When a Stranger Comes to Town

Hanover Square: Harlequin. Apr. 2021. 352p. ed. by Michael Koryta. ISBN 9781335141477. $27.99. M
This edition of the Mystery Writers of America short-story anthology is based on a classic mystery trope: “when a stranger comes to town.” The 19 stories are by very different authors, some using suspense while others lean toward crime. Alafair Burke takes readers into the skies in “Seat 2C,” where a halt in travel gives a wealthy young woman time to consider how well she really knows her fiancé. In editor Koryta’s “P.F.A,” a young couple moves into a well-to-do neighborhood and receives unwanted attention from the narcissist next door. “Exit Now,” by Emilya Naymark, and “Relative Stranger,” by Amanda Witt, are takes on mistaken identity, one set in a corrupt carnival town and the other in a peaceful farmhouse. These stories expose the unease and anxiety an unknown entity can bring into our everyday lives.
VERDICT These stories by well-known authors span a wide range under the umbrella of “mystery.” Mystery enthusiasts will be hard-pressed to find a story they don’t like. Recommended for readers interested in all facets of mystery, suspense, crime, or detective fiction.
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