In the House of Secret Enemies - George C. Chesbro (1990)

In the House of Secret Enemies is a collection of short stories featuring "Mongo the Magnificent", the hero of a fairly extensive series of mystery books (including The Fear in Yesterday's Rings previously reviewed here.) Several of the stories were later expanded or incorporated into Mongo novels. The result is that this is probably not a good introduction to Mongo or the books. Which is not to say that they aren't good stories, because they are, rather Mongo lends himself better to novel length works, and the stories give away plot bits that Chesbro recycles. If, however, you've already read the novels (or at least An Affair of Sorcerors which is where most of the stories end up), the book is a fascinating insight into one man's artistic process. You can read and see how the ideas are born, mature and change, and eventually grow into a novel.

As with most Chesbro, the writing is good and the characters interesting. The plotting here is not his strongest, though, another reason why it is more for the Mongo completist than the newcomer.

Overall Grade: C

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