Review: Tales from the Folly: A Rivers of London Short Story Collection by Ben Aaronovitch

Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London world includes more characters than Peter Grant and his coworkers, and more places than just the neighborhoods and suburbs of London. In this collection, we meet a very odd book with a mind of its own, a drug dealer with a taste for fine cloth who meets an infant river goddess, and a “favourite uncle” whom one of the teens becomes very concerned about when she realizes he’s not on the family tree and has been visiting at Christmas for generations. And more.

Tales from the Folly: A Rivers of London Short Story Collection (Rivers of London #1.5, 1.6, 2.5, 3.5, 4.6, 5.1).  By Ben Aaronovitch (JABberwocky Literary Agency, July 2020)

By Lis Carey: This is a collection of short stories, including some “moments,” short pieces that Aaronovitch doesn’t want to call stories, set in the Rivers of London world. Not all of these stories feature the major characters in the novels. Several feature side characters, and characters whose stories were intended to be one-offs, but perhaps won’t be.

Well, in at least two cases, clearly won’t be. Tobias Winter and Vanessa Sommer, two young German police officers, met in The October Man. In Tales From the Folly, Tobias has a Moment in which he first learned disturbing news about the UK’s magical establishment. Vanessa has a short story in which, with her new knowledge, she returns home at Christmas time, intending to check out some of the peculiar features of her childhood community.

We also have Peter Grant going to the British Library to spend a night with the Folly’s own archivist, Professor Harold Postmartin, and the Library’s Special Collections Manager, Elise Winstanley, who turns out to be an old acquaintance of his mother’s. How old? She attended Peter’s christening, and knows his mother by her Sierra Leonean name. Ms. Whinstanley thinks the library has a poltergeist in Rare Books. It turns out to be something far more interesting.

There’s Abigail’s old school friend’s “favourite uncle,” who turns out not to be anywhere in the family tree and to have been visiting the family at Christmas for a very long time. The drug dealer and fashion connoisseur who needs to hide in a rundown house near a river when a deal goes wrong, and has a very unexpected experience. There’s a domestic quarrel which turns out to be the business of the Folly, and a happily married couple, a farmer and his former London police officer husband, who are congratulated by the local talking foxes on a blessing they haven’t yet received.

And more. It’s fun, interesting, and rounds out the world Peter, Nightingale, and the Folly operate in.


I received this book as a gift, and am reviewing it voluntarily.

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4 thoughts on “Review: Tales from the Folly: A Rivers of London Short Story Collection by Ben Aaronovitch

  1. @ Cat Eldridge
    That would be terrific.
    @Lis Carey
    Looking forward to more of your thoughtful reviews!

  2. If you haven’t yet read any of this series, here’s another hearty recommendation. (Read them in order.)

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