The Baum Plan consists of 14 stories published over the years 1998 to 2008, including one original to this volume. The opener, the title story, tells of Sid and Dot, two not-very-good criminals. Sid, recently released from prison, teams up with Dot, again, and they head off to raid a house that, according to Dot, holds a fortune. The house itself doesn't. But a weird trip takes them to a surreal place where their dreams may be rewarded. Just the first paragraph was sufficient to engage me -- and from then on I was captured by Kessel's assured fiction. He writes with an elegance similar to that of Graham Joyce; it's straightforward, clear, sparkling, and unencumbered.
And so it progresses throughout the book. The last story in the collection is 'Pride and Prometheus'. It doesn't take an Einstein to guess which two literary greats meet in this gorgeously funny story of love and redemption. A suitably strange mix -- and a poignant tale.