cover image Malice Domestic 2

Malice Domestic 2

Mary Higgins Clark, Pocket Books. Pocket Books, $5.99 (272pp) ISBN 978-0-671-73827-3

The second very solid volume in this series of mystery short stories offers ample evidence that a skillful writer can deliver a worthwhile read in pared-down prose. Amanda Cross is in fine form as she describes an unpleasant panel discussion between a macho crime writer and a genteel romantic mystery writer that ends in violence: someone guns down the sweet old lady moderating the melee. Robert Barnard confirms pet owners' suspicions that we're only here to amuse our animals when he recounts a murder from the point of view of the one uninvolved witness: a dog. Ed Gorman's engaging sleuth, a policewoman in 1890 Cedar Rapids, uses logic to discover the invisible hand behind the sudden death of an evangelical minister's wife. When, in a story by M. D. Lake, a counselor is murdered at summer camp, it is no mystery to a young girl who, while living with her battling parents, has honed her abilities to notice the details of her environment and the nuances of adult behavior. Such a variety of styles and settings offers an apt reminder of the vitality of this genre. (May)