The New York/Tri-State chapter of the Sisters in Crime have put out their newest anthology, DEADLY DEBUT, seven stories that walk the line between horror and cosy, with a dash of murder thrown in. I’m sure what to expect from anthologies and I am delighted to say this is one solid collection. Guys, there’s even a belly dancer story.
For those who don’t know, I’ve been a belly dance for a little over five years. But we’ll get to that.
“Death Will Clean Your Closet” by Elizabeth Zelvin is probably my favorite from this collection. It’s got that creepy vibe I love so much, a dash of unreliable narrator, and it’s just a little bit darkly hilarious.
“On the Saturday morning, when I finally got around to cleaning my apartment, I found a ton of mouse droppings, seven enormous water bugs, and a body. The body lay crumpled like a Raggedy Ann in the back of the walk-in closet. That closet was the jewel in my rent-controlled crown. It made me the envy of all my friends with one-year leases in the overpriced shoeboxes that had replaced most of the old-law tenements and crumbling brownstones on the Upper East Side. The white, working-class neighborhood of Yorkville had fallen prey to developers, who put in high-rises with Sheetrock walls as thin as a corned beef on rye in a greasy spoon.”
If that doesn’t make you want to start reading, I probably can’t help you. This one’s got a bite. I might be my favorite of the series.
Okay, it is.
“Murder in Aladdin’s Cave” by Lina Zeldovich is the second stand-out for me, and not just because of the belly dancers. I was thrilled to see some diversity, especially a portrayal of Middle Eastern dancers that doesn’t assume we’re all whores.
Can I just say how thrilled I am when writers use correct dancing terminology? Bonus: at our last show, we had a shamadan. I was not the wearer, but I can tell you that thing generates a lot of heat and fire is incredibly heavy. Which makes me believe some of the moves in that story are not, in fact, possible. Please do not toss lighted, flaming headwear from your head. It’s a bad idea.
Terrie Farley Moran’s “Strike Zone” serves as a nice ending to this collection. What better way to wrap up seven tales of murder and misdeeds then by mentioning Edgar Allan Poe. We all know how I feel regarding Mr. Poe.
Edgar Allan Poe killed him.
That’s not what they wrote in the Journal-American or any of the other New York dailies, of course. Those newspapers got carried away with gang violence and how maybe it was the Fordham Baldies did the deed. The papers called the Baldies the most dangerous gang the Bronx had ever spawned. But Edgar Allan Poe was the one who killed him. I know. I was there.
Though I’ve never been to Poe Park (I begged my dad, who grew up in the Bronx, to take me and he declined), the images Moran paints are basically everything I’ve ever imagined. I like her feisty gal narrator and just how she relays how “Edgar Allan Poe killed him.”
I very much enjoyed spending the afternoon immersed in this anthology. It’s about 125 pages printed (249 according to my Nook), and well worth looking into. Murder New York Style has two more anthologies launched and ready: Fresh Slices and Family Matters. If you want to check out all three of these collections, head over to the Murder New York Style website.
I look forward to seeing what the rest of these collections have in store.
Seriously, though how does one became a Sister in Crime because I want in! Talk about coolest name ever…