous areas of the world, not to mention a breeding ground for the creative arts.  The authors, though, bring just as much to the table.  Big names like Lee Child, Thomas Cook, and S.J. Rozan make an appearance.  Though all are known for their work in mystery, the tailored writing styles weaving together in this series offers a great contrast.  Some stories take place during World War II while others happen in modern-day; some focus on character more than plot, or vice versa.  Such a collection guarantees that, while you probably won’t like every story offered, there will be something to enjoy.

If you decide it’s worth getting out of your bubble to read short fiction (and I promise it is), try The Tsar and Love and Techno  (great for history buffs), Fortune Smiles (for those who like edgier works), or Short and Shivery (if you want to give yourself a reason to not be able to sleep at night).  Whether it’s with Manhattan Mayhem or another collection, short stories are brief enough to be worth a try.

Thanks for reading. –Autumn

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