Collected Stories of Amanda Cross

Amanda Cross, Author Ballantine Books $19.95 (192p) ISBN 978-0-345-40817-4
This slim volume of 10 short stories deftly demonstrates Cross's mastery of the nonviolent, literary puzzler. Cross is the nom de plume of Carolyn Heilbrun, who explains in her introduction that, while she prefers novels to short stories, her series character, sleuthing English professor Kate Fansler, demanded attention while Heilbrun finished her nonfiction book Writing a Woman's Life (1988). Consequently, as Cross, she wrote three of these stories in which Fansler's niece relates her aunt's adventures: ""Tania's Nowhere,"" concerns a professor who vanishes; ""Once Upon a Time"" hinges on the mysterious parentage of a student; and the lost dog of a stuffy professor's daughter animates ""Arrie and Jasper."" While these contain a hint of academic life and no dead bodies, the more successful stories acquaint readers with unique, colorful characters and their dilemmas. In ""The Baroness"" (not a Fansler story), a New York woman is asked by her British friend to surreptitiously return a stolen artwork and then is conscripted to help catch the thief. In the most successful story (and the only previously unpublished one), ""The George Eliot Play,"" readers get a short course on the author's life as well as an ingenious mystery surrounding a resurfaced manuscript. Those who want their minds engaged in a whodunit will do well to turn to these short Cross sections. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 12/30/1996
Release date: 01/01/1997
Open Ebook - 105 pages - 978-0-307-80340-5
Mass Market Paperbound - 978-0-517-36134-4
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-1-56895-453-0
Paperback - 192 pages - 978-0-345-42113-5
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