Sunday, September 15, 2013

For a Good Time, Pick Up Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives

Sarah Weinman has done us all a favor by snatching from obscurity some of the finest suspense writers of the post World War II era. Some, like Shirley Jackson, I was already familiar with, but others, such as Nedra Tyre, are new discoveries.

And what discoveries they are. The stories present a wide range of female characters from every socio-economic class, with one thing in common...they're willing to cross the boundaries of acceptable behavior to get what they want. Even if that means murder.

These writers were working during a time when America was at the height of prosperity and , one assumes, domestic bliss on the home front. After all, the United States had won the war, banished the Axis powers, and was the economic engine driving a global recovery. But not all was Sugar and Spice, as Vera Caspary explains in her sad tale of family rivalry. The men in these stories often little suspect the tensions and deceit simmering below the surface, as we see in The Stranger in the Car. Many of the women in this collection are caregivers, whose financial burdens lead them to take desperate actions. These often result in a shocking end with a surprise twist, as in A Nice Place to Stay and Mortmain.

You'll never look at that nice nurse caring for an aged loved one quite the same way after reading these stories.

If this sampling of suspense leaves you hungry for more, check out the website that Sarah has put together celebrating these top notch writers, Domestic Suspense. You'll find more photos, book covers and biographies than a box of Cracker Jack. It'll lead you to more stories and novels by these neglected writers. It's time to bring these women out of the attic. Sarah Weinman has unlocked the door.

Take a peek. Go ahead...I dare you.


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