REVIEWS - A MOMENT ON THE EDGE
" Well known for her Inspector Lynley series, George
here collects short mysteries by women, bracketing the 26 entries with two tales
about the death of abusive husbands, written more than 80 years apart. Between
them springs an entertaining assortment of locked-room murders, theatrical
whodunits, white-collar-crime and detective stories, and psychological puzzlers,
each headed by revealing author notes. Agatha Christie, praised by George in the
volume’s enlightening introduction, isn’t represented, but her contemporaries in
the 3 Golden Age of Mystery in Great Britain are: Ngaio Marsh, Dorothy Sayres,
and Margery Allingham. Dorothy Davis, Charlotte Armstrong, Minette Walters, and
Ruth Rendell are here as well, and sleuths Sharon McCone, Jemima Shore, and V.
I. Warshawski, each one now a star of her own long-running detective series,
make appearances. Here, too, are writers not associated primarily with the
genre, including Joyce Carol Oates and Nadine Gordimer, whose tragic tale about
the consequences of an interracial affair in South Africa is both mystery and
political fiction. From start to finish, a first-rate anthology. "
"Elizabeth George, whose books about detective
Thomas Lynley make her a regular on best-seller lists, doesn't think her work is
any less worthy because it carries the tag "crime novel." "Crime writing does
not have to be considered genre writing," George writes in the introduction to
"A Moment on the Edge: 100 Years of Crime Stories by Women" (HarperCollins, 560
pages, $24.95), a collection of 23 short stories that have, at their heart, a
crime. After all, "Hamlet," she notes, is set into motion by fratricide.
Included in this collection are most of the usual suspects -- Dorothy L. Sayers,
Ruth Rendell, Sara Paretsky -- but also others who might not immediately spring
to mind when talking of crime writers -- Joyce Carol Oates and Nobel laureate
Nadine Gordimer, for instance."
"All kinds of mysteries and sleuths are
represented here. Some are amateur sleuths and some are professionals. Even the
hard-boiled lady private eye is here. Most, if not all, of the crimes they deal
with are murders. There is a new mystery featuring Sherlock Holmes and Dr.
Watson, though it is not told from Dr. Watson's point of view. There is also a
new take on the case of Jack the Ripper. Some of the stories have sleuths that
are featured in a series of books and short stories. Some, however, feature
amateurs that only appear in this one story. All are great reading."
"An absolutely first-rate anthology and great
value for the money is "A Moment on the Edge" (HarperCollins, 540 pages,
$24.95), edited by the distinguished mystery writer Elizabeth George. Subtitled
"100 Years of Crime Stories by Women" (though only 84 years are covered), it
reprints several familiar tales, including one of the dozen greatest mystery
stories of all time, Susan Glaspell's often-anthologized 'A Jury of Her Peers.'"
“Elizabeth George reigns as queen of the mystery genre.”
“A master of the English mystery.”
“Ms. George can do it all, with style to spare.”
“It’s tough to resist George’s storytelling, once hooked.”
“George is a master...she upholds the English tradition beautifully.”
“George explores her characters’ dreams and fears with a penetrating grace that makes reading her books a joy.”
“A fascinating list of subjects...wrenching stories...George conveys them all with exceptional grace.”
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