Mystery Books for Sale

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by Elizabeth George, editor
HarperCollins, July 2004
560 pages
ISBN: 0060588217

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Elizabeth George is an award-winning best-selling author who has impressed readers with her powerhouse storylines filled with great characters and surprising ironic twists that stay with you after finishing one of her novels. She has taken the time to compile and edit some of the best short story mysteries written by some of the best female storytellers out there.

These run chronologically from Susan Glaspell's A Jury of Her Peers, where a mysterious hanging is discussed, all the way through Minette Walter's brief but excellent English Autumn-American Fall with an American couple visiting England and keeping secrets.

Each story is deep in its characterizations and some, such as J A Jance's Death of a Snowbird (a semi-serious tale that features a group of older female septuagenarians playing a game of strip poker after a bus trip), just leave you perplexed.

Some of the authors presented on this anthology, who are not known specifically for their mystery fiction, have a place of honor in this book. Joyce Carol Oates' Murder Two is a disturbing drama involving a young man's tale about the murder of his mother. Then there is Shirley Jackson, an excellent writer known for her famous novellas THE HAUNTING OF HILL HOUSE and THE LOTTERY. In The Summer People Jackson shows herself to be one of the best with a scary story as seen through the mind of two characters. Did it happen? Will it happen? This will be some of the questions you will be asking yourself after finishing the story.

Some of the book's other contributors include Ngaio Marsh, Sara Paretsky, Nancy Pickard, and Nadine Gordimer (yes, that Nadine Gordimer).

A MOMENT ON THE EDGE is a great addition to have on your shelf with the hidden treasures found in each of the stories. It's a great find, though I have just one complaint. Why didn't Ms George add one of her own stories to this tome? Probably to honor these other great female writers but it just does not seem complete without one of George's. Maybe soon someone will honor her as well.

Reviewed by Angel L. Soto, February 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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