Women of Mystery III: Stories from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine

Kathleen Halligan, Editor
Kathleen Halligan, Editor Carroll & Graf Publishers $25 (352p) ISBN 978-0-7867-0570-2
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The women--both authors and protagonists--triumph again in this latest compilation of stories reprinted from Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine and Alfred Hitchcock's Mystery Magazine. The collection, 19 stories strong, begins with a bittersweet piece by Marcia Muller, ""The Last Open File,"" about series character Sharon McCone as she moves from San Francisco's All Souls Legal Clinic to her own investigation firm. McCone decides to follow up on the only All Souls case she couldn't solve, a case involving a couple who had an expensive, but unpaid, fling before vanishing. With all the characteristic punch of the Chicago-based series in which she stars, Sara Paretsky's V.I. Warshawski, in ""Skin Deep,"" tackles the case of a woman accused of killing a customer at an exclusive beauty salon. Patricia McGerr adds a lighthearted touch in ""Caribbean Clues,"" a spy-vs.-spy tale in which a diplomat's wife comes up with a clever way to tell whether her husband's contact is who he claims to be. Jan Burke laces an investigation of a singer's death by series characters Irene and Frank Herriman with rock music jokes in the funny and poignant ""A Fine Set of Teeth."" Only Antonia Fraser's ""The Bottle Dungeon,"" a locked-room story solved by her redoubtable Jemima Shore, will disappoint readers with its improbable solution. Shizuko Natsuki's eerie ""Solitary Journey,"" about a Japanese woman bent on revenge, and Janice Law's almost supernatural deposition by an Indian woman in ""The Man Kali Visited,"" add international intrigue to this entertaining collection. (Dec.)
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