Dabbling in Crime

Death of a Violinist and Other Stories

Fiction - Mystery - General
222 Pages
Reviewed on 09/09/2016
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite

Dabbling in Crime: Death of a Violinist and Other Stories is an intriguing and fascinating collection of short stories by Shelly Reuben. The collection starts with the story of a young violinist, a prodigy aptly named by the narrator (a New York cop) as Dante no-last-name no-middle-initial. The Super Bowl fan, who also thinks Frank Sinatra was a bully, doesn't really apologize for his lack of finesse in terms of storytelling, for he is a cop who's good at writing reports and testifying in criminal court. Dante is an unexpected enigma, and the narrator recalls how the young man touches people’s hearts and lives with his violin playing skills.

Then there’s the sweet, nostalgic and educational story about a dedicated teacher, Elizabeth Fox, and her favorite student, Mickey Dove, in ‘A Terrible Thing to Do.’ My favorites are ‘Mrs. Pomfrey’s Elderberry Wine,’ a story about mean-spirited Hilda and her timid husband, and ‘Hero Worship Eyes,’ a great story with a twist that I didn't see coming.

I don’t want to give away all the substance of this anthology, but I can guarantee that the multidimensional characters will transfix readers with their seemingly peculiar but relatable stories. These are characters that I know I could find in the real world, and some of them resemble people that I have encountered in life. There are insightful and valuable lessons that readers can take away from each tale. Overall, this is a thought-provoking and commendable work from Reuben and I’m definitely interested to read her other works.