Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Saturday, September 13, 2014

sisters in Crime anthology--Great Saturday reading

Secrets and lies… The seven stories contained in Deadly Debut are united by three factors—the sex of their authors, their general location (New York) and the presence of secrets at the heart of the crimes. There’s one other commonality as well—all the stories are very good even when the crimes are very bad. Secrets and lies lurk in the depths of these stories—secret lovers, secret lifestyles, secret sins. (At least two of the stories feature secrets hidden in closets. Be advised—nothing good is ever behind a locked closet door.) Sense of place is strong here, whether the story unfolds in the dressing room of a club frequented by belly dance aficionados (Lina Zeldovich’s “Murder in the Aladdin’s Cave”) or in a pocket park smack dab in the middle of gang territory (“Strike Zone” by Terrie Farley Moran). These aren’t stories that could take place just anywhere, and in Elizabeth Zelvin’s Agatha Award-nominated story, “Death Will Clean Your Closet,” it’s perfectly plausible that her protagonist never associated the slight stink in his bedroom with the dead body in the aforementioned closet. This collection, edited by Clare Toohey, is a showcase for the art of the short story and each one included is a gem and each one shows a writer at the top of her game. “Imagine if Maurice Villency and Victoria’s Secret had a one-night stand and spawned a line of furnishings destined for a Poconos honeymoon suite,” suggests Dierdre Verne in “None of the Above.” What else do you need to know about the décor of the room she’s describing? Stories by Triss Stein, Peggy Ehrhart, and Anita Page round out the collection and again, each of these stories has a secret or a lie at its center, a hard, cold kernel that has been transformed into a pearl. Crime fiction collections are notorious for ignoring women writers; this anthology shows what readers have been missing. Find it here.

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