Stories Based on True Crimes Are in the Black Cabinet

Peter Lovesey, Editor
Peter Lovesey, Editor Carroll & Graf Publishers $17.95 (237p) ISBN 978-0-88184-513-6
Reviewed on: 11/28/1989
Release date: 12/01/1989
Lovesey adds his ``The Bathroom'' to the stories inspired by actual crimes of the distant past and present in this outstanding collection. It includes a tale by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle that does not feature Sherlock Holmes and a twisty case recalled by a young lawyer named Abraham Lincoln. But the most arresting period piece is Sir Osbert Sitwell's ``The Greeting,'' so elegantly written that the force of the denouement is magnified. In contrast, Angela Carter's ``The Fall River Axe Murders'' is too garish even for that bloody legend as well as mistaken on certain factual points. Another letdown is the title piece, John Dickson Carr's contrivance about an American assassin averting a killing in France. Planned as a surprise, the American's identity is obvious from the start. The other 13 entries, however, reward suspense fans generously. Perhaps Harlan Ellison's ``The Whisper of Whipped Dogs'' will also haunt readers, with its evocation of the real-life Kitty Genovese, killed in full view of 38 people. She could have been saved but the onlookers did nothing. (Dec.)
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