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The Quality of Mercy
In Claytemple Fiction
Benjamin Dyson
Nov 24, 2019
Just did a first read of this story. I really enjoyed it. The noir fiction tropes were warm and familiar to me. The worldbuilding mostly consisted of hints which left me wanting to know more (in a good way). I also like the way that the weird fiction elements were understated and more like "hints" as well, forcing my imagination to fill in some of how the world might work. Overall a really fun read. In grasping for some constructive feedback, only a couple of moments came to mind for me. 1) I wonder if the relationship between Henslowe and the main gangster guy could have benefitted from a little more development (it seemed a rapid change from Henslowe being thrown out of an office to the antagonist enlisting his aid). Not enough of a problem to ruin the story, but seemed sudden or possibly even out of character for a somewhat ruthless gangland ruler guy. Of course at the end we learn that there is some emotional depth to that character, but the story is to brief to make it clear in the moment I think? 2) Since this is detective fiction, I wonder if it would have been fun to have a little more time with Henslowe agonizing over the physical evidence. Specifically, we get a quick reference to three blackmail letters, but sadly no scene where the detective sits in a smokey bar reading them, free-associating, and wondering about what they mean. Again, not essential, but just seemed missing for me. Keep writing these stories, I must know more about this world!
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