‘OxCrimes’, introduced by Ian Rankin

OxCrimes, introduced by Ian Rankin, Profile Books, RRP£9.99, 464 pages

The blurb on the jacket of OxCrimes promises “27 killer stories from the cream of crime writers”, and (with a few lacklustre exceptions) that is what is delivered here, with several of the starry contributors on rare form.

The collection, with an introduction by Ian Rankin, is the latest in a series of Oxfam fundraisers. And it is DI Rebus’s creator who supplies one of the edgiest pieces here. “An Afternoon”, set during a violent football game and involving a veteran cop, is a vignette about the birth of criminality in a man.

Distinctly quirky offerings come from writers such as Icelander Yrsa Sigurdardóttir and the British author Christopher Fowler, while American master George Pelecanos kicks off the collection with a powerfully idiomatic story featuring his signature character, private eye Nick Stefanos. And with such writers as James Sallis, John Harvey and Denise Mina on board, this is a cherishable collection.

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