WINTER'S CRIMES 15 by George--Ed. Hardinge


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One of the better Winter's Crimes anthologies--with the creepy yet crisp emphasis on domestic nastiness of all kinds, often delivered with a black-comic wink or two. Quite a few of the stories involve older/elderly men with an itch for young girls: Celia Dale's ""Faery Tale,"" a neat Victorian variation on the Bad Seed tradition; Peter Lovesey's clever ""Belly Dance,"" with sexual excitement as the intended murder weapon; and David Williams' ""Uncle's Girl,"" a double-twist tale of lechery, adultery, murder, and double-betrayal. In Audrey Erskine Lindop's cheerily horrific ""The Spider Merchants,"" a pair of elderly spinster-sisters spunkily deal with a murder threat from greedy young relatives. June Thomson's ""The Bait"" is a fine rustic tidbit: a gnarled old cottage-dweller uses murder to avoid eviction. And P. D. James is in solid, if uninspired form--with a psychological story, reminiscent of Innocent Blood, about an orphan who returns to the scene of childhood murder/trauma. The other entries are slightly less impressive: spy stuff from Elizabeth Ferrars and Anthony Price; a wry embezzlement anecdote from H. R. F. Keating; not-very-plausible triangles (one homosexual) from Michael Underwood and Peter Whalley; routine murder mystery from Antonia Fraser. But every entry is readable, none goes on too long, and the overall tone is bright, tart, and warm-heartedly wicked.

Pub Date: Jan. 2nd, 1983
Publisher: St. Martin's