Two Of The Deadliest: New Tales of Lust, Greed, and Murder from Outstanding Women of Mystery Paperback – Apr 1 2010
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“George’s all-original anthology showcases 18 stories by established women mystery writers and five by relative unknowns. . . . The wide variety of styles and settings will please most mystery fans.” (Publishers Weekly)
“[A] worthwhile collection of short stories from female mystery writers....This anthology is a great way for mystery lovers to enjoy less time-consuming works from favorite authors and discover new ones.” (Library Journal)
“Wicked little stories from old hands and relative neophytes drawn from George’s writing classes. Don’t miss her own sly contribution.” (Seattle Times)
“Entertaining.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch)
“This brilliant anthology of short stories by some of the most outstanding women now writing mysteries and crime fiction...is a truly glorious collection” (Globe and Mail (Toronto))
“Should satisfy every reader’s sleuth-tooth....A good way for fans of crime writing to discover new favorite authors.” (Bellingham Herald (WA))
From the Back Cover
Anger . . . Jealousy . . . Gluttony . . . Sloth . . . Lust . . . Greed . . . Pride . . .
These are the seven deadly sins, the roots of crime throughout human history. Greed and lust are Two of the Deadliest.
New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth George has gathered nearly two dozen chilling, boldly original stories, each published for the very first time in this outstanding collection. In addition to tales from some of today's top stars—including Laura Lippman, Susan Wiggs, Marcia Muller, Carolyn Hart, Nancy Pickard, and Elizabeth George herself—Two of the Deadliest showcases work from an impressive array of exceptional newcomers, as together they explore the dark depths women and men will sink to when driven by passion, avarice, and a lethal hunger for power.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
The title is a reference to the Seven Deadly sins. For George's purposes here Two of the Deadliest are lust and greed. Each writer offers a different take on one of these topics, all are surprising spellbinders.
Consider lust examined in "E-Male" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Gavin seems like an ordinary kind of guy who starts the day by padding barefoot to fix a mocha grande with sprinkles. He's lucky enough to work at home (a small rent-controlled apartment), and happy to live alone with his cat.
There's very little Gavin doesn't know about a computer, which makes it perhaps time consuming for him but also easy to access the email accounts of Stella - "his almost-wife; his now-ex-girlfriend." They hate each other. A restraining order was issued when Stella told a judge, "Gavin seems to think he owns me. He watches me all the time. I'm afraid of him." Restraining order or no Gavin is still very much keeping his eye on her, reading the email she sends and the email she receives. He knows where she is, what she's thinking.
But suddenly her email take on a new tone; she no longer chats with most of her men friends. In fact, she has stopped answering posts from her family, which is not like her at all. But, there is nothing Gavin can do because he cannot go near her.
Greed is the focus in "The Offer" By Patricia Smiley.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Two of the Deadliest is the best anthology I have read in years. I enjoyed about 80% of the stories in it. There were familiar authors, such as Nancy Pickard, Linda Barnes, Marcia Muller, Laura Lippman. There were new writers who have never been published before.
One of the standouts was Anything Helps by Z. Kelley, about a single mother in Las Vegas who befriends a mysterious homeless man who panhandles outside the convenience store where she works. Another is The Offer by Patricia Smiley, which follows a woman en route to a job interview as she is mistaken for a candidate for an entirely different job. Cougar by Laura Lippman finds a woman whose threatening son has moved back into her house along with his obnoxious girlfriend. And Elizabeth George's Lusting for Jenny, Inverted tells of a woman who unexpectedly inherits a house, spurring her to make some uncharacteristic choices.
Elizabeth George, author of the Inspector Lynley mysteries, is the editor who brought this whole project together. While I'm a fan of the TV series based on her mysteries, I have not found the books quite as riveting. But as an anthology editor, George is outstanding. Her previous collection, A Moment on the Edge: 100 Years of Crime Stories by Women, collects some of the best short crime stories written by women over the past century. Two of the Deadliest is a satisfying follow-up.
Many of the stories are set in contemporary, big city America, but there are also side trips to France (in the 1920s), rural California (in 1916), rural Texas (in the 1930s) and contemporary Ireland. The narrators of "Two of the Deadliest's" audio version were well chosen and, with an exception or two, were nicely matched to the stories they read. I did, however, find both the tone of the story titled "Enough to Stay the Winter" (by Gillian Linscott) and that of its reader to be particularly dull. I still cannot decide whether I should blame that more on the story or the reader.
Of the book's 23 stories, I most enjoyed "Everything Helps" by one of the newcomers, Z. Kelley. Despite its violence, this is a rather endearing story about a single mother so desperate for the money she needs to pay for her son's urgent surgery that she takes a cashier job in a Las Vegas storefront that combines slot machines and sales of pornographic material from a back room. The woman befriends a homeless man who panhandles on the street outside the storefront and surprises herself by how much she looks forward to seeing him each day. This story is solid all the way through, and its ending is a memorable one. Kelley is a good storyteller and she has filled her story with remarkable characters: the two Arab brothers who run the little casino, the cashier's mother and son, her co-worker, and the homeless man who gives her the courage to go on with life.
I also particularly enjoyed Wendy Hornsby's alternate history version of Jack London's death, "The Violinist." This one, set in 1916 during London's last days, speculates about the people who surrounded London at the end of his life and whether or not one of them might have had a personal reason for wanting to see him dead. Was it suicide or murder? Hornsby builds a good case for the latter while introducing the reader to some of the people and problems London was dealing with at the end of his life.
The beauty of a large collection of stories like this one is the likelihood that there will be stories in it to please any reader. Whether or not different readers will agree about which are the best stories is a whole other question, and that is another part of the fun. Frankly, I could take or leave most of the stories in the book because they struck me as pretty average. Of the 23, I would say that about half a dozen are outstanding, ten are average, and the rest are not very good. I will leave it up to future readers to decide for themselves which are which.
I do have one final thought, however, concerning Elizabeth George's contribution to the book, "Lusting for Jenny." The story is passable all the way up to the ending George chose for it. As the story progressed (no spoilers here), I could see the possibility of a clichéd ending ahead, but I hoped that it would not be chosen by George. Unfortunately, that is exactly what she used - and it is that ill chosen ending that will first come to mind any time I think about "Two of the Deadliest."
Rated at: 3.0
If you really like the writing of female crime writers, this book will be right up your alley.
A PART OF THE STORY ! AND SOME PARTS SLOW YOU BACK DOWN AND
LET'S YOUR HEART RATE GET BACK TO NORMAL JUST IN TIME TO
TAKE OFF AGAIN.