Why Not a Book of Short Stories?

Mar 17, 2021 | 2021 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Radine Trees Nehring

Advice? Just like in most professions, a lot of advice is available to writers.

One oft-repeated bit of advice offered to writers during many past years was “Don’t bother with a book of short stories. They don’t sell.”

Okay with me. I didn’t plan to write short stories anyway.

Oh, I did end up writing a few, since, now and then, I received a request to submit a short story for a fund-raising anthology or to showcase the talents of the members of a writers’ organization I belonged to. Over a period of probably fifteen years I wrote and sold four short stories and one novella to organizations. But a whole book? No. I thought the “for a cause” anthologies must be the exception to the black mark against books of short stories.

Then, within the period of a little over two years, the head of the company that had published my eighth novel, the publicist I had worked with for many years, and my tech specialist and business manager (my husband, John) died. For over a year after that I wrote nothing at all. Though I continued to promote and sell my existing books, I had no interest in writing anything but emails and blogs. I thought my writing career was over.

But the state of Arkansas and the two major characters in all my novels would not let me alone. Carrie McCrite and Henry King, the major characters in all my mystery novels, along with their neighbors and friends in Blackberry Hollow, were still with me. Not only that, their possible adventures in several locations I was quite familiar with kept popping up inside my head. What now?

That blinding white gallows enclosure at Fort Smith National Historic Site. The rusty red truck John and I had found during a woodland walk off our road. And, what about Ozark Folk Center State Park? Though I could not drive myself there alone now, John and I had loved visiting there many times over the years, and, why couldn’t I visit in fiction? Just think…?

The statement from a reader at one of my book events hit me like a bombshell. “I am looking for books of short stories. I don’t really have time to commit to a long book these days but can relax with a short story and read it all after supper. I now find most of the short stories I read in magazines.”

I questioned her. “Several of the people in my office feel the same way,” she said. “Your stories sound good, but why don’t you write a whole book of short stories about those people? I’d even buy extras for a few of my friends.”

I wrote down her contact information.

And that, my Kings River Life Magazine friends, is how Solving Peculiar Crimes began.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. A new episode just went up.

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Radine Trees Nehring’s broadcast and writing career began when she fell in love with the Arkansas Ozarks and wanted to share that love with others. Her magazine and newspaper articles, radio broadcasts, and the multi-award winning Carrie and Henry detective novels and short stories, (plus her environmental writing), bring readers the gift of compelling adventures featuring right, wrong, and redemption. Oh yes, crime-stopping too. Learn more at www.radinesbooks.com.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. Love that Carrie McCrite! I’ve followed her through all the “To Die For” series, and she and Henry’s chemistry gets even better in these short story gems. I love being able to sit down to a “who dunnit” without ending up thinking “I wish they hadn’t done it.” Radine’s stories always lift me up!

  2. It isn’t necessary to “know” Carrie and Henry through the “To Die For” series in order to thoroughly enjoy every story – and to appreciate the lessons learned … “featuring right, wrong, and redemption.” I love that the author chose the not-often-used word “peculiar” for the title.

    • I loved each and every story. Amazing how an entire mystery was packed into well written and engaging short stories. I hope there will be another!!

  3. I really enjoyed the stories and was impressed that an entire mystery was unraveled and solved in a short story. I couldn’t put the book down and hope there will be another !!


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