None of the internal narrators are at all reliable: those in "Missing" and "Crewe" are clearly far from candid, while "The Almond Tree" comes through the filter of early childhood memory. The mystery elements of the stories are psychological as well as of the more direct "what happened" kind: in "Missing" the still unexplained disappearance of the narrator's lodger a year ago, in "The Almond Tree" a child's perspective on his father's infidelity, with a twist, and in "Crewe" a conflict between domestic servants who are possible benefactors of a will. They are unsettling in what remains unresolved but at the same time satisfying, with a psychological settlement involving the framing story.
Three stories is a good number to give a feel for an author without being intimidating: I was unlikely to have tackled, cold, the three volumes of Walter de la Mare's collected stories, but this slim volume may well lead me to those. It would have been good to have had some guidance as to how representative these particular stories are, however. Missing does include a brief introduction by Russell Hoban, but that is a teaser for the stories and doesn't offer much broader background on de la Mare or his oeuvre.
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