A Lethal Ladies Mystery Anthology
What is it about Southern Charm that makes it deadly?
I’d hazard a guess that you just don’t see it coming, which makes it the perfect cover for a killer, don’t you think?
But, anyway, this was my perception before I began reading.
Was it still the case afterwards? Read on to find out.
Well, there wasn’t as much charm in some of the stories as I was expecting, in fact the only connection some had to the South were the settings. Was I expecting Scarlett O’Hara with a pitcher of iced tea, a little more dialect and some local, colourful phrases? Maybe. As a non-American, my impression of the South comes from TV and films, so it’s possible I don’t know enough about the region to comment. Still, as a collection of short stories, these are an easy to read, entertaining bunch of stories, especially perfect when you have limited time but still want a quality tale.
My favourites were:
Southern Sisters Stick Together by Stacie Giles – I loved how this was set in the 1920s, just as women had got the right to vote. Vera – a waitress at Gerber’s Tea Room – sets out to warn her co-workers following the news headlines of a woman drugged and assaulted in the area. Her cousin, Burnell, a police officer mentions the woman had been given knockout drops. So, when a new doctor in the area shows signs of an attitude problem with women, and is also overheard talking about the drug concerned with a colleague, Vera is determined to find the truth.
The Power Behind The Throne by Barb Goffman – as a huge fan of courtroom dramas, I knew from the first sentence that I’d lap up this story with gusto. Emily Forester is calm. cool and collected. She even admits to killing her husband; but her defence is simply sublime. As is the revenge she seeks. This was a total hit for me, and I’ll be looking for more by this author, for sure.
Keep Your Friends Close by Maggie King – a clever little mystery set in a coffee shop as two friends join forces to solve the mystery of who killed Vicki Berenger. As they ruminate over possible suspects, motives and MOs, what seems to be a simple little discussion between friends turns into something altogether more interesting. A classic mystery reliant on piecing the clues together. Great fun.
Deadly Devonshire by Samantha McGraw – who knew cakes could be so deadly. In this story, the owner of The Tea Cottage feels obliged to solve the mystery of a diner’s sudden death when the police are delayed due to snow. I must say I can’t resist an amateur sleuth mystery, and this was a gem.
It’s starting to look like I have rather a lot of favourites, isn’t it, but I’ll just add one more.
As already mentioned, for many of these stories the only connection to The South was the setting of the story, and some didn’t have the “charm” I expected. That said, my final story of note is Stewing by Libby Hall. Set in Sloe,Virginia, this story had not only an authentic setting, but it oozed charm, with its Southern vibe, lingo, and attitude (just beware of the unusual Shepherd’s Pie!)
These mysteries certainly did not disappoint. So much variety and great storytelling. I’ve found some new authors to follow as well. You can’t possibly go wrong if you pick up a copy yourself.