Monday, October 01, 2007

Sisters On The Case - Sara Paretsky, editor

Sisters On The Case
Celebrating Twenty Years of Sisters In Crime
Sara Paretsky, editor

Mystery/Short Fiction

Did you know that Ebenezer Gryce was Sherlock Holmes a full decade before Holmes even existed? It’s true. And while you may never have heard of Mr. Gryce, the Holmes novels have not gone out of print since they were created. The author of the Ebenezer Gryce books was Anna Katherine Green, the most popular crime author of the early twentieth century. Is it coincidence that Ms. Green and her books are largely lost to obscurity, while Holmes lives on; that crime fiction written by a female author fades away while the male author’s creation is known to all? Maybe not. And that’s why, twenty years ago, several great female mystery writers got together and formed Sisters In Crime as a way to promote female authors in the field of mystery and crime.

This collection of stories, written by women who were instrumental in creating and perpetuating Sisters In Crime, shows that crime fiction today runs the gamut from the beautiful almost paranormal story “Sister Death” by Sue Henry; to a couple of old players sitting on a park bench reliving the glory days in Nancy Pickard’s “I Killed.” There’s a story by the late Charlotte MacLeod, “Lady Patterly’s Lover,” concerning a love triangle and a murder plot in the refined atmosphere of English estates. Speaking of triangles, Barbara D’Amato’s contribution, “Steak Tartare” proves (as if there was a doubt) that having dinner with the husband of your paramour might not be the best of ideas.

There are nineteen stories here, some quite short, a few almost novella length. Other authors include Carolyn Hart, Claire McNab, Patricia Sprinkle, Margaret Maron, and Dorothy Salisbury Davis. The names may be very familiar, but the interesting thing is that, for the most part, the authors seem to be exploring new ground in each of their stories. So, while the stories are often quite different than their novels, they’re still very entertaining. There’s something here for every taste: murder in the past, possible murder in the future, 60s radicals, the Mob, and a tiny fishing village. Mystery fans will find great new material from old favorites, and some new authors to explore. I know I’ll be looking into a few new-to-me names after this.

Rating: 8
October 2007
ISBN# 978-0-451-22239-8 (paperback)


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