cover image Invitation to Murder: All New Stories of Mystery and Suspense

Invitation to Murder: All New Stories of Mystery and Suspense

Nancy Pickard. Dark Harvest, $21.95 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-913165-65-2

Inspired by a single premise--``a young woman is found dead on the apartment floor''--this collection of stories has a nice quota of top-notch tales ranging from procedurals to horror to science fiction. In Nancy Pickard's evocative ``The Dead Past,'' a psychiatrist tries to help a young girl who is afraid of everything and everyone. The father in Andrew Vachss's ``Anytime I Want'' brutalizes his daughters, killing one and prompting his sons to take revenge. In the not-so-distant future of Barbara Paul's ``Who What When Where Why,'' investigative reporting is too dangerous to be done in person, and a freelancer seeks to avenge the destruction of the beautiful simulacra who carries out investigations in her stead. In ``Darke Street'' by Gary Brandner, an elderly woman buys a brief span of gorgeous youth. The creative madman who narrates Rex Miller's ``Still Life with Gold Frame'' must write voluminously or die. Another sort of madman comes to grief with a cat in Teri White's ``Merlin and the Hit Man.'' There is enough variety and change of pace here to maintain the interest of both the casual and addicted mystery reader. (Feb.)