Mary Higgins Clark brings together mystery writers to put together an anthology of short mystery tales for a cause- to fight illiteracy in America.The writers were free to contribute any type of story, the only condition was that it had to contain three items:
It was a quick story and each story uses the three main elements interestingly. At first, I skipped the introduction and every other written material that explained this theme to me. So I read the first story unaware. But when I took actual interest in the book, I went back and read the introduction and then payed more attention to each story and the usage of these objects.
It was fascinating to read each story and discover the role these objects played in the story. It would have been fun if I had discovered this common theme by myself- ha a Sherlock moment.
Enough rambling, getting onto the review. This time instead of the standard format that reviews the book as a whole I decided to do a story by story review:
"How Far It Could Go"
1.Book 2. Steak 3.Fog
Dorothy Morgan is meeting up with Billy Cutler over lunch to hire him to scare her ex-husband because he is demanding money from her.
My thoughts: 1 on 5. The story was bizzare and vague and seemed to have little purpose.
1. Book 2. Steak 3. Fog
Detective Dan Flood and Dr George Webb investigate a queer postmortem Junior Wallace and the body of an Egyptian Mummy.
My thoughts: 2 on 5. It has an interesting twist, but the conclusion was screwed up and made the story seem odd and pointless. Or maybe I just didn't get it. Not sure.
"The Man Next Door"
Mary Higgins Clark
1.Book 2. Steak 3.Fog
August Mench adds his neighbor- Bree Mathews to his list of "guests" he keeps locked up in a basement room so they can read to him.
My thoughts: 3/5 on 5. Firstly because she is my favorite suspense novelist! Secondly the story was creepy and interesting to read. Predictable but engaging.
"Too Many Cooks"
Carol Higgins Clark
1.Steak 2. Fog 3.Book
The story of how chef Ellie Butternut portrayed became the main character in all the Royal Steak Sauce commercials.
My thoughts: 4 on 5. This one was a fresh plot in comparison to the rest. No cops, detectives and doctors! Ha, and it was still a suspense novel with a very cool ending.
"Revenge and Rebellion"
Nelson DeMille & Lauren DeMille
1. Steak 2.Book 3.Fog
Sarah and Ron had a bumpy friendship since college. The tables have turned and given Ron the upper hand as opposed to Sarah (in their college days) - today Sarah is a struggling freelance writer and Jon a literary agent.
My thoughts: 0.5. Very bizarre and annoying story. It didn't have a point. Except the ending (which is why its got a .5) which made reading the story worthwhile.
"The Last Peep"
1. Steak 2. Book 3. Fog
"She'd never met Lula, and she was a making a good effort not to look dazed at seeing a huge blond-haired black wearing brilliant azure eye shadow speckled with silver sparkles, shocking pink spandex shorts and poison green spandex top,standing on her porch."
"It's a sign from God," Lula said, tilting her face heavenward, squinting into the rain, "God wants us to forget about all this shit and go eat some cake."
Wonderful. Now God was in on it.
"God's no dummy," Lula said."He knows chocolate cake helps clear a person's head for making important decisions."
My thoughts: 2 on 5. Story revolved around a nude dead man named Squirrel. When alive he was creep who peeped into people's homes and wanked! Eew! LOL. But the the above two quotes and some other parts of the story made me laugh.
1.Book 2.Fog 3.Steak
Samantha Atwell has coveted her grand daddy's detective badge ever since she was a kid. Her big chance to get hold of a badge of her own comes by when she has to go on an undercover mission. But is she willing to "Go Under" and be molested by the dentist Melvin Trichner to get it?
My thoughts: 2.5 on 5. Simple plot line. Creepy Melvin. Despite being predictable I liked the ending.
1.Steak 2.Book 3.Steak
A confusing story about a delivery which goes fail. The delivery turns out to be a body and the delivery man- Fearless Jones piqued curiosity lands himself into trouble when he snoops about the cause of the body's death.
My thoughts: 1 on 5 for suspense. Otherwise I found it confusing and kept waiting for it to end.
1.Book 2.Fog 3.Steak
"On August 14, 1914, seven persons were murdered at the home of architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The story that follows is a fictionalized account of the events preceding that day."
It is in fact based on the true story of the Taliesin murders. Here is a link to a BBC article about the incident.
Mystery of the Murders at Taliesin
"The Road Trip"
1.Fog 2.Book 3. Steak
The story of Blair Scott, her obsessively jealous ex-husband who scares the life out of her ("her fear response was too finely honed"), her road trip "across the North Cascades to Wenatchee", her eerie adventure at Kabin Kamp!
My thoughts: 5 on 5!! My favorite story of them all! It kept me on the edge of my seat and chewing my nails the whole time!!
"Take It Away"
Donald E. Westlake
1.Book 2.Steak 3.Fog
"In his left hand he held an X-Men comic book folded open to the middle of a story."
"...and I saw the poster there advertising this month's special in all twenty-seven hundred Burger Whoopers all across the United States and Canada, which was for their Special Thick Steak Whopper Sandwich, made with the U.S. government inspected steak guaranteed to be a full quarter- inch thick."
"...outside the picture windows of Burger Whopper,there crowded a thick misty fog, wet to touch, kind of streaked and dirty, that looked like an airport hotel's laundry on the rinse cycle."
My thoughts: 1 on 5. Bleh. I predicted the end from the beginning itself. Ha. Bleh ending to the anthology. But it used the elements in a more obvious fashion than the other stories. For example, it was literal fog not a metaphorical as in "Going Under".
What did you think of the review?
The new style?
Have you read the book?
Leave me links, feedbacks and suggestions in the comments below! :)