Fourteen chilling tales from the pioneering women who created the domestic suspense genre
Murderous wives, deranged husbands, deceitful children, and vengeful friends. Few know these characters—and their creators—better than Sarah Weinman. One of today’s preeminent authorities on crime fiction, Weinman asks: Where would bestselling authors like Gillian Flynn, Sue Grafton, or Tana French be without the women writers who came before them?
In Troubled Daughters, Twisted Wives, Weinman brings together fourteen hair-raising tales by women who—from the 1940s through the mid-1970s—took a scalpel to contemporary society and sliced away to reveal its dark essence. Lovers of crime fiction from any era will welcome this deliciously dark tribute to a largely forgotten generation of women writers.
Decades before Desperate Housewives there were plenty of desperate women struggling with toxic domestic situations from which there seemed no escape except, vicariously, via the kind of diabolic schemes that unspool in this provocative anthology. Writing between WWII and the rise of the feminist movement in the mid-'70s, the 14 female pioneers selected knew, some of them firsthand, the thornier reality inside those white picket fences. Crime connoisseur Weinman has thoughtfully selected a Whitman's Sampler of wickedness that includes a few stars like Patricia Highsmith, but more whose work has been eclipsed by the flashier femme fatales for whom they paved the way. A couple of the stories have aged less gracefully than others. Still, standouts such as Highsmith's psychological time bomb "The Heroine" and Shirley Jackson's twisty "Louisa, Please Come Home" feel quite contemporary. Weinman's insightful introductions to each selection for the most part successfully walk the line between saying enough to set up the story and spoiling its surprises.