Review: Detective Stories

Arthur Winfield Knight
Short story
16 pages
4” x 5 ½” short story chapbook
Free Books
Lowell, Michigan
Review originally published on 2/26/10

The title makes this little book seem like it’s going to have several stories in it, but it’s just one short story, called “Detective Stories,” about a writer hired to find a man’s past three wives in pursuit of an annulment. The writer basically comes to the conclusion that the women, two of whom he finds, just don’t want to be found and that he is:

liv[ing] in the shadow of other people’s sorrow,

for which he has no taste to continue in its lonely grasp.

The writing is a bit disjointed and jumps around a lot; I wasn’t quite sure what was happening for half of the story, but overall, it’s just a lighthearted little story about having to do the things in life that make you happy and breaking away from the things that don’t. A sample:

“[ … ] I only asked him for three things when we split: a skirt a recently deceased aunt made, a jewelry box my dad gave me, and a book about tips for the kitchen. I had them all before we were married, so they weren’t even community property.” Her voice rose, echoing in the bar, which was cellar-like. “He wouldn’t return anything, even though I’d tried to be as kind to him as possible. I called his sister, who lived near us, and told her, ‘Be nice to Mark; his marriage just broke,’ after I sent him on his way.

There are a couple of misspellings in here, but I think this press just prints all free books as a self-described “non-profit organization dedicated to the free distribution of literature.” Can’t complain about that!