|As noted here, I’m commenting daily on the WMG Holiday Spectacular—which is a great project that releases a story every day. These might be reviews. Or not. They might be interesting. Or … um … not. They will be fun, though. For me, at least.
Here’s the next story.
“The Case of the Disappearing Gingerbread City”
I liked “The Case of the Disappearing Gingerbread City” quite a bit, though I can’t really say why. It’s not the kind of story I usually reach for—which is part of the fun of this kind of project I suppose, and is maybe why I enjoyed it as much as I did. Stretching one’s zone is a recipe for finding surprise. The story’s introduction suggests it will see print in the “Weird” section of the Holiday Spectacular anthologies. I can’t really see why that would be, either. I mean, it’s not weird. It’s Norwegian. Maybe that’s weird enough? I don’t know. It’s not my job to answer these questions. It’s my job to read. So that’s what I’m doing.
Anyway, what “The Case of the Disappearing Gingerbread City” is is the kind of mystery/detective story I’ll categorize as small-town cozy detective—an Andy Griffith meets Angela Lansbury kind of thing with a ginger-grit underlayer. I won’t give more detail because to do so would give the premise away, and the premise is both important to the story and a lot of fun. Maybe that’s why I liked it so much. I still can’t say.
As one does while reading detective fiction, my mind speculated where the story was going as it went along, and in the end—though I was right (kind of), and though that “being right” will often cause me to be unhappy with a story—I was still smiling. Maybe this is why I enjoyed it? I don’t know. It’s a story bigger than its plot, though, with commentary made on bigger issues of community and belonging. There is character-based intrigue to divert attention, and a resolution that fits.
So, yeah. I’m not really a big cozy detective story kind of guy, but I found myself enjoying the ride.
When I finished I went to Google and did some learning about Bergen, where the story is set. That learning added real-world spice to events that surround the tale. While I don’t think that additional learning helped me like the story more (the story stands on its own, thank you very much), it does probably mean I won’t long forget it.
And that is a good thing.
You can read “The Case of the Disappearing Gingerbread City” free for the next week at R.W. Wallace’s site. I suggest you do so, but maybe come armed with some cookies and a glass of milk.