During the period when Shelly Reuben was investigating arson as a private detective and certified fire investigator, she came across individuals and events that tantalized her mind and touched her heart. Add to that an indelible belief that, even if virtue does not always triumph, it will eventually manage to hobble, stumble or stride across the finish line, and you have these eleven stories. Originally published in The Forensic Examiner and The Evening Sun.
Within the pages of Dabbling in Crime, meet:
Dante No-Last-Name-No-Middle-Initial, a throwaway kid hiding under a music school staircase, with a damaged heart and the talent of a virtuoso violinist.
Wealthy, beloved Jimmy Lillyjohn, burned to death on the top floor of his mansion after a lighted cigarette falls from his fingers onto his lonely mattress.
Mountainous, mean-spirited Hilda Pomfrey, who bullies everyone in her sphere, including her tree-loving, milquetoast husband Herb.
Police Chief Joseph Steinbeck, who reluctantly participates in a library event, and is almost murdered when he is checked out as a “Human Book.”
Prosecutor Edward Nygh, who hides evidence of arson to convict the wrong man.
Nygh’s assistant reluctant assistant who travels through time to right a wrong.
Praise for Dabbling in Crime
Reuben, with her crafty word play, emotional insight and abundance of extraordinarily dimensional characters major and minor, employs the short story for an exploration of ironic twists in human connections. Devious and illuminating. Jules Brenner: Critical Mystery Tour
This collection is fascinating for any number of reasons, but the characters I found most unforgettable were those who, when blindsided by some horrible event, retained their strength of character, and did not sink into a sea of pessimism or become cynical about human nature. Albert Ashforth: Author of The Rendition and On Edge
Dabbling in Crime delivers realistic, poignant and original stories dominated by thoughtful and complicated emotions. A pleasure to read. Tony Rutherford: News/Entertainment Editor-HuntingtonNews.Net
Shelly Reuben leads you up the ladder of suspense only to quickly pull it out from under you with her skillful twists and turns. When I finished the first story, I felt like I’d been up that ladder and then crashed. Her stories are a siren’s call you can’t resist. Mason Canyon: Thoughts in Progress.