A fantasy writer is very good at what he does, it all seems quite real. A critic friend of his likes his most recent book and is curious about the worlds he describes--too curious. The problem is that writing books is just a sideline of his real job; a job that can't stand scrutiny.
The characters are adequate, the description and plotting mediocre, and the tale too important to risk the distraction of a woman.
A translation of a Hungarian folk tale. Filcsik is a poor, lazy, boot-maker who disowns his only daughter when she refuses to marry the man he chose for her. She elopes instead, does well for herself, and tries to get back in her father's good graces.
Filcsik is a good character, and the ending was an interesting surprise.
A countess's daughter wishes to marry a penniless man, Ernest de Restaud. The countess's lawyer knows a great deal about the man's family, especially the excesses of his mother, Anastasie (the daughter from the novel Father Goriot.) His story involves an old pawnbroker/moneylender named Gobseck and the family's dealings with him.
All the characters are real and each demonstrates his or her own "version" of honor and honesty. The plot moves inexorably to one ending, then another, then another.
Any other writer would need 250 pages to tell this story.
A mystery set near Stonehenge of a woman going to the manor house to meet her fiancé's mother. She finds a witchy mother-in-law, an Australian aborigine, and snakes. Lots of snakes. No squeaking hinges or creaking stairs, though.
A pretty good story of its type, for some reason I couldn't hear any of the characters speaking with an English accent.