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Review of A Green and Ancient Light by Frederic S. Durbin

Reviewed by Donald S. Crankshaw.

DISCLOSURE: I’ve met Frederic Durbin at a few cons, and consider him a friend.


Some mysteries are action-filled, the protagonist moving from crisis to crisis, always just a step ahead of catastrophe while the unexplained events pile up, until the last critical clue unlocks the whole mystery. Others are more sedate, where the clues are gathered bit by bit, put together like a puzzle.

A Green and Ancient Light by Frederic S. Durbin is not a murder mystery, either hardboiled or cozy. It is, however, a mystery, and in its telling it resembles the cozy rather than the hardboiled subgenre. Though it takes place during a war, there are no gunfights, and the only explosion is a downed enemy plane early in the novel. Instead, the conflicts are social, the nosy neighbors and suspicious military attempting to uncover what an old woman and her grandson are hiding in an overgrown garden filled with stone myths.

The story is a grown man’s recollection of the spring an…

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