Elizabeth George returns with a new collection of short stories focused on two of the seven deadly sins – lust and greed. Two of the Deadliest: new tales of lust, greed, and murder from outstanding women of mystery features never before published stories from eighteen top female crime writers (including George herself) and five up and coming authors. George asked the authors “to create a new story that had as its backdrop either lust or greed or both of them.”
Faced with almost two dozen stories, it is impossible to mention everything that stands out in such a short review. So I’ll focus on two stories that captured my attention and then mention a few other notable selections.
The first is “E-Male” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (who publishes as Kris Nelscott), an award-winning author I hadn’t encountered before. Her tale of cyber-stalking, while a cautionary tale to those who live much of their life online, turns the “traditional” model on its head. Gavin is obsessed with Stella, his ex-girlfriend, and he’s an excellent hacker. This gives him unprecedented access to her virtual identity despite the restraining order she’s obtained. For Gavin this provides a morning treat of reading her email, and in a quirk of fate, it is this access that helps him determine she’s missing when even her colleagues and family haven’t figured it out. From cyber-stalker to digital superhero?
In “Your Turn” by Carolyn Hart, Terri cheats on her dying husband Leo. When he tells her he’s changing his will the next day, she briefly unplugs his oxygen to save her inheritance. One week after his death she receives a note from Leo under her pillow. “Murder will out, Terri…I’ve planned a more exciting game for you.” Can she beat a dead man to stay out of jail?
Other notables are “Back to School Essay” by newcomer Patricia Fogarty, “A Madness of Two” by Peggy Hesketh and “Lusting for Jenny, Inverted” by Elizabeth George. Two of the Deadliest is a wonderful introduction to some strong, female authors and for that reason it can be forgiven some unevenness.
Publication Date: July 21, 2009
Author Website: www.elizabethgeorgeonline.com