Tales from the Folly: A Rivers of London Short Story Collection, by by Ben Aaronovitch

October 3, 2021

Tales from the Folly: A Rivers of London Short Story Collection by Ben Aaronovitch

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I was actually wary of reading this – I don’t generally enjoy short stories and, even worse, the latest instalment in this series, False Value, was a severe disappointment.

Thus, I was happy to find out that these short stories feature the same dry humour and sarcasm that made especially the first books such a joy to read.

»I’ve actually done controlled laboratory experiments that indicate that he can detect magical activity up to ten metres away, although false positives can be generated by cats, other dogs and the remote possibility of a sausage.«
(About Toby, the supernatural police Wonder Dog)

The writing is Aaronovitch at his best; in my favourite story “A Dedicated Follower of Fashion” his fantasy literally overflows, blooms and flowers and simply explodes in the best of ways:

»I, on the other hand, found myself increasingly drawn to the cellar door. Especially when it started to flower. It started with a spray of cotton around the door frame, overlapping triangular leaves of white and navy-blue cotton that stuck to the bricks of the wall as if they’d been glued in place.«

We also get to meet Abigail again whom I’d already found to be a very enjoyable addition and who proceeds to cement this position in “Favourite Uncle” by completely being herself.

»Still I traded the make up at school and keep the case to house my specimen collection kit. And some of the Mac cosmetics that Bev gave me later.«

With the “Moments” – short stories so short (and uninspired) they couldn’t stand on their own – an unfortunate exception, all the stories are truly fun, sometimes relatable but always surprisingly enjoyable.

This is not one of those collections of short stories to squeeze out another few cents out of us but pure, delightful Folly – with all the full authentic vibes.

Five out of five stars!

»Then the children’s section had been moved upstairs and the poor little deity started to feel unloved. ‘Just one of those things,’ I said. ‘But what am I supposed to do about it,’ he asked. ‘Sacrifice a goat?’ ‘About once a week somebody has to sit down and read it a book,’ I said. ‘What kind of book?’ ‘It’s not the book that’s important,’ I said. ‘It’s the reading.’«




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