Deadly Housewives by Christine Matthews, ed

 

Deadly housewives MysteryDeadly Housewivesedited by Christine Matthews.; Avon Trade 2006WorldCatThey fell in love and lived happily ever after…

Well, not always. Deadly Housewives is a group of stories by current female mystery writers. These wives are not people to mess with. The victims aren’t necessarily husbands, though.

For example, “Lawn and Order” by Carole Nelson Douglas pits a man’s wife against his mother. So does Suzann Ledbetter’s “How to Murder Your Mother-in-Law”. There are many running jokes about terrible mothers-in-law. These two stories show how annoying that relationship can be for the two women.

Of course husbands aren’t exempt from the murderous thoughts of some women. Marianne in Nancy Pickard’s “Joy Ride” has the perfect plan to kill her husband. It’s really too bad about that young, innocent couple who happen to be at the wrong place at her right time. “GDMFSOB” by Nevada Barr has a wonderful presentation from a woman who is tired of her husband but only sees suicide as her way out of the marriage. In Marcia Muller‘s “He Said…She Said” it’s a toss up as to which spouse will kill the other first. But Opal, in “House of Deliverance” by Christine Matthews, has her sights set on another man – one who raped her daughter.

There are also fun stories with odd twists, such as reality TV in “Trailer Trashed” by Barbara Collins. You certainly don’t want Elizabeth Massie’s “The Next-Door Collector” in your neighborhood. Things aren’t always what they seem, such as in “Purrz, Baby” by Vicki Hendricks. There is Eileen Dreyer‘s mother in “Vanquishing the Infidel” – don’t mess with her children. S.J. Rozan‘s bored housewife finds a new hobby in “The Next Nice Day.”

The victim in these stories isn’t always the person who was originally intended. “An Invisible Minus Sign” by Denise Mina has the wrong person dying. In “Acid Test” by Sara Paretsky it’s difficult to tell who, if anyone, will die in the aging hippie’s home. Not everyone dies, either. Check out Julie Smith‘s “The One That Got Away”.

Give a woman mystery writer an idea and you get stories like the ones found in this collection. Some are fun, some are witty, some are eerie. You can’t tell what you’ll get from this talented group of women.

Some of the stories are forgettable, and most are not the authors’ best work. Yet this book is good for a sense of the wicked – the possibilities of changing lives in ways that make us chuckle or scratch our heads. Don’t mess with these women – either the ones in the short stories or the ones writing the tales.

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