Straight, Bent and Barbara Vine

Garry Disher

Allen & Unwin 1997
A book review by Danny Yee © 2005
The twelve crime stories in this collection by Australian writer Garry Disher are divided into three sections. "Straight" refers to form and style rather than subject; it includes two stories featuring art thief Wyatt, one of Disher's regular protagonists, and one about a crooked policeman. "Bent" contains stories where the author or the writing process intrude, or which make fun of genre conventions. And "Barbara Vine" offers some psychological mysteries. As a bonus, Disher includes a brief introduction in which he talks about writing crime fiction.

Some of the stories work better than others, but none are duds. The characters are an interesting assortment and as well developed as is possible in short stories. And Disher conveys a good sense of place, whether it be Melbourne, the setting of most of his stories, Australian country towns and resorts, or in one case Venice.

December 2005

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%T Straight, Bent and Barbara Vine
%A Disher, Garry
%I Allen & Unwin
%D 1997
%O paperback
%G ISBN 1864485248
%P 254pp