Waiter! There’s a Clue in My Soup, by Camille Leguire (40:00)

IOD score cardToday we see that readers are more likely to accept a large bundle of facts if they’re presented in a natural way.

What I gleaned about the stories: Throughout history, getting take-away food has vastly increased a person’s chance of being a victim of crime.

Find this book on Kobo.

Note: This is a short story collection, so the rules are slightly different from standard Immerse or Die: instead of reading on every time I lose immersion, I stop reading that story and move on to the next one. As usual, I stop reading after the third WTF.

WTF #1: Puzzling internal navigation item

Analysis: Two lines below the table of contents, I encountered a “back to Table of Contents” link. I tend to navigate using my ereader’s contents feature, so don’t need an inline link at the end of sections to return me to the contents page, but don’t find their presence distracting. However, the idea of a link to return me to where I currently was brought me to a halt: why would someone do that? There wasn’t a link after the title or copyright sections, so it wasn’t simply an artefact of pasting text into a boilerplate wrapper. But I couldn’t think of a reason why you’d want to return to the table of contents before you’d reached the next section.

With no apparent good reason to counter my concern that other, more serious, formatting puzzlers awaited me, I moved on.

Kudo #1: Seamless exposition

Analysis: The first story opens with a police detective joining his superior in a diner to discuss a case. While these paragraphs contain a large amount of providing the reader with facts, both the overall setting of one person telling another about something, and the author’s use of interjections, digressions, jumps back to a prior event to follow another thread, and other traits of natural conversation, pack a large amount of exposition in without it feeling forced or tedious.

Kudo #2: Pleasing revelation of evidence

Analysis: There are two broad categories of mystery: ones where the reader is provided with all the evidence they need to reach the truth before it’s revealed, but can be fooled by the author’s delivery; and ones where the detective announces the truth and then reveals a key piece of evidence that isn’t inconsistent with previous narration but was never revealed to the reader. Frequent readers of these reports will know I vastly prefer the former. While there is one instance of key evidence appearing only a few sentences before the truth is revealed, the reader is given everything they need to play along at home.

Take the Pepsi Challenge: Want to know if my own writing measures up? Download one of these free short stories, in the format of your choice, and decide for yourself.

Trio: Three Short Stories, by Danielle de Valera (1:00)
Momentary Stasis, by P.R. Adams (40:00)

About the author

Dave Higgins has worked in law and IT for both public and private sector organisations. When not pursuing these hobbies, he writes poetry and speculative fiction. He was born in Wiltshire, England. Raised by a librarian, he started reading shortly after birth and has not stopped since. He currently lives in Bristol with his wife, Nicola, his cats, Jasper and Una, and many shelves of books.