On the second Tuesday of every month, if you head to the basement of the Phoenix pub on Cavendish Square, you can hear new short stories written to a specific theme. You will have stumbled upon Liars' League, and it is good. Open submissions are whittled down by the LL team, who then select actors to perform them on the night. You can see the results for yourself on their website.
Of course, what this means is that over five years an awful lot of short stories have been generated. So Katy Darby and Cherry Potts have collated stories with a London link into this anthology. There's the frustrations of dating at the Renoir, finding inspiration on the tube, getting drunk and rejected by the city and many other snippets of capital life. Some are tangentially related, some could only take place here. Some end on a punchline, some on a sucker punch, and the one about an elderly lady after the apocalypse nearly had us snivelling on a commuter train.
The short story is an overlooked form and it's appropriate that we're reviewing this collection in National Short Story Week. We're not going to claim that every story in London Lies is a Dorothy Parker, but each has a distinctive voice and a point to make. Perfect for reading in bite-sized chunks on the way around town.
London Lies is published by Arachne Press, £9.99. Available from Amazon or your local bookshop.