"A Murder of Crows" Edited by Sandra Murphy: Review/Giveaway

by Daisy Pettles

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review and a link to purchase it.

If words had wings, I’d rate this collection of short mystery fiction a true Exaltation of Larks. Witty and tightly crafted, the collection as whole sent my mind on a lofty and enjoyable flight into the sneaky, darker tweets of the human heart. If you already know what an Exaltation of Larks is, you’ll thoroughly enjoy, as I did, Darkhouse Books newest release of mystery shorts, A Murder of Crows.

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Each story in this collection is spun around the collective behavior or name for a specific group of animals. And each is as cleverly crafted as their titles suggest, beginning with a “Trickle of Tarantulas.” “Tarantulas,” by Jack Bates, is set on a movie stage during Hollywood’s Big Studio Heyday in the dark days of espionage leading up to World War I.
Image Source Darkhorse Books

Masterfully edited, the collection includes several satisfying nods to classical mystery set-ups of the golden days of noir. “The Blue Wolf,” by John M. Floyd, is carefully pruned around a premise – a mysterious collection of animals kept by an odd recluse on a cloistered island – that in tone harks back to H.G. Wells classic, “The Island of Doctor Moreau.” Trust me, you won’t see the ending coming, but when it does, it will bite you with the power of wicked, well-crafted storytelling.

“Arsenic and Old Lace” fans will enjoy “Touch Not the Cat,” by Jacqueline Sewald, where a newly minted young lawyer gets tangled up with crazy, tea-drinking old lady neighbors who adore their cats. The plot thickens when the cats come into conflict with a curmudgeon who apparently feels otherwise about both felines and his own wife.

If you have a favorite animal, chances are a story in this collection has been crafted just for you. Alpacas, bats, martens, bears, goldfish, koalas, canaries, goats, and colly birds run amok, but of course, in the end, the most devious of all animals remains the human.

A Murder of Crows is a surprisingly well-woven nest of mystery and mayhem on par with what you would expect to find inside the best serialized short fiction today. If you enjoy wading into Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and the likes of Ellery Queen, roll up your mental pant cuffs and spend an afternoon or two splashing through this delightful collection of cleverly stitched-together short stories.

The other authors in this anthology are Michael Bracken, Jeanne DuBois, Kaye George, EJ McFall, Kari Wainwright, Heidi Hunter, Kathryn Gerwig, Earl Staggs, Marianne Wilski Strong, Damien Mckeating, C.A. Fehmel, Linda Kay Hardie, Helen O’Neill, Shielia J. Rizer, Maddi Davidson, Denise Johnson, Sandra Murphy, and J.B. Toner.

To enter to win a copy of A Murder of Crows, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "crows,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen December 28, 2019. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! Several of the authors in this anthology have had stories featured on the podcast. The latest 2 episodes are Christmas mystery short stories!

You can use this link to purchase the book. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Opens to author website

Daisy Pettles’ humorous cozy series, the Shady Hoosier Detective Agency, set in fictional Pawpaw County, Indiana, won the 2019 Gold Medal as Best Humor Book from the Indie Reader, The Next Generation Indie Book Awards, and the American Fiction Awards. Book 1: Ghost Busting Mystery, is available as a free audiobook podcast at daisypettles.podbean.com. She invites you to listen and laugh along online. Visit her anytime at www.daisypettles.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. Sounds like a great anthology! Count me in!

  2. I enjoyed reading the review and thanks for mentioning my story "Touch Not the Cat." Sandra Murphy is a fine editor and great to work with. Lots of good stories in the anthology and well worth the price. A good gift for the holidays.

  3. Sounds like a fascinating anthology. Would really like to read.

  4. Would love to read this!. Usersns8800@aol

  5. In the New Year, I'm making it a goal to read more short stories and anthologies! kimheniadis at gmail dot com

  6. This sounds like an intriguing, captivating anthology. Thank you for the chance!

  7. New to me!!! Thanks this sounds great! nani_geplcs(at)yahoo(dot)com

  8. This sounds interesting.


  9. Sounds great! Thanks for the chance. JL_Minter(at)hotmail(dot)com

  10. Sounds interesting and intriguing and fun to read. Thank you for the chance


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