As in the first two anthologies in this series, Deadly Debut and Fresh Slices, all the stories are set within neighborhoods and towns of the greater New York City area and explore a gamut of scenarios and emotions. Pressure mounts in "Thanksgiving on the Throgs Neck Bridge" by Terrie Farley Moran, a menacing story about alcoholism and the toll it takes on a family. The power of wealth and the consequences of greed are at the heart of "Killing Short" by Cynthia Benjamin. A diamond broach, a family heirloom, is the centerpiece of "Roads" by Eileen Dunbaugh. And a tragic 'work-related accident' tears a family apart in "Stealing Home" by Clare Toohey.
There are stories about parents and children. In "Their Little Secret" by Anita Page, a teenage daughter gets caught up amid her parents' crumbling marriage. "Eldercare" by Triss Stein deals with an adult son eager to cut the cord with his elderly, infirm mother. A naive widow, a troubled son and a locked basement forge "Everything in its Place" by Fran Bannigan Cox. An over-bearing Italian-American mother reports a suspicious death to a tough, female, NYPD detective in Catherine Maiorisi's "Murder Italian Style." And a pet parrot comes between a mother and young daughter and brings them face-to-face with mortality in "The July Rebellion" by Kate Lincoln.
Siblings and close relatives anchor "My Brother's Keeper" by Leigh Neely where an elderly mother gets drawn into a power-struggle between her righteous daughter and her ne'er-do-well son. And a mysterious history lingers between 'long-lost' cousins in "Sylvia" by Roslyn Siegel.
Husbands and wives take prominence in Deirdre Verne's, "Dead Last," about a 9-11 survivor who sets off for the New York City Marathon and is forced to run for his life. JFK airport serves as the backdrop for "We All Have Baggage" by Lindsay A. Curcio, a story about an older woman who is suddenly forced to question the implications of her marriage. A wife suspicious that her husband may be cheating pervades "Crossing the Line" by Ellen Quint. And there is something very unsettling about a husband's sudden death in "You Always Hurt the One You Love" by Lynne Lederman.
Older relatives figure prominently in "The Kaluki Kings of Queens" by Cathi Stoler about slick, card-playing elderly grandfathers who exacerbate the imagination of an impressionable boy. And a centenarian who believes she is cursed, harbors a secret from the past that may change the present and future in "The House By the Bay" by Dorothy Mortman.
Alternate variations of family also figure notably in "Death Will Fire Your Therapist" by Elizabeth Zelvin, a story which focuses on a tight-knit therapy group dealing with family issues and an unexpected death of one of the members. A community busy-body unravels dark family secrets of her neighbors in "Murder in a Family" by Stephanie Wilson-Flaherty. And family expectations oppress and impact friends and lovers in Anne-Marie Sutton's "Friends."
The smorgasbord of 20 stories that round out this well-balanced collection are filled with humor and horror and offer differing perspectives, voices and points-of-view. Unexpected twists and turns—and endings that often pack a chilling, emotional wallop—make for compelling, page-turning short reads that will interest a broad-range of mystery readers.
Family Matters: A Mystery Anthology (Murder New York Style) edited by Anita PageGlenmere Press, $25.00 Trade Paper, 97809909131922, 248 pp
Publication Date: August 22, 2014
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