The Womansleuth Anthology: Contemporary Mystery Stories by Women

Irene Zahava, Editor, Irene Zahava, Photographer Crossing Press $6.95 (177p) ISBN 978-0-89594-271-5
A housekeeper, a mother-daughter team, a wise-cracking lesbian private eye in cool, white linen and fedora, a prize-winning investigative reporter, the deaf wife of a policeman, Gertrude Stein and Alice Toklasthese are some of the women sleuths featured in this gathering of 12 previously unpublished mystery stories by contemporary women writers. A number of well-wrought works offer a minimum of gore and violence but are not, unfortunately, very mysterious. The most successful piece is Ellen Dearmore's ""The Adventure of the Perpetual Husbands,'' in which Dearmore lovingly imagines howand whyGertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas might have solved a famous crime of their day. The pleasure here, as in the best of mysteries, is not in the crime but in the idiosyncratic logic of the sleuths as they puzzle through the labyrinth of the criminal mind. The 12 authors approach the detective genre from diverse directions. One strong story, ``The Best Bid'' by Carol Costa, presents its heroine's undercover investigation of an elaborate revenge scheme, demonstrating that female sleuths can be credible in traditional detective work. Other stories such as ``Hot As a Pistol'' by Karen Wilson and ``A Neat Crime'' by Rose Million Healey play wittily with the conventions of detective fiction, showing good-humored amusement when the rules don't quite fit. Zahava edited Love, Struggle & Change. (April)
Reviewed on: 04/25/1988
Release date: 05/01/1988
Genre: Fiction
Hardcover - 177 pages - 978-0-89594-272-2
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