Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Home is for Homicide (book review)

    Joan Hess, ed. Malice Domestic 9 (2000) A pleasant series of short stories illustrating the dictum that the bosom of the family is a nest of vipers. This one pays homage to Agatha Christie, with always affectionate and sometimes quite funny pastiches or allusions. There are a few touches of Ruth Rendell, too, as in The Murder at the Vicarage, whose narrator falls for the new vicar, who hasn’t married because he hasn’t met the right woman yet. This raises the hopes of several other swoony, broody females. The narrator expects that their discovery that they were all handmaidens who would never achieve their dreams would cause them to abandon the man, but instead they kill him.
     All the plots are fair, the characters just off-kilter enough that we accept them as plausible victims and murderers, and the writing competently adapted to the writer’s intentions. A good book for a plane ride. **½

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