I normally dislike short stories. I feel that there is usually not enough substance and there isn't enough time to develop characters. The book that I normally read usually are over 500 pages and closer to 1000 pages is the norm. However, I decided to try this one because I like Frederick Forsyth. There are 3 stories, all of them page turners. The author keeps your attention from the beginning to the end. Once started it is very difficult to put it down.
I have always been a fan of Forsyth, but this collection of five short stories, culminating with "Whispering Wind is just excellent.
A collection of short stories, mini mysteries
Lucid, vivid and delightfully readable, Forsyth is a master word-spinner and a master of meticulous detail.
I read it awhile back and forgot that I had - Read it again. Great short stories: especially the VETERAN, the Art of The MATTER, and WHISPERING WIND.
On a grimy sidewalk in a defeated neighborhood, an old man is beaten to death. When a cop investigates, he finds two killers and a startling legacy of honor ... In a prestigious London art gallery an impoverished actor is swindled out of a fortune-until an eccentric appraiser hatches a delicious scheme for revenge... On an airplane high over war-torn Afghanistan, a passenger sends a note to the plane's captain, warning of suspicious behavior. But no one can guess who is really conspiring aboard the 747, or why...
Penzler Pick, September 2001: Frederick Forsyth is known as the bestselling author of classic thrillers such as The Day of the Jackal and The Odessa File, among others. He is far less known as one of our premier short story writers (even though he won an Edgar for "There Are No Snakes in Ireland"), so it is a pleasure to have a new book from this superb storyteller.
"The Veteran" tells the story of an incident in one of the seedier parts of London. A Ugandan shopkeeper witnesses the mugging of a middle-aged man by two thugs. The shopkeeper has a perfect view of the crime so, when the man dies of his injuries, it would appear that the two thugs, now up on a murder charge, will be convicted. But justice does not always come easily, and it comes in many guises.
"The Art of the Matter" recounts an ingenious and deliciously satisfying art scam. The twists and turns are breathlessly entertaining and just when you think it's over, there's one more way for the bad guys to get their comeuppance. "The Miracle" tells the story of an American couple in Siena on their way to a festival. They are stopped when a stranger tells them the story of the courtyard in which they stand. Some very wonderful things happened right there during the Second World War. Will the couple get to the festival? Will they care?
"The Citizen" is a heart-stopping suspense story set on board a flight from Bangkok to London. We get to know the flight crew and some of the passengers very well, and they are not all who they might appear to be. And "Whispering Wind," the longest story in the book, is a very ambitious piece about the Battle of Little Big Horn and what came later for several of the participants.
Each of the stories in this volume is Forsyth in top form. The writing exceeds expectations, the stories are never less than compelling, and the suspense in each of them is nonstop. --Otto Penzler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Library Journal
This collection of four short stories and a novella may disappoint readers expecting one of Forsyth's international thrillers but not anyone looking for a good read. What is surprising is the thematic and geographical range of these pieces, all narrated in a solid realist style with sharply observed detail and engrossing, sometimes surprising plots. Always suspenseful, the stories take us into disparate worlds. "The Veteran" features London thugs, the police, and the courts, whereas "The Art of the Matter," a highly entertaining tale of revenge, delves into the world of auction houses. "The Miracle," which takes us to an Italian hill town during World War II, is related as if by a medieval fabulist but with its own modern twist, while "The Citizen," perhaps the least successful story, portrays drug smuggling via an airline flight. Most startling of all is "Whispering Wind," Forsyth's tale of the Indian wars in 1876, in which we discover that a frontier scout survived the massacre at the Little Bighorn. The scout's love for a Cheyenne woman, a magical tale that spans two different historical periods, makes for compulsive reading. Recommended for all collections of popular fiction.