Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Earl Staggs Reviews: From Hay To Eternity: Ten Devilish Tales of Crime and Deception by Sandra Murphy

It has been a very long time since Earl Staggs came by with a review. Today he reviews the new short story collection, From Hay To Eternity: Ten Devilish Tales of Crime and Deception by Sandra Murphy.

In the ten stories in this collection, Sandra Murphy exhibits her deliciously inventive imagination to create stories and memorable characters which will involve you and entertain you from beginning to end.

Here's a sampling.

In “Superstition,” a woman ponders them all:  stepping on a crack, walking under a ladder, a black cat crossing your path,  three black birds on your roof mean death, and more.  What is real and what is foolish imagination and silliness?  Once she figures it out, she knows what she must do. 

“The Chicken Pot Pie Fiasco,” concerns a large quirky family in the process of preparing their own traditional Thanksgiving meal. In this family, it's a huge chicken pot pie.  Our narrator, who manages too observe it all without getting involved due to his “stealth,” explains, “There’s one big pie, and if there’s some of the inside stuff left over, there are little pies for later. I like that part.”   Everyone adds their own favorite ingredients, but a surprise ingredient somehow gets added which no one expected.

For “The Space Heater vs. the Window Fan,” we meet a woman who only needs to get dressed and prettied up for her sister's wedding. Unfortunately, every necessary machine, from her computer to the local laundromat's equipment, refuses to cooperate and do its part, culminating in a major struggle with one particularly stubborn appliance.

The title story, “From Hay to Eternity,” takes on a darker turn and gives us a murder mystery.  It begins with the driver announcing, “Welcome to the hayride. Listen up! Find a seat on the bench or one of the hay bales and hold on. Our horse, Sam, sometimes rocks the wagon when he starts, but it will be a smooth ride after that.”

Riders on the haywagon include a cross section of local parents and children, along with a pair of feuding brothers and an attention-grabbing teenage girl wearing tiny cut-off jeans and a tight top  designed to “show what your momma gave you.”  Her goal is to turn the hayride into a photo op which will make her the next supermodel.  She has no idea that one photo will turn the hayride into something other than a smooth ride.  

There are six more stories in this collection and each one is a delightful gem. Sandra Murphy is an author to watch. Her stories will not disappoint.

·      Print Length: 90 pages
·      Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
·      Publisher: Untreed Reads (May 25, 2017)
·      Publication Date: May 25, 2017
·      Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
·      Language: English
·      ASIN: B0714MY8CD

Earl Staggs © 2017

Texas author Earl Staggs earned all Five Star reviews for his novels MEMORY OF A MURDER and JUSTIFIED ACTION and has twice received a Derringer Award for Best Short Story of the Year. He served as Managing Editor of Futures Mystery Magazine, as President of the Short Mystery Fiction Society, and is a frequent speaker at conferences and seminars.

He invites any comments via email at earlstaggs@sbcglobal.net

He also invites you to visit his blog site at http://earlwstaggs.wordpress.com to learn more about his novels and stories.


Maddy said...

Sounds like a fun 'ride.' Thank you.

authorlindathorne said...

I used to avoid short story collections and stuck with mystery novels, but I've read some good collections since by several authors and have learned to appreciate the mystery short story collection. This sounds like a good one and they seem to be becoming more popular. Enjoyed this. Thank you.

Susan Oleksiw said...

I enjoy short stories in part because they give me the opportunity to see the writer's particular kind of imagination. This sounds like a good collection.

Earl Staggs said...

Sandra Murphy's collection is definitely a fun ride, Maddy. And for only 99 cents, it's a real bargain.

Earl Staggs said...

All indications are that short stories are becoming more popular every day, Linda, and many fine writers are coming out with them. Modesty prevents me from mentioning that a collection of mine is available also. ;-)

Earl Staggs said...

Short stories, Susan, are a great way to get a feel for an author without making a larger investment for a book. I also like the variety of stories found in a collection or anthology.